Now I know how I’ll vote in the leadership election

michael grieveMichael Grieve wrote in July that he wasn’t inspired by either of the candidates on offer in the UK leadership election and would probably not vote. Today he sets out his final decision on who he thinks should lead the party.


Last Friday evening I went up to Edinburgh to see Owen Smith. As you will know from my last piece I am no fan of Jeremy Corbyn and had not been impressed with Owen Smith either, so up until Friday evening I was not sure if I was going to vote at all in this election.

I was keen to actually hear what Owen Smith would say. I went with no preconceptions but I did want to know what he thought on independence as he had been “quoted” as saying that he would not stop a second independence referendum.

He started by giving a bit of a history lesson and showed he was quite knowledgeable about Scottish Labour history. For example the significance of the building we were in was not lost on him – it was John Smith’s local parish church and indeed the venue for his funeral.

Owen spoke about recent approval ratings and I felt it really hit home about Corbyn in Scotland when we have an allegedly left wing electorate here and yet Theresa May’s approval ratings are higher than Jeremy Corbyn’s. He highlighted how the SNP use the word progressive yet refuse to raise taxes to increase funding for public services.

Owen spoke about his policies and the substance which makes them, but also about how they would be funded, which is the all-important part. It’s easy to promise the earth, but if you can’t fund it or won’t say how you will fund it you aren’t being clear, transparent and truthful with your party, never mind the electorate. He also spoke about how we should be proud of what we achieved in government – the creation of tax credits, the national minimum wage, the longest period of sustained growth, Sure Start and of course devolution, to name but five.

He then answered open questions from the floor and he was asked twice about Trident. It was encouraging that he was open and honest about why he supports the renewal of Trident as part of a belief in long-term multilateral disarmament. After all, it is still UK Labour policy to support the renewal, even although Scottish Labour policy is against it.

The question I wanted to ask was asked before I got a chance, and it was on the issue of independence, as he had been quoted as saying he would support a second referendum. He clarified that he fully supported the Scottish Labour position being put forward by Kez that the question had been answered and that a second referendum was not required.

No question was off the table and he answered a range of further challenges, including on how he would unite the party after the election. I was very impressed with all his responses. I came away feeling that Owen Smith is a fresh face, and is at heart a socialist who believes in the NHS and social justice, and who has fought for the disabled over PIP and for families over tax credits. He was the shadow DWP minister when we got the Tory changes reversed in the Lords.

I believe that this election is about the future of our party and I’m afraid I see years in the wilderness under Jeremy. We need someone who is forward not backward thinking, and we need costed policies not sound bites.

So if, like me, you’ve felt there was no-one in this election for you, please take another look at Owen Smith. I’m now pleased to say he’s getting my vote.

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8 thoughts on “Now I know how I’ll vote in the leadership election

  1. And he sayeth “SNP BAD” and Hallelujah I saw the light and wisdom of my new Messiah.

    This isn’t the worst or most pathetic article in Labourhame but by Fuck its challenging the top 3 places.

    I mean seriously Michael have you no respect for your fellow drones? Do you truly think they are this gullible?

  2. A very poor case in support of a man with a very poor case. But yes, SNP pretty bad. Indeed more than that.

  3. “The question I wanted to ask was asked before I got a chance, and it was on the issue of independence, as he had been quoted as saying he would support a second referendum. He clarified that he fully supported the Scottish Labour position being put forward by Kez that the question had been answered and that a second referendum was not required.”

    Which clearly didn’t answer your question at all did it? The problem your new Messiah has is the fact that he’s already stated that a New Brexit referendum is necessary because he didn’t like the result of the last one so now he cant deny another Indyref without looking like a total arse.
    Nobody believes for one second your a convert based on listening to Smith. You’re either a Red Tory or yer not. You clearly are and always have been.

  4. This wearisome election trundles on with no candidate worth a candle on the ballot.
    Corbyn has been a serial rebel all his political life, with a cheap tick-box of student policies and no idea of life outside London.—– ” My ’70”s policies are the future”.
    Smith is little more than a straw man, with a new “these are my values” contradiction every time the wind blows in a different direction. —–“Vote for me—-I will promise ANYTHING today, and the opposite tomorrow”.
    One has support in the Party and one has support in Westminster. Neither can win an election as things stand with a significant element of the Party against them. Nor does it appear that will change.
    Scotland? If the answer is Dugdale, who has elements of the worst of both candidates, then the question must be a doozie.

    Labour are in a serious electoral position, with no apparent perspective on how the public now regards them.

    1. That sums it up really well. What we now have is 2 separate and distinct political parties with separate and distinct ideologies and the sooner they stop pretending they can live together and go their own way the better we will all be. Because frankly the Conservatives need a healthy opposition out side of Scotland and only NON TORIES can give it to them.
      Let the Red Tories die off in the wilderness of no support and let the real Labour party get on opposing the Tories in Blue the way they are supposed to be opposed.

    2. Nor should we forget Smiths apparent misogynistic comments, which are now too many to pretend are “banter” or jocular asides.
      Anymore than we should ignore the Editorial in the Herald, that the painful revelation of Sturgeons miscarriage was an “admission”, with the all-too-clear connotations of guilt that word implies. Cheap and ugly.

  5. I eagerly clicked on the article to read it, and to my surprise it turned out it was Owen you were going to vote for. I would never have guessed.

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