Rod Liddle

Could a pot of yoghurt defeat David Cameron?

Labour seems to be trying to find out

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

I do not know if it has officially been measured, but my guess is that Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, has an IQ of somewhere in the region of six. This would put her, in the global hierarchy of intelligence, directly between one of those Activia yoghurts women eat to relieve constipation and some moss.

I’m sure Christine would argue, perhaps forcibly, that intelligence is an overrated, elitist concept and that no store should be put by it. Judging people by whether they are too thick to breathe in and out fairly regularly is discriminatory. The views of an imbecile, or, say, a Jerusalem artichoke, are just as valid as those expressed by someone who can punch in the correct numbers at an ATM instead of standing there, slack-jawed and frowning, occasionally headbutting the screen in frustration while the queue behind grows longer and longer.

I’ve always been of the view that an awful lot of what the middle-class liberal left believes in is self-interest disguised as compassion. They like immigration primarily because it means their kitchen extensions, nannies and taxi drivers are all a lot cheaper. It now occurs to me that perhaps their dislike of competition, whether in sport or in intelligence testing, is a consequence of they themselves being utterly useless. This is a Darwinian view of the mentally disabled metro left. I’m sure Richard Dawkins would agree with it.

Christine recently delivered herself of the view that the best way to deal with the Islamic State is to sit down and ‘have cups of tea’ with them. Indeed, she went on, ‘Having cups of tea might actually be the best kind of system of defence and national security that you could have.’ In Christine’s world, we are all on the same page. We share common beliefs and aspirations. All of us — you, me, Christine, Jihadi John, Kim Jong-un — want a kitchen extension with Smallbone of Devizes work units and a nice sancerre in the Neff fridge. The differences between us are petty and easily solvable.

In a sense, Tony Blair also held this view, believing that the people of the Middle East shared essentially the same values as us and were peaceable democrats at heart. His method of enabling them to realise these aspirations was by bombing them, Christine’s is to offer them a nice cup of tea and perhaps a Hobnob. Both are of course mistaken. The world is a more complex and difficult place than either are willing to imagine.

Christine was formerly the Labour group leader on Tower Hamlets council, so it may well be that she has already had a cup of tea with several putative members of the Islamic State. She also supported the fraudulent Muslim thug and mayor of the benighted borough, Lutfur Rahman, and was briefly suspended by her party for so doing. But then she was readmitted — much as was the parliamentary candidate for Woking, Vicki Kirby, who believes that Jews have big noses, Israel is an evil state and suggested that Adolf Hitler was the ‘Zionist God’. Anyway, Christine is still on the National Executive Committee. The NEC is a highly influential institution within the Labour party. Perhaps its next edict will be to insist that our independent nuclear deterrent, Trident, is scrapped forthwith and the contract handed over to Tetley.

I read about Christine’s blueprint for the defence of our nation on the same day I learned that Labour was now ahead in the polls. It was almost impossible to compute these two facts. You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, ICM published a poll for the Guardian which showed Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck on 36 points. So utterly appalled and disbelieving were ICM by these findings that they immediately, and extraordinarily, disowned the poll as being ‘rogue’ and ‘somewhat misleading’. You can imagine the scene inside ICM as they totted the figures up: Christ help us, that can’t possibly be true. The British people are stupid but they can’t be that stupid. But au contraire. Last weekend’s YouGov poll put Labour on 34 and the Tories on 33. Jeremy has a lead.

He is benefitting, obviously enough, from the Conservative party ripping itself to bits in a seething miasma of hatred. But he is also benefitting from the bar having been set absurdly low. He will benefit again, then, when the results of the May local elections come through: Labour will not do as badly as many experts predict and not nearly as badly as many otherwise sensible people in the party hope. Corbyn is actually popular with the yoghurt/moss brains of London and beyond the metropolis he is not regarded as palpably worse than Ed Miliband — perhaps rightly. His public image and personal demeanour is much more likeable than Miliband’s and the fact that he is a doctrinaire, anti-British ideologue who hasn’t had a fresh political thought in 40 years has not yet percolated through.

Perhaps it never will: it might simply be enough that he is regarded as being anti-establishment and therefore the recipient — like Bernie Sanders, like Nigel Farage, like Donald Trump and the new populist right-wing and left-wing parties in Europe — of a certain amount of respect for simply stickin’ it to the man, however ineptly. This is enough, in itself, to give him a poll rating somewhere in the middle thirties, even if it is unlikely to stretch much beyond that region.

And it means that the Labour party is saddled with him for a much longer time than it imagined, no matter how many television studios are occupied, in the meantime, by the importuning likes of Dan Jarvis, Tristram Hunt and Chuka Umunna. Corbyn will not be ousted in the summer. And beyond that — the general election. As I said at the time of his election as leader, it is perhaps improbable but a long, long, way from impossible that Jeremy Corbyn might one day be Prime Minister. The Yoghurt/Moss Alliance may yet have its day.

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Show comments
  • AJH1968

    Theresa May taking great pains to refer to Daesh and not Isis; Isis must be terrified.

    • zappata

      Frederica Mogherini dissolving into tears and running out of an press conference prematurely yesterday will show them the stuff we are made of…….God help us.
      I did think we had scapped the bottom of the talent pool with Cathy Ashton,but clearly not.

      • Frank

        Yes, that was a fine moment. She is a life-long communist. She will have to toughen up if she wants to destroy all the capitalist running dogs.

      • Harry Pond

        The Islamic maniacs will be quaking in their boots when that German hippy turns up with his piano- we can all join hands and dance around some joss sticks singing Imagine and writing ‘Unite’ in chalk on the square. That should shake them to the core.

        • AJH1968

          The last thing we need is another John Kerry inspired heave fest.

      • CargoCultScientist

        That would be the same Federica Mogherini that said:

        “The idea of a clash between Islam and “the West” – a word in which everything is put together and confused – has misled our policies and our narratives. Islam holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future.” and “I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always for bad. Religion can be part of the process.”

        Someone should tell this evidently emotionally unstable woman that Europeans spent the best part of the last millennia and more both continuously repelling invasions from political Islam and separating their religion from their states.

        • Stu Watson

          ” Religion can be part of the process.” Ah , as in Pakistan , SA, Iran , Iraq , Egypt, ? No thank you. Lets keep state and religion separate .

          Perhaps start with moving those C of E Bishops away from the house of Lords.

        • zappata

          There are now (at least) two deranged women on the loose in the EU….will someone return them to the attic ASAP!

    • stuartMilan

      Displacement activity?

      • AJH1968

        Spot on!

  • plainsdrifter

    I rather agree, Rod. The worry is not Corbyn but the revelation of the millions of cretins who vote for him.

    And the British are meant to have such common sense. He make joke.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      How childish to see those who disagree with you as cretins.

      • plainsdrifter

        You have an apposite nom de plume. Let’s face it, voting for someone who has always been out of his depth wasn’t very bright.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          What. Who voting for whom?

    • TheLiberalArms

      Slightly off topic, but I though you might enjoy this piece on why Merkel’s refugee policy has been such a disaster

  • Freddythreepwood

    Rod. My yoghurt is mightily offended and is demanding an apology. Feel free to issue it after the Twitter storm.

    • Mc

      You need to contact the police to report racial hatred against yoghurts. Best to contact Croydon police, as they have expertise in these matters – as well as having expertise in racial hatred against towels – being yoghurts themselves.

      • Freddythreepwood

        Ah! Yes! The problem is, we need a Twitter storm, otherwise PCPCPlod won’t react. I can’t start one myself, neither I nor my yoghurt twit. Do you know any twits? I understand Croydon is a hotbed of twits. We need to get someone to wind them up and point them in the direction of Croydon nick. It’s time to stamp out yoghurtism.

  • Frank

    Rod, that is one way of looking at it. The other is to acknowledge that Cameron is about as popular as a dose of the clap. I also suspect that once the Referendum is over and the Tories have de-fenestrated the “Remainers” in the Cabinet, you may find that the refreshed Cabinet is rather more appealing than Citizen Corbyn & co.

    • Stu Watson

      Do you really think so ? David and George more appealing to voters than Boris? I’m unsure.

      • berosos_bubos

        Hasn’t he said the opposite ?

        • Stu Watson

          Ah , goodness ! Jet-lagged and error prone ! So sorry …Yes .
          Thank you for kindly correcting me !

  • Father Todd Unctious

    Another stream of abuse about left wing middle class people being thick. Is this what the Brillo pad and the Barclay’s pay you for?
    Incredible and incredible. Lazy journalism. You accused me of being mentally retarded for challenging yountbe other day.

    • Icebow

      How inbelievably uncredible.

    • putin

      A lot of the left are a bit thick though aren’t they. I’ve seen them on Question Time.

    • hobspawn

      Observation, not accusation 😉

  • davidofkent

    Polls at this point of a Parliamentary cycle are merely reactions to the latest silliness from Westminster. Labour, but not Corbyn, are benefitting from both Cameron and Osborne making themselves look like vacillating dimwits. We often have silly comments from Labour and Green politicians. I think they do it to get attention. IMHO, the Left cannot be trusted, but that’s merely an opinion.

  • sebastian2

    Christine Shawcroft, you are most welcome to set the example. Just don’t ask our SAS to rescue you after.

    (see –

  • ohforheavensake

    You have been drinking quite a bit, haven’t you?

  • jeffersonian

    ‘The British people are stupid but they can’t be that stupid. But au contraire. Last weekend’s YouGov poll put Labour on 34 and the Tories on 33. Jeremy has a lead.’

    I laugh through my tears. Sterling article as usual.

  • Patrick

    Maybe the 34% who voted for the ‘anti-British ideologue’ are just anti-British. With the huge numbers of immigrants who seem to hate the British, living in Britain (with British passports) and the huge number on the left who hate Britain, but won’t move to another country, it sort of makes sense.

    • enoch arden

      A standard way of cleaning a nation of accumulating anti-national elements is a regularly repeated civil war. History always developed in a discontinuous manner.

  • Dr. Heath

    In Canada, a bizarre experiment – the election of a prime minister with the IQ of a sponge – has been under way for months. Voters across the developed world have for some years demonstrated a growing infatuation with political pinheads. Beppe Grillo. Justin Trudeau. Corbyn. If a half-witted, Stalinist demagogue bangs on and on to, say, the fifty million people entitled to vote in UK general elections with his message that everything can and should be free and that the state’s role is to abolish every ill on a spectrum from mild discontent to grinding poverty, at least nine million of them will fight their way to polling stations to say YES! The elevation of Comrade Corbashvili to the role of politburo supremo shows clearly how fickle politics are. Victory at the next general election could easily be within the grasp of the nation’s nine million or more tree lichens and yoghurt pots.

    • enoch arden

      Speaking about IQ: suffering from compulsive verbal diarrhoea?

      • Dr. Heath

        No. Is English your second language?

  • enoch arden

    The central issue of the British politics is Brexit. From that point of view the political difference between Cameron and Corbyn is confined to the hairstyle.

  • Freddythreepwood

    Is Christine Shawcroft taking her tea party to Brussels?

  • James

    I would prefer a politician or leader with low IQ but big heart and human faculties. In my view, politicians and especially prospectus PMs should be required to undertake psychiatric assessments before being allowed to take position – that way we could avoid another Blair and prevent pathological liars like Cameron from committing genocide against disabled people.

    • enoch arden

      You should be fair to David. When he expresses, within a certain interval of time, two opinions which aren’t mutually consistent, it doesn’t necessarily imply that he lies. He could possibly believe what he is saying in both cases, changing his opinion now and then. To avoid having a clear and definite opinion about anything is very important for a modern politician.

      • James

        You sound like a politician. David Cameron is calculated and considered displaying all the hallmarks of a pathological liar.

  • enoch arden

    A political leader is not a professor in theoretical physics. No need to be too smart. The issues that a leader is facing are usually perfectly simple. The only think is needed i an independence of mind and firm moral principles. Like patriotism. The reason for Chamberlain’s disastrous policy wasn’t a lack of cognitive capacity: it was a lack of character. Churchill wasn’t a strategic genius. His decisions were often idiotic. But he was just a normal patriot.

    • GoJebus

      What is also needed, and is absent in our Dear Leader, his shadow counterpart and all the rest of them, is the understanding that he or she is there to lobby and strive on behalf of the majority of the people in the country. That’s what he’s there to do. Not to satisfy his own ideological dreams or the dreams of corporations and divisive and vocal minorities.

    • putin

      ““When people buy kebabs, I want them to have salad on top, so they can have the balanced diet we all need.” – Jeremy Corbyn

      • enoch arden

        The recommendation is both true and trivial. That is what a leader is for: to remind people simple principles. And Boris advise biking. Thanks for confirming my point.

        • putin

          So what happens when your village idiot has to negotiate one on one with a shrewd operator like Trump or Putin?

          • enoch arden

            The question is confusing. Shrewd mind and the oratorial capacity are entirely decoupled. One can possess both, either or neither.

            The example of Trump is quite relevant to what I said. He didn’t say anything that assumes mental capacity beyond average. The interesting point in Trump’s phenomenon is why nobody before him pronounced these trivial things? Like a simple and self-evident point that the law should be followed and illegals must be deported. And that the immigration of the Arabs should be restricted.

            He seems to be a perfect political leader: has his own opinion independent of political correctness and doesn’t hesitate to say it.

            We cannot say the same about Putin. A timid and mediocre man trying to catch the wind.

          • MickC

            Surely Putin is playing a poor hand rather well? The strength of the USA is that the petrodollar is a reserve currency. Putin does not enjoy such an advantage.
            He has thwarted the Neocon move in Ukraine, and strengthened his position in the Med, presumably whilst agreeing oil output with Saudi Arabia. Not bad for a hand of low cards…

    • MickC

      Chamberlain’s foreign policy was entirely in accord with the country’s mood. No-one wanted war, no, even the Labour party. Many thought the Versailles Treaty unfair to Germany. Once it was obvious that Germany would not comply with the treaties Chamberlain had agreed, he re-armed.
      The re-armament was in accord with the British Empire’s strengths (not just Britain, the Empire was the major power on the planet), being the most powerful navy, and building up air defences. The Empire was not a major land power, except in India. France had the land power.
      The strategy was to hold Germany back on land and air, whilst starving it by blockade.
      The pact with the USSR put paid to the blockade strategy ( although how long Stalin would have supported a bankrupt Germany is open to question….he wanted payment for his supplies….), and Germany got lucky against France (yes, it was very, very close…)
      Chamberlain is much maligned. He was entirely rational and sensible. And Foot’s “The Guilty Men” was a total travesty.

      • enoch arden

        In 1938 combined force of the Western allies and USSR could have easily stopped Hitler’s occupation of Czechoslovakia. It was an absolutely realistic scenario, and the Czech army was quite strong. There is no rational reason why Chamberlain refused to do it and surrendered Czechoslovakia to Hitler, with all its industry, thereby starting WWII.

        Concerning the public. The entire point of having a leader is that he does what he thinks write. If a leader is catching the wind following the mood of the public the country doesn’t have leadership. Just a flock of sheep performing random movements. He wasn’t a leader. A disaster.

        • WFC

          And in 1940, the French army could have gone straight through to Berlin with hardly any resistance. But they didn’t. They probed ineffectively into the Saar, then retreated behind the maginot line.

          Which gives you some idea about how keen the French would have been to go to war over Czechoslovakia.

        • MickC

          Yes, indeed the “West” and USSR could have prevented the occupation of Czechoslovakia….except there no was no way Eastern European nations would allow Russia anywhere near them. The idea that they would is utterly unrealistic.

          As for the public, the phrase “the art of the possible” applies; the public did not want a war.

          Reality consists of more than mathematics.

  • Fraser Bailey

    It has long been obvious that all the lefty-liberals fear competition. That is why they head directly to sinecures in the public sector, where uselessness is next to Godliness. Alternatively, the use family connections to get jobs in the media. (One of the many reasons I no longer buy newspapers or magazines).

    I can’t recall ever having met one of these appalling people in the competitive private sector.

  • wycombewanderer

    fear not Rod, labour need a 12 point lead to win a majority, yes a coalition is possible but look what happened to Miliband with the threat of an SNP coalition.

    Almost all of Corbyns additional support will be in constituencies where labour already hold, almost none of it will be in the swing seats and tory voters that Corbyn would need.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Labour o ly need to push the Tories down to 310 seats. That deprives the CoLC of any power in Westminster.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Complacency begets a fall

    • Dr Bock

      Yeah, I wouldn’t put some form of weak Labour-led coalition necessarily beyond him, bearing in mind the more numerous, left-leaning parties represented in the House of Commons. Perhaps we need a year or so of that to inoculate the country against the horrors of a government that succeeded in only winning the backing of Scots, Welsh, Muslims, and radical feminists, which would, admittedly, be darkly humorous to watch.

  • mikewaller

    I always think the phrase “in a sense” to be a sure guide to a dodgy argument. So it proves here. To equate Tong Blair’s decision to participate in the second Iraq war with the attitude espoused by Christine Shawcross et al, is to entirely paper over the chasm that arose between those marching under the banner “Don’t Attack Iraq”, the natural grouping for Shawcross, and what might be termed the war party, Blair and very many Tories included. What makes this error particularly strange is that during his brief inglorious career as Editor of Today, RD brought much comfort to the former whilst now seeming to hold them in the deepest contempt. Perhaps that is why he is so forgetful.

    That said, I do share with him a belief that Corbyn, or someone like him, could make it into Number 10. This would of course be disastrous; but the Tories would only have themselves to blame. Continually trumpeting “We are all in it together” will only cut the mustard if it is true. Sadly, what most of the little guys see is large numbers of MPs with their noses in the expenses trough alongside a directorial class whose interlocking remuneration committees have awarded them eye-watering pay increases, largesse made all the larger by tax cuts. Faced with an electoral choice between more of the latter or candidates who spout the kind of comforting nonsense Shawcross offers up, don’t be too surprised if millions opt for the latter.

  • Tom M

    Interesting article. I’ve been saying since Corbyn was elected that he is a real threat to a Tory win next election. He and his mate McDonnell aren’t as unelectable as the media present them to be. One of the reasons being the current Tory Government’s continual penchant for making truly stupid gaffs. Another being their wish to present themselves as anything other than a Tory Government to their core support.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Apparently in latest polling Corbyn has higher ratings than Cameron, mind you that’s not saying much!

      • Father Todd Unctious

        We just need Jeremy to deprive the toffs of 25 seats.

        • gillardgone

          That’s buggered it then.

      • gillardgone

        I see that Nigel forage has the highest ratings for the most trusted political leader.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Current ‘poll results’ are utterly meaningless, given that it is four years and more until the next General election. However, this ladies utterly inane folly regarding ISIS is relevant today, because it is people like this who would bring them here.

  • Disqus Bolloqus

    What an ignorant piece by Liddle, suggesting his own IQ is somewhat less than zero

  • Nick

    Good article by Mr.Liddle.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Terrible biased crud Mr Lidl. Grow up.

      • Nick

        Oh dear.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Indeed. Oh dear.

  • This article is a horrible, scandalous slur on pots of yoghurt and moss. Apologise immediately!

  • Dr Bock

    It’ll be interesting to see how the issues raised in this article interplay with boundary redrawing, particularly in terms of selecting Labour candidates, it’s possible any parliamentary Labour party emerging from the 2020, or perhaps earlier?, general election would shift significantly to the left, leaving Blairites and their ilk as yesterday’s men, in that historically loaded phrase. It’s also interesting to consider the impact it will have on the Lib Dems, who are already an irrelevance.

  • Eques

    “and the fact that he is a doctrinaire, anti-British ideologue who hasn’t had a fresh political thought in 40 years”

    Wow, that passage was a veritable anthology of all the empty, meaningless criticisms levelled at Corbyn by his critics as an alternative to engaging with what he says.

    Doctrinaire – what does that mean? Surely every politician is doctrinaire. Surely everyone who has a political opinion is doctrinaire. Surely Liddle is doctrinaire in expressing opinions here.

    Anti-British – how?

    Hasn’t had a fresh political thought in 40 years? And Liddle has? What kind of original thought are you hoping to hear? Labour should be the same as the tories? or maybe the type of tortuous convoluted, meaningless guff the likes of Jarvis and umunna come out with in their pathetic attempts to position themselves as the leading thinkers of the party.

    The fact is there is nothing original in politics-there is socialism and there is capitalism and when capitalists overreach themselves as they are doing at the moment, socialism comes back into fashion. Thus it is actually the right’s fault if “old fashioned” socialist ideas are back

    • vieuxceps2

      “old-fashioned socialist ideas are back”…? Only in the shadows cast by Corbynistas. Sensible voters have long since abandoned them.

      • Eques

        You’re not listening.

        Voters are going back to them because the free marketeers have overreached themselves – abusing their victory of the 80s and 90s. The resulting resentments, inequalities and injustices will put “old fashioned” socialism in vogue again. We have:

        Privatized monopolies inflicting huge price increases year on year while their directors get huge bonuses.

        Tories removing employment rights on the instructions of their donors.

        Tories cutting disabled benefits while cutting corporation tax on the instructions of their donors.

        Tories removing the welfare guidelines for meat animals on the instructions of their donors.

        And soon, if they get that far, our schools and hospitals will be placed in the hands of profiteers, again with negative results on capitalism’s reputation.

        So as I say these indignant complaints we keep hearing from the right about the return of “old fashioned” socialist politics – that return is in fact entirely down to them.

        Highly revealing, in fact, that they just expect to behave as they wish without there being any negative consequences to themselves.

        • vieuxceps2

          Your assertions are just that, assertions,althought some have merit.”On the instructions of their donors” rings a bell- Trade Unions do you mean?
          I repeat, voters have abandoned socialism. Watch the election results in May. Don’t forget, there’s more to politics than economics.We haven’t forgotten your immigration policies.

          • Eques

            Yeah always found it laughable when Tories, of all people, have the cheek to complain about vested interests in the labour party.

            Anyway if labour does listen to its donors the result would merely be increased employment rights, which is a good thing, for all the privately owned press tries to convince us otherwise.

            Who’s this “we” who haven’t forgotten about immigration? Don’t assume that every voter is a foaming, mean spirited racist just because you are.

          • vieuxceps2

            So all those people who left Labour for SNP were” foaming,mean-spirited racists ” were they? And four million votes for UKIP yet still no penny drops. Corbyn and you other rumps, traitorous self-hating lefty marxoids one and all,will be scorned and derided by your erstwhile “foaming,mean-spirited racist ” supporters.
            There, is that sufficiently mean and vindictive for you? I have so far avoided the pleasuer of your acquaintance so how you can know enough to slander me is unclear. Are you in touch with the spirit-world?

          • gillardgone

            My god Eques do we really want the leftards back in power Eva.

          • Eques

            Well that is what will happen if the rightards keep abusing theirs. As indeed they will.

            And yes we do. The system has become clogged up with too much corruption, kickbacks and cronyism and needs a good dose of socialist bleach for a while.

  • Suzy61

    My vote goes to the moss – dense, woolly and green – plus the moss will have more idea of what to do about the head-choppers and the Eurozone.

  • Rob74

    The polls are voodoo mathematics used to push a political agenda.

    • Mary Ann

      So you don’t like the result?

      • Rob74

        I didn’t like it in 2015 either. Who was right, me or the pollsters?

        • Eques

          If you think the polling organisations are pro corbyn then why did icm try to disown its own poll, which was the first to put Labour in the lead?

          Anyway it is disingenuous to use this “the polls got it wrong in 2015” line.

          For the issue at the moment is not who will win the election but whether, as red and blue tories claim, Corbyn is electors poison. You lot keep trying to make out that NO ONE at all will vote for him with the exception of a few student protestor cultists in Islington. These polls show that is not the case.

          Corbyn might win by a few %points, he might lose by a few % points, and the polls might call that right or wrong. But he is clearly not electoral poison and the electorate clearly does not consist entirely of immigrant cleansing, war mongering nuclear missile fetishists.

  • Dexter vs Sinister

    The polls were spot on last May.
    I know just how accurate they are.
    That is why if the polls tell me my candidate cannot win, I do not vote for him./sarc

  • terence patrick hewett

    A spot of yoghurt won’t do it but a slice of fruitcake just might.