It’s clear that this poll has been overwhelmed by bogus votes, so we will rerun it in a more secure fashion.

Who should we support as Leader of the Labour Party?

  • Owen Smith (68%, 541 Votes)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (30%, 238 Votes)
  • Neither (2%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 796

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This poll closed at midnight on Sunday 24th July.

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43 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Owen Smith’s association with the pharmaceutical industry is deeply undesirable, and he must do more to distance himself from any implication that he was sympathetic to private provision of healthcare.

  2. Nana Asante says:

    I am uncomfortable with Owen Smith’s position on austerity and willingness to privatise the NHS

    1. Martin Rathfelder says:

      Smith worked for pharmaceutical companies. All the drugs used by the NHS are privately manufactured, and always have been. Likewise all the machinery, technology and buildings. The NHS has always had to work with the private sector. I haven’t seen any reports that he has ever suggested that he approved of privatisation or PFI schemes. Nor indeed that Progress as an organisation supported them. Progress hasn’t ever said much about health.

      1. Bob Thomson says:

        He was quoted as saying he was “In favour of choice” in the provision of health care”. He has not explicitly denied this but tried to obfuscate. I won’t be taking any chances on what he really believes and will vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

        1. Martin Rathfelder says:

          It appears he was talking about choice of medication for patients with epilepsy

  3. Cath Potter says:

    To protect the NHS we must support Jeremy Corbyn. The candidates records are evident. Owen Smith’s links with big pharma are deeply worrying

  4. Eric says:

    Sadly the last Labour Government paved the way (via PFI schemes and their belief in the internal market – e.g. Transforming Community Services) for the fragmentation and privatisation of our NHS that we are witnessing under the Tories. Mr Corbyn has consistently supported the idea of a publicly owned and run NHS – and that is why he gets my vote (again). I understand that Mr Owen is an active supporter of the ‘Progress’ group within the Labour Party – a group that advocated PFI schemes etc.

    1. Brian says:

      Eric, I , and I suspectmany others, feel exactly the same.

  5. Tim says:

    Only one of the candidates has shown themselves to be unequivocally for the nhs over a course of years. Smith’s conversion appears a matter of expediency rather than conviction.
    Sadly, i don’t imagine either can/will win the next general election, so the SHA should, in my view support the candidate who will move the party in closer line with both popular policies and and socialist principals, and who can rebuild the party from the bottom up to lay the groundwork for whoever comes next.

  6. Clare B says:

    This is really tricky, the last few weeks have been awful in terms of the fighting and the name calling on both sides. I am torn between a candidate who will minimise losses (as we seem too far away to win) and a candidate who does not perform in parliament but has inspired a generation of younger members

  7. Oliver Swingler says:

    Owen Smith worked not only for Pfizer as a lobbyist, and as such must have bought into the privatising ethos, but also Amgen – which was ultimately fined $762m for illegally promoting the drug to cancer patients in a way that increased the likelihood of their deaths, and found to have systematically defrauded Medicare – and although Mr Smith was in no way implicated , his judgment is surely brought into question.
    Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand has consistently been in favour of a 100% publicly owned NHS free for all.

  8. Nck Allcock says:

    I don’t believe that working for a pharmaceutical company should necessarily be interpreted as antagonistic to the NHS or bring in in the privatising ethos what ever that means. I like many others who have worked in the NHS for the vast majority of our careers now work for a private provider who provides NHS services as a result of the Labour initiated reforms of the NHS- does that make me somehow less supportive of the principles of the NHS? The HS has always worked with ‘Private’ elements- GP’s. Lets not gt blinded by slogans and dogma to what really matters proper fuding and a service free at the point of delivery funded through taxation. The NHS needs the Labour party in power to protect it, we can’t do it by shouting from the sidelines. While I agree with many of Jeremy’s principles, I do not believe that a Labour party led by him is capable of winning broad support in the country and therefore he is unlikely to be able what ever his principles to put them into practice

  9. Col. David Ross says:

    I am sad to say Owen Smith is a young upstart from a huge pharmaceutical company known as Pfizer. Smith was not important at Pfizer and eventually they closed most of their plants in the United Kingdom. Smith has no experience as a leader or any real success as a businessman. We must give Jeremy Corbin a proper chance to bring our Labour Voters together. Jeremy has inspired the young, the old and many newcomers to Labour.

    “Too many cooks spoil the broth”

    In 2007, Pfizer announced plans to close or sell the Loughbeg API facility, located at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, Cork, Ireland by mid to end of 2008. In 2007, Pfizer announced plans to completely close the Ann Arbor, Nagoya and Amboise Research facilities by the end of 2008, eliminating 2,160 jobs and idling the $300 million Michigan facility, which in recent years had seen expansion worth millions of dollars.

    On June 18, 2007, Pfizer announced it would move the Animal Health Research (VMRD) division based in Sandwich, England, to Kalamazoo, Michigan.[74] On February 1, 2011, Pfizer announced the closure of the Research and Development centre in Sandwich, with the loss of 2,400 jobs.Pfizer subsequently announced it would be maintaining a significant presence at Sandwich, with around 650 staff continuing to be based at the site.

    On September 1, 2011, Pfizer announced it had agreed to a 10-year lease of more than 180,000 square feet of research space from MIT in a building to be constructed just north of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The space will house Pfizer’s Cardiovascular, Metabolic and Endocrine Disease Research Unit and its Neuroscience Research Unit; Pfizer anticipated moving into the space once it was completed in late 2013.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfizer

    “Stop thinking Owen Smith will make the Labour party electable”
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/07/stop-thinking-owen-smith-will-make-labour-party-electable

    Jeremy Corbin Speaks softly and carries a big stick!

    Jeremy Corbin policies: “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” His style of policy as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis”

    The idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the “big stick”, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies the pursuit of strong political power, which Jeremy Corbin is ordained, to deliver.

    “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

    1. Martin Rathfelder says:

      Was Smith personally responsible for all these things Pfizer did?

  10. Col. David Ross says:

    “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

  11. Clare B says:

    Did Owen Smith say that “austerity is right but we also need prosperity” on the Marr shopworn on Sunday? That is what I heard. If that is true then he is in favour of NHS cuts or at best funding freeze …

  12. John Walker says:

    I think as the Socialist Health Association we have to back Corbyn as the candidate most in tune with our aims and direction. We should vote for what is best for the NHS and health and social care to move the debate toward SHA.
    Owen Smith does not have the track record on these issues, and would be an unknown risk, for SHA to give him our recommendation for Leader.
    It is then up to members and supporters who to support across the range of issues.

  13. Ryan Norton says:

    The attempts to smear Owen Smith by some of those backing Jeremy Corbyn are sad, desperate and uncomradely. Seriously, what happened to the kinder, gentler politics espoused by Mr Corbyn? Lets have a fair, open and courteous contest based on the candidates’ actual views and policy positions rather than innuendo, untruths and fabricated stories.

    1. Clare B says:

      Nobody here has been rude to either candidate so I don’t see the need for your post. This shd b a safe space for discussion – criticism and inquiry shd not be censored

    2. Clare B says:

      I think it is acceptable to discuss his role in private health care as part of our broader debate – it is clearly relevant to our decision. Equally we can discuss the fact that Jeremy has never had health as one of his key issues. I am a floating voter in this election at the moment – I voted Corbyn last time but am unsure now.

    3. Daniel B says:

      I don’t see anything nasty in the comments here. Indeed, by voicing the criticisms over Owen Smith’s past employment of Pfizer, his supporters have an opportunity to put their points in his defence. Or criticise Jeremy Corbyn. This is a contest and you criticise opponents while also positively promoting your own position.

  14. Roger Berry says:

    Can we also discuss Corbyn’s failure as a leader and his undeniable performance as a leader. I voted for him but believe he has failed as leader and a new face of the Labour Party is required.

  15. Please can we talk about facts and evidence, or we will end up with acrimonious fighting amongst ourselves. Beliefs are the reason people think only trees have souls and are prepared to fight to the death those who think it is only rocks that have souls. Beliefs are the excuse the Conservatives use for following policies against all the evidence,and beliefs are the reason they feel comfortable trashing the experts. Beliefs simply polarise and entrench positions, and don’t lead to compromise, and it is compromise and a willingness to work together that we need now. Please can we calmly discuss the facts and proofs both for and against the two candidates, in the light of our policies. Good discourse would be for example Smith did X (followed by evidence) so he imay well work against our policies, followed by, no he was misquoted, and in fact he has shown he supports Y like we do (followed by the evidence) and so on.
    ps seen the new Labour win? A gain of 21%, taking votes from all the other parties and gaining more new voters by the look of it. Something is working a lot better now despite the current problems?? I reckon it is the sheer hard work of large numbers of new activists in doorstopping and leafletting, and their obvious enthousiasm – at least that is what is happening local to me. In that case would it be cutting off noses to spite faces to change the figure that enthoused them in the first place? Is this happening in other constituencies does anyone know? What I am trying to say is can we have the reasoning behind the beliefs, please. That would certainly be helpful for me in deciding I had made the right choice or in changing my mind. .

    I have a couple of questions: If Corbyn is elected, and makes mistakes his leadership qualities – he has electrified and enthoused an awful lot of people, but that is distinct from his qualities as a statesman – are such that I am not sure how open a discourse would be for criticism?
    Smith is an unknown quantity. How do we know he will inspire anyone, or that he has any of the qualities of a great politician? How do we know he will keep his word? If he didn’t inspire younger members and idid not have great policies and ideas, or didn’t carry them through, then the new blood will disappear, and our share of the vote will fall, just from lack of manpower to get our message to the constituents. Maybe its not about us oldies now?.

  16. Jean NP says:

    I’m torn – I think Smith seems hollow and insincere, but Corbyn seems unable to gain the respect of his fellow MPs as their leader – a good manager needs both to inspire and to manage his team. Neither candidate seem right for our great party going forward, though arguably Corbyn is more of an inspiration for his consistent socialist beliefs despite his lack of competence as a leader. I fear we shall have to lose yet another election before we get a top team who can turn our fortunes round, and meanwhile the NHS gets it in the neck from the present regime.

  17. Stewart Daniels says:

    A paid employee of SHA should not be involved in this discussion, or support a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party publicly. Your job Mr Rathfelder is to conduct an impartial survey as to whom the SHA should nominate as Leader of the Labour Party.

    1. Martin Rathfelder says:

      I have done nothing to support either candidate in my capacity as your employee. I think it is legitimate to question assertions from either side.

  18. Michael H says:

    My personal preference is to support Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t believe that he is the messiah, by any means, but he is an important transitional figure for cultivating a new wave of socialist activists who may do for the Labour Party what Thatcher did for the Conservatives – steering away from the political consensus and blazing towards a radical new direction.

    I can understand where my fellow party members are coming from when they talk about maximising electoral support, but if we keep “having” to shift rightwards to meet the Tories on their own ground, then ultimately we abandon our principles altogether.

    Owen Smith, I don’t know…. There’s been a lot of silly accusations about him based on short comments from over a decade ago. I won’t condemn him, but I don’t feel inspired by him and think he’s just more of the same. The left may not get this chance again, better the devil you know than the one you know nothing about, in my opinion.

    For me, it’s Mr. Corbyn, and a hope that the party can heal and work together after this leadership election has concluded.

  19. GeofR says:

    While Owen Smith’s part role with pharmaceutical industry is a matter of concern, so too has some things that Jeremy Corbyn has done which bear upon health. In particular his silence on human rights and beheadings in Iran.

    For those who are interested on the link the familiarity Jeremy Corbyn has with Iran and the middle east generally, go to Youtube to see Jeremy Corbyn praising the inclusivity of Iran and blaming problems there faced by Iranians on ‘history’ (ie in his terms past British colonial involvement). He has a point of course; the CIA and MI6 intervened in Iran and usurped a democratically-elected government there in the 1950s. More recently, and correctly in my view, he criticised Saudi Arabia for its terrible record on human rights.

    Unfortunately he appears rather less than consistent in his views with those societies which he appears to favour; in particular Iran. I would also note that Corbyn was paid for appearances on Iranian ‘Press TV’ five times between 2009 and 2012, according to his register of interests (on House of Commons database.) This is a channel sponsored by Iranian government and was was banned by OFCOM during the period in which Mr Corbyn was a paid speaker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQYwzFxkle4
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_TV_controversies

    In between his first appearance on Iranian TV and his last Iran beheaded at least 1,314 people. Bluntly put, I regard this is a serious public health matter – in fact what could possibly be more serious? – on which he which he has apparently remained silent. I hope I am incorrect and would more than pleased to hear of his condemnations of these horrors, until then – and because I have looked for contrary evidence – I will presume that has not made them.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2016/jan/04/executions-in-saudi-arabia-iran-numbers-china

    1. I have had a look at the Youtube interview, and what Corbyn says is clearly quite factual, and not biased agaisnt Israel. I say that and I am am pro Israeli!!! I would guess the Israelis took this action based on false evidence, but there really isn’t a good reason to attack a humanitarian ship in international waters unless 100% sure of finding arms or insurgents, or whatever they thought they were looking for. It will not go down well with the international community and was duly condemned by them. Very many politicians and the occasional Royal talk on TV in, or supportively about, countries where they know atrocities are being committed. It is definately not something I agree with, unless what they say involves a robust attack on such regimes. I have asked colleagues what the truth of this particular role was, as I haven’t seen evidence from the info provided that Corbyn was supporting Iranian attrocities – just a lot of inferences.

      For the purposes of this poll am more interested in Corbyn’s views on the NHS, and health and care. To be fair my MP says that Smith has promised he doesn’t want to privatise the NHS, but has given no details, and anyway I think we need a lot more from him than just that statement. Please can someone outline Smith’s views on health and the NHS? I really want to know this, as so far I have absolutely no idea at all, except some inferences (though at least as regards Smith they have a bearing on his possible health agenda (but not factually so)) , and not on anyone’s likelihood of supporting beheadings, which I would very much doubt either candidate would support, so this is hardly a deal breaker, even supposing we consider it as public health and not law issue. Please can we get back to English HEALTH issues, as that is all either man will be steering for the Party. .

  20. Ivan Benett says:

    Need someone with more stature . Other Milliband or Chuka

  21. Tom says:

    There have been several hundred votes in the last few hours, with a surge in support for one particular candidate.

    There is no way that we can verify that individuals have not voted multiple times for the same candidate, simply deleting cookies between successive votes.

    Given these flaws, this is not an appropriate mechanism for the SHA to nominate a candidate.

    1. Callum says:

      Mr Smith would appear to have gained around three hundred votes in the last half hour at a pretty much continuous rate. How…improbable.

    2. Peter Foster says:

      Aout half of the votes were cast in the last hour. I wonder of the total is greater than the membership? I also see that I could have voted again simply by logging in on a different computer,

    3. Fran Shall says:

      I agree – seems barely credible to me. Perhaps it’s possible to identify the sources of these votes…

      1. Peter Foster says:

        As the voting system was open to abuse, I wonder if it would be possible to re-run the vote using a secure OMOV system?

    4. Michael H says:

      I was surprised when I logged in on a separate computer that I was apparently able to vote again. I did not, but it’s easy to see how those who are less scrupulous could abuse it. A side-effect of online polling!

  22. Kevin O'Brien says:

    Jeremy is already our leader elected last year by the membership and supporters. There is no justification for this election to be taking place, a total waste of resources. It also allows the British Establishment to further control our lives as they are given the opportunity to divide and rule our party. We have as democratic socialists (If you are one) the opportunity to break the monopoly of the Establishment and bring radical change to the political system that prevails in the United Kingdom. Vote Jeremy Corbyn if you really want change and not just more of the same.

  23. Judith says:

    Well, that poll result seems rather suspect, given it had been an almost 50/50 split for two days. Like others have mentioned, I too was offered a second vote when I checked the results on a different device, so the poll was clearly vulnerable to being manipulated by cookie clearing and repeated voting.

    1. Paul Leake says:

      It does look implausible that there were so many legitimate votes in the last hour or so. I thought we were all meant to be comrades here, so I’m pretty hacked off.

      Given that there does seem to be such a split, perhaps SHA should decline to nominate one way or the other.

      Either way could we get both candidates to give us a statement re health policy (or send them a few short questions to answer).

      1. Fran Shall says:

        I would be sad if we couldn’t express our views simply because the voting system was abused. I’d rather have the chance to vote again than SHA decline to nominate one of the candidates.

  24. Stewart Daniels says:

    In reply to Martin Rathfelder : To the informed bystander your interventions have been biased towards Smith.

    1. D Brett says:

      In this strange world of politics, this could mean rigging by Owen Smith supporters or an attempt by Jeremy Corbyn supporters to make it look like Owen Smith supporters had rigged the poll.

  25. Richard B says:

    Owen Smith was appointed by Ed to the team which led the fight against the H&SC Bill. He made many excellent effective contributions in debates and in bill committee. There is no doubt what his views are and he strongly supports public NHS. Always has. He did far more to fight the bill and support the NHS than JC did.

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