This is my truth, tell me yours

by Nic Dakin

Speaking for Owen Smith at a nomination meeting I came face to face with the truth that members believe about what caused the current crisis and leadership election.  It’s a truth that’s been pushed by certain sections of the media and a lot of people supportive of the current Labour Leader on social media.  It’s not a truth I recognise.  But for many of the really good, honest, genuine people there it had become a truth they passionately believed.

And it goes something like this: Jeremy Corbyn has done a really good job in leading the party resulting in it being ahead in the polls prior to the current difficulties.  These difficulties have been caused by dreadful Labour MPs (much hissing and booing whenever these pantomime villains were mentioned!) who orchestrated a coup against the noble Leader who has continued to behave with huge dignity and generosity throughout.

The reality, of course, is rather different.  I lived through these events and my truth is very different to this carefully polished, well spun version of events.

My truth goes something like this.  If it hadn’t been for around 20 MPs wanting to broaden the debate in the last election Jeremy Corbyn would never have got on the ballot.  Once on the ballot he fought a brilliant campaign and won.  It was the duty of all of us to then get behind him and do everything we could to make him successful.

With the exception of a handful of MPs (rather like the handfuls of MPs, often including Jeremy, who’d always been against past leaders) all the Parliamentary Labour Party got behind the leader.   Most of us took the positions he asked us to in the hope that he would be the Leader we needed.  But leadership is a responsibility as well and Jeremy consistently struggled to deliver in and outside of parliament.  Nonetheless we remained doggedly loyal.  Loyalty is in our bones and even now it’s been difficult for people like Thangham Debbonaire, Lilian Greenwood and Heidi Alexander to tell their stories of what they experienced ago under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The local elections results were poor but not quite the total catastrophe some feared.  90% of polls since Mr Corbyn became leader showed his Labour party significantly behind the Conservatives.  Nevertheless we all expected to carry on for at least another year hoping that between our efforts and the leader’s growing experience we would come to a point when we began to operate as a competent opposition.

Just before the Referendum recess the education team was speculating on who would be the next education secretary and putting plans together to take the battle to the government on a range of issues.  Lucy Powell, the shadow education secretary, had just appointed (in consultation with the leader’s office) a Special Advisor to support the team replacing a colleague who’d left.  We expected to hit the ground running once the Referendum was concluded; we were ready and raring to go.

So what changed?  A couple of days later we all got the awful news of Jo Cox’s murder.  It’s difficult to underestimate the impact this terrible event had on Labour MPs, the sense of grief that it unleashed.  A week later the country voted for Brexit, so on top of this grief was heaped searing despair.

Then up pops our leader and calls for the immediate triggering of Article 50 – something even the most ardent Brexiteers knew was foolhardy and irresponsible.  Then we had what I see as the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment, the spark that caused all the other events to follow – the sacking of the shadow foreign secretary by the leader in the early hours of the morning.  That’s what triggered the train of events that followed.  Even going down on the Monday morning I didn’t expect to have resigned my position on the front bench before the day was out.

So my truth, which I think is closer to the real truth, is messy, unpredictable, chaotic.  A truth for which we all share the responsibility and blame.  A human truth.

I hope all Labour members and supporters who want to be in a position to improve people’s lives and make a difference to the country vote for Owen Smith to be the next Labour Leader.  If they do Owen will win and we will quickly become the credible opposition and alternative government that this country needs.

Nic Dakin is MP for Scunthorpe

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31 Responses to “This is my truth, tell me yours”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Nic, you dont realise the people you’re taking too, won’t accept what you say, and actually corbyn has admitted his exact language,on article 50 was not well out, but brexit means brexit

  2. Mark Livingston says:

    One of the biggest problems faced by Jeremy Corbyn in convincing Labour voters to support the Remain campaign was the existence of a Tory Trojan Horse operation within the Labour ranks called Labour Leave. This campaign to completely undermine the official Labour party stance on Brexit was bankrolled by a bunch of Tories, with every single registered donation coming from Tory donors or the right-wing Vote Leave mob.

    Sadiq Khan actually tried to blame Jeremy Corbyn for the fact that a significant percentage Labour voters were confused about the official party stance when he knows perfectly well that a bunch of Labour Party MPs were guilty of using masses of Tory cash to deliberately undermine the party leadership.

    Anyone directing their anger at Jeremy Corbyn rather than the Labour Leave shills is clearly playing synthetic outrage mind games.

  3. anon says:

    Oh dear, how blind and totally unaware can a person be.

    I no longer vote for Labour as, not only am I convinced that they are not representing me, but because they have signed up to an agenda beyond any democratic control. The European Union forms part of this equation.

    The killing of Jo Cox was a disgusting act and I condemn it whole heartedly, but she was typical of a large section of the Labour party that is now beyond democracy, and is working to a global agenda. Wanting to save the world is a noble vision, but that is not what our MPs are voted in for – they are voted in to represent the people of their constituencies, not to serve unelected and unaccountable NGOs in sidestepping democracy.

    Labour are now awash with such visionaries, and are oblivious to, and separate from, the UK’s real problems. Whether Corbyn or Smith can solve this disconnect (I’d have more faith in an idealistic Corbyn than I would salesman Smith) I don’t know – but if you’re not for the people of the UK, what is the point of us voting for you.

    Nothing displays this disconnect more than the apparent ‘searing despair’ felt by people like Nic Dakin upon hearing the voice of the people, in the form of a ‘wrong’ choice in an EU referendum.

    Before the referendum it was quite noticeable that the varied crowd around me, no matter what profession, all wanted to leave the EU – and for many different reasons. Many might say that I spend my time with a limited set of professions, and that is true – no lawyers, MPs, or Councillors, but amongst my friends I have heating engineers, yacht builders, farmers, market gardeners, teachers, social workers, nurses, and all building trades – why did almost every one of these people want out of the EU?

    Corbyn is at least tipping his hat towards something quaintly known as ‘Democracy’ – he recognises that there is a whole body of people out here who are completely sick of the slick salesmen in suits.

    Alas, he should have stuck with his anti-EU sentiments, and campaigned for Leave. I am convinced that the disconnected voters would have given him their support.

  4. Bob says:


    Totally correct in your comments. Labour MPs and MPs from all parties were not listening to their constituents and BREXIT reflected this.

  5. anosrep says:

    Mr Dakin is very dishonest in mentioning the sacking of Hilary Benn without mentioning why he was sacked: because he’d been phoning up Shadow Cabinet colleagues and other Labour MPs to recruit them for a coup against the leader. What else is a leader supposed to do in response to that? Dakin calls his sacking the “Assassination” moment (which, just after a mention of Jo Cox’s murder, is not in the best of taste), but the (would-be) assassin was Benn, not Corbyn; Corbyn merely responded in self-defence.

  6. Tafia says:

    Nic Dakin, voting to Remain was the wrong choice. Should Labour now attempt to thwart or impede BREXIT, they will lose their northern heartlands. At least one third of the Labour voters across the UK voted out. Knock off Scotland and the metroplitan middle class vote in places like London, Cardiff, Manchester etc and it was probably approching 50% – above 50% of the Labour vote in some northern areas and parts of Wales. I live in the constituency of Ynys Mon – The Plaid and Labour vote combined dwarfs all the others (% including LibDem GE2015 65%, Assembly 2016 74%). It voted Leave. These people are not going to vote Labour if Labour tries to stop BREXIT – and without them you will lose dozens and dozens of seats across northern England, the English Midlands and Wales. Remember, these people (including me) are so opposed to the idea of the EU that the thought of another tory government doesn’t bother them if that’s what it takes to get BREXIT.

  7. paul barker says:

    Nic Dakins account sounds as dishonest as the Corbynites version to me. The Labour coalition has always been based around Class & Regional bigotry rather than Ideology. There was an unspoken assumption that while The Far Left & The Hard Right would be allowed control in “their” areas they would never get power at a National level.
    Then Corbyn won & The PLP majority found themselves the outsiders. Tough. Its entirely their own fault for failing to build a Party based on Values rather than being just against “Tory Toffs”. Its too late now.
    The Labour story is over.

  8. john P Reid says:

    Mark Livingston, calling Kelvin Hopkins, Dennis Skinner, jon Cryer, graham Jones ,John Sweeney, tories, really?
    yes labours policy was to vote remain, and Labour’s policy was to privatise the mail in 2009 and vote for trident renewal in 2016, As constituency secretary I went against the NEC’s policy in 2009 when I gave out keep royal mail in public hands, literature and Jeremy rightly went against party policy and voted to stop trident last month.

    anon, when Harold Wilson or even Gaitskell with Tony Benn having a slick canvassing campaign in 1959, went for the slick salesman suits. labour were competing with tories who knew about media did it better, Michael foot that it wasn’t important, talking to large rallies in halls would get more support, and those who Corbyn attracts who don’t buy into what labour stand for anymore ,are half a million at the most, yet we have since the late 80’s been targeting ex libdems, Tories who feel labour more competent on pensions, crime or the NHS, so the idea that Corbyn is on to a winner getting half a million hard lefties, yet losing 5 million centre ground votes, is silly

  9. Peter Kenny says:

    Hi Nic – obviously I don’t know how you experienced these events but to reduce some of what has happened purely to differing subjective interpretations is misleading.

    Let’s look at what seems to be fairly well established:

    There was a pre planned ‘coup’ attempt led by Benn. The talk since Corbyn was elected was when the attempt to remove him would be, when would fit best. The shape of the coup was well covered in a Telegraph article weeks before the EU referendum result.

    Some aspects of this, such as the registration of Angela Eagle’s leadership challenge website are irrefutable.

    There was a planned attempt to remove Corbyn, without a leadership election, because the key people feared he’d beat anyone who challenged him.

    Owen Smith, the candidate you support, believes the coup was planned, not an emotional spasm.

    Benn was sacked because he confirmed that he had been organising resignations from the Shadow Cabinet. He himself acknowledged Corbyn was justified

  10. Peter Kenny says:

    Sorry, somehow my comment got posted prematurely.

    As I said Benn’s sacking was an inevitable result of his behaviour. You imply this was part of the cause of the coup rather than, as it clearly was, the other way round.

    The coup failed. Most things after that are the shambling, incompetent, ‘god what do we do now’ human mess you want to paint the whole thing as.

    Of course the coup plotters were only a small number and others joined in the vote of no confidence etc for a range of reasons, I’m sure.

    I draw a deep distinction between challenging Corbyn for the leadership and the coup. The challenge is completely legitimate, if pretty strange in its arguments. The coup was an example of many of the things wrong with our Party, the manoeuvring, the contempt for members and, worst of all, the deliberate turning away from the country at a key moment.

    Some of the people who did this clearly spent energy during the referendum campaign setting up the coup and certainly turned us inwards.

    From the outside I have to say that MPs like you have failed us and the country.

    Maybe the worst thing of all is that all of this is for nothing as Owen Smith will lose and a leader you think is unfit will be stronger.

    This is not principled or sensible or competent. For me this article is an attempt to rewrite history – there was a pre planned coup and by your actions you have associated yourself with it.

    What would be more interesting is what your attitude to a Corbyn victory is.Will you rule out joining a split? Or might you go to London one day and ‘find yourself’ somehow, in that messy human, scrambled up, what are we doing, despairing, etc way, splitting our party?

  11. Steve K says:

    Drawn as I am to anyone using the great Bevan quote, I also know that Nic Dakin is right but also wasting his time. We live in a post truth world – be it Trump nonsense, the £350m promised by the Brexiteers for the NHS or the Corbynite make believe he actually illustrates – people aren’t listening or rather they are refusing to. We live in difficult times – it follows that the answers to our problems are going to be difficult. But currently its easier for many to believe the nonsensical and the simple. Whether you are a devotee of Corbyn, Trump or Brexit, you are being led up a garden path. Time & history will be the judge but at the price of what damage done?

  12. Couldbe Yue (@CouldbeYue) says:

    what do you mean the local election results were poor? some were won and i only remember one which didn’t have an increased majority.

    It’s the selective memory of the coup supporters that really irks me. I’m all for debate but the mendacity is ridiculous.

  13. madasafish says:


    what do you mean the local election results were poor? some were won and i only remember one which didn’t have an increased majority.

    In the days of Google and the internet, you can find in 30 seconds Labour lost 18 seats (nett) in England.

    Labour lost 13 MSPs in Scotland.. (same link).

    And 1 seat in Wales.

    So NO net wins..

    Is that good?

    Your “selective memory” is working overtime. And yet you accuse others of it.

    I suggest before you post again, you check your facts as you should be seriously embarrassed with your (inexcusable) ignorance.

  14. Anne says:

    Well here we are in August and here we are in the north yet again flooded out of our homes. We were promised help for flood protection from the EU – we are unlikely to get such help now. My proposal is that all you clever clogs who voted to leave contribute to our floor protection plans.

  15. Tafia says:

    My proposal is that all you clever clogs who voted to leave contribute to our floor protection plans.

    Where do you think the EU got it’s money from to start with? Oh yes, us.

    By leaving we’re just cutting out the middle-man.

    And why is it anyone other than your responsibility of you buy on a flood plain. Didn’t you check?

  16. Tafia says:

    madasafish – CouldBeYou was very specific ‘local elections’. It is utterly arrogant of you to class the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly as local elections. They aren’t.

  17. Tafia says:

    So while Welsh MP Owen Smith goes around England saying how amazing Jobs Growth Wales is and how it should be rolled out across the UK, the Labour-run Government in Cardiff is busy exercising a cut of 50% to the funding to the scheme.

    What an utter joke.

  18. Anne says:

    I understand that there was more money spent on Wales infrastructure from EU money then they contribute- a nice show of gratitude I must say. If we in the north who had received half of that money for our flood defences we would certainly would have been more than grateful. I have witnessed today people’s homes in three feet of water and our village cut off from both sides. There are really some real nasty people out there folks who seem to revel in others misery.

  19. The problem that MPs like Nic have in convincing most people of their ‘truth’ is that it won’t pass the duck test.

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

  20. Tafia says:

    Anne, Wales doesn’t contribute a penny to the EU. Nor does Scotland nor Northern Ireland. The EU is not a devolved issue – it is a UK sovereign one (as both the UK government and the EU pointed out to Sturgeon). The UK gives money to the EU. This is basic stuff.

    As for people buying on flood plains – if you think you are intelligent enough to buy a house, you are at least as intelligent enough to check that it’s not on a flood plain. Likewise councils who approved the planning permission without slamming an s106 on it forcing the developers to put flood protection in. But it certainly isn’t the EUs problem nor is it the UK tax payers problem. Indeed, there are several villages in Gwynedd in Wales that are just going to be sacrificed because the cost of protecting them is unjustifible.

  21. Mike Homfray says:

    I shall not be voting for Owen Smith under any circumstances, and no-one is forcing you to remain an MP. You are of course entitled to your opinion. It should carry no more weight than any other member. The MP’s should not have any right to veto any candidate for leader – the leader is of the party, not just the MP’s who are now woefully out of touch with the party and haven’t really abandoned their nostalgia for New (Not) Labour. That has to be exterminated permanently.

    I trust you will be supportive of Jeremy if he is re-elected, as I am sure your CLP members will expect you to be.

  22. Anne says:

    The point I was making is that we in the north would have been extremely grateful for a fraction of the money (millions) from the EU spent in Wales on their infrastructure. My neighbourhood is not on a flood plain and many of the architectural structures date back to the Middle Ages. We have a fantastic community spirt which comes out in times of need – neighbours helping each other.
    I really like the Plaid Cymre leader – Leanne Wood. She puts her point across in a very pleasant manner – not patronising or rude in any way.

  23. DJ says:

    It does not matter whether Corbyn was there to allow for a broadening of the debate or whether he deserved to be there, he took his chance and he ran with it which is something the other potential leaders failed to do. If Labour had a stronger potential leader he would have won that contest 10 months ago but the ones usually mentioned either ran away from British politics (only returning to gloat after the most recent general election result) or ran away because the media uncovered that he was did not have the character to be a labour leader (although once out of the kitchen he became more vocal than ever). Corbyn proved himself to be the strongest voice and was able to attract thousands by offering a different sort of politics and traditional labour values, he was also the only one to say (and act in accordance since) that labour is a broad church.

    Since that time there have been ups and downs however the majority of labour MP’s have failed to back their democratically backed leader and to one degree or another also ran away from the fight. These are the very people that state that unifying and getting into power are exactly the reasons that Corbyn needs to go and yet it’s exactly these people who have been disruptive, have weakened Corbyn’s leadership at every turn and have questions whether the labour party needs to split.

    The Lib Dems and Greens vote on party policies at conferences while the Tories saw a prime minister get elected following friends undercutting friends and no one being able to vote on it. It seems that the PLP would rather the latter than the former; it would seem that the PLP wish to rid themselves of the only candidate saying (and acting in accordance) that Labour needs to be a broad church; it seems that the PLP don’t care a tuppance about labour values as long as they are in government. When Smith supporters say this is about what sort of party Labour should be they are bang on, you have the unifying candidate and you have Smith – the latest face on a PLP who want nothing more than to self-destruct just as long as it looks good in the papers.

  24. Tafia says:

    Whenever I see Oily Smith on TV not only is it plainly obvious he doesn’t believe a word he himself is saying about his own ‘policies’, but he always reminds me of when you were in school and you used to divvy-up at break time to make football teams, there was always one kid nobody wanted on their team so they were always the last one picked. He’s that kid.

  25. John P Reid says:

    Mile Homfray, says he won’t vote for Owen, but talks other to get out of the party!

    Tafia ,yes you’re right, but it’s kind of courageous that he still is making that stand, I dint even know if he hunks blocking brexiter is possible,

    DJ, not sure if that’s right, if it was a repeat of Healey and foot ,then foot would have won in 2015′ I think it’s a case of biting our own dances to spite the electorate, for not voting for us in the Gen.melection, you know, the electorate were wrimg not to vote for us, so when they see what a mistake they made,voting Tory, then they’ll come back with open arms, but this time we’ll have no compromise use with the electorate,we will only be good enough fur them if we’re lead by a right, lefty,

  26. Tafia says:

    I really like the Plaid Cymre leader – Leanne Wood. She puts her point across in a very pleasant manner – not patronising or rude in any way.

    As a former Labour member of several decades and now Plaid voter who has seen her speak often, I can assure you when her tail is up she doesn’t care what she says nor to whom nor with how much venom -she is verbally ferocious and aggressive once she’s on a roll and doesn’t care whose feet she stands on – from the Queen downwards.

  27. Anne says:

    To have got to the position she has I am quite sure Leanne can hold her own.
    Owen may have been the school geek, but at least he knows who Ant and Dec are and his taste in music is quite modern. What is that story about the tortoise and the hare?

  28. Tafia says:

    Anne, you are making yourself look more and more ridiculous with every post. It’s quite obvious from what you have posted on here and other threads that you have limited knowledge of the political structure of the UK and even less of the Labour Party. You don’t even seem to know basics that you comment on – such as (quite rightly) Leanne Wood slagged Betty Windsor in the Welsh Assembly – purely because she was Betty Windsor, not to mention the vitriol she (quite rightly) heaps on Carwyn ( I assume you know who he is).

    I’m beginning to think you are well meaning but elderly (and I’m nearly 60) and thus don’t realise how things have shifted. She’s actually far far more vitriolic towards London and Parliament than Sturgeon is (along with anyone who supports it) , by a country mile.

  29. Anne says:

    Quite right I known very little about Welsh politics – yes I do know who Carwyn Jones, first Minister for Wales is. Way out the age estimation though, and knowledge of the Labour Party. Keep trying.

  30. Tafia says:

    and knowledge of the Labour Party.

    Your knowledge is atrocious. I’ve forgotten more than you seem to know.

  31. BorisT says:

    I think Nic Dakin was perhaps being a bit disingenuous in his critique of how this supposedly ‘spontaneous’ coup happened, or he is just a useful fool who joined in with this despicable action to oust the democratically elected leader out of loyalty to the centre right elements of the PLP, who were more in tune with his political ideals?

    As most are aware, the right wing of the Labour party cannot stomach Jeremy Corbyn’s left of centre policies. The coup was planned many months ago after a period of attrition, where even cabinet members refused to follow their leader and generally acted like a bunch of unruly adolescents. The planning was likely done by Progress MPs, working with the Fabians and Portland Communication. All that was needed was to find a suitable moment to trigger the plan, and the Brexit vote was chosen, probably on the assumption that Cameron’s resignation would trigger an election.

    They badly mismanaged their plan to overthrow democracy and are now faced with the strong possibility that Jeremy Corbyn will win again, perhaps with an even bigger majority. The other puzzle is why this supposedly democratic party censured Jeremy for calling the EU Article 50 declaration. They have also selected a candidate who wants yet another referendum, despite the will of the people of Britain on this issue being perfectly clear. The sooner the split with the EU can be completed, the quicker we can return to being a Sovereign Nation again. Work can then begin towards delivering our own destiny again, without the shackles of the tottering, undemocratic edifice that is the European Union.

    I have no faith that those orchestrating the plot have the capability of running the country. However, under Jeremy Corbyn’s guidance they at least have a chance to deliver a government that will fight for ordinary wage earning citizens.

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