Tweet Checking: Why Is Aaron Bastani Suddenly Not Interested in Opinion Polls?

Yet more leftists this week, but the intro of last week still stands.

It really does drain you though.

The extreme cliché is that history always repeats itself, and it often does, usually in obscure and uneven ways. Some events exist almost as allegories for others, and vice versa. The songs have been sung somewhere else before, although the lyrics have been altered for the metre, and the melody has been stretched or shrank or somehow twisted for the comfort of the new singer, the key lowered or raised, the tempo shifted. But in the end, the feel remains and the déjà vu again sets in.

The only thing to do is carry on. Maybe the revolutionary new album is just around the corner

5. John MacDonnell


It’s all well and good to oppose Heathrow expansion in your position as MP for Hayes and Harlington, but not so much when you are the Shadow Chancellor and you were elected on a platform of expansion: “Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East. We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported.”

It also goes against one of Labour’s most important ‘structural’ backers, the leadership of Unite: “Heathrow expansion, one of the biggest construction projects in Europe, answers the demands of many Unite members across the UK – for more skilled, well-paid and sustainable jobs…I would strongly urge MPs to vote in favour.” Multiple sources also suggest that a majority of Labour MPs support expansion.

Over the past three years, collective responsibility in the Shadow Cabinet has essentially broken down, unless McDonnell is directly challenged of course.

4. Chris Williamson


It’s like staring into a vision of my own personal hell.

Is Williamson just doing this to get a get a rise out of his critics? Or is he attempting to signal to his fans that since being kicked out of the Shadow Cabinet, he hasn’t abandoned the verkrappt?

With McDonnell—the former president of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign—even now desperately trying to distance himself and his ideas from the Maduro regime, Williamson is doubling down by appearing not only with a representative of a brutal government under which polio has just returned, and from which millions are fleeing, but also with the representative of an administration whose violent response to protests last April left dozens dead (the protests and deaths are still carrying on).

Marry this with openly associating with someone expelled for bringing the party into disrepute (and whom he acted as a character witness for), and a former stalwart forced to resign over a series of bizarre comments on the early career of Hitler, and you have the perfect shitstorm of vacuous regressive leftism.

 3. Angela Rayner


Thanks, Rayner. I really felt like siding with Michael Gove today.

The social epidemiology of obesity is clear for all to see: the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be obese, and this is true the world over in both developed and developing countries.

However, it is folly to suggest that the poorest and most disadvantaged don’t draw any comfort from the sugar and fat-rich content of junk food. A 2004 paper discusses a cheaper and poorer diet as being “reinforced by the high palatability of sugar and fat”, as well as allowing the working poor an opportunity to spend “a lower percentage of their disposable income on food.”

In no way is this new: George Orwell in his 1937 investigative study of working class poverty The Road to Wigan Pier noticed “that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t.” James Bloodworth in his latest book Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain also comes to the same conclusion for the 21st century gig economy: “The need to offset the physical and emotional drain of manual work [means that] fags, booze and junk food are some of the few pleasures left to you.” This can mean unhealthy indulges for a “momentary morale boost”.

Something like the sugar tax doesn’t treat a problem; it only treats a symptom of poverty.

2. Christopher Meyer

How far we’ve come, from “Brexit means Brexit” to “backstop means backstop”. For those of you still confused (I swear I’d never heard the term before until a few days ago), the backstop essentially means the default agreement to be implemented if a real deal falls through—sort of like a safety net.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has already criticised the plan, saying that the paper "raises more questions than it answers", and that the EU’s “backstop cannot be extended to the whole U.K. [because] it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland”.

Former ambassador Meyer however still seems to be obsessed—like many Brexiters—with the possibility, or even perverted desirability, of no deal at all, regardless of the economic, healthcare, or environmental consequences. If a backstop is meant to be a safety net, then Meyer’s must be made of barb wire, ready to slice this country into little pieces.

1. Aaron Bastani

He’s certainly changed his tune; just early last March he was attempting to read into a Survation poll that Labour were actually closer to 50% through the use of some psephological voodoo. In July last year Bastani, the editor of Novaro Media, was certain that “Labour could be polling 50” if not for “hostile elements within parliamentary party [who] genuinely don't want a Corbyn premiership”. In October, he asked us to remember his prediction of 50% for Labour “before 2018” and - egads - we have!

What could’ve brought this on? It might have something to do with Labour’s less than impressive YouGov polling at the beginning of this month a year on from the last general election in which they’ve slipped to seven points behind the Tories, not to mention that nearly half of C2DE voters are currently planning to vote Tory. Even in Survation’s much more forgiving figures, Labour is still one point behind a Tory government that has Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in the Cabinet, and is failing at Brexit according to an overwhelming majority of the public.

This goes without mentioning Electoral Calculus’s aggregate of last month polls showing that although in a new general election the Tories would lose four more seats, Labour would not only not advance but in net figures would lose a seat—most likely to the SNP.



More about the author

About the author

Harris Coverley writes the Tweet Checking column for Disclaimer and is constantly looking for readers to help him correct the worst of internet. No stupidity or falsehood is too great a challenge.

He lives in Manchester and holds an MA in Intellectual History from UCL. He also writes short fiction and poetry, the former of which only Disclaimer has had the good sense to publish.

Follow Harris on Twitter.

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