'Left-winger' Owen Smith is so firmly on the Euro-Labour right that he is now calling for a Second Referendum. It's the usual arrogance of the political elite: when the stupid electorate vote the wrong way, just make them do it again!
So what exactly are this left-winger's true political commitments? When he stood as Labour's parliamentary candidate in a by-election in 2006, the ambitious politician – previously a senior lobbyist for pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer – was grilled by Wales On-line’s chief reporter Martin Shipton:
Q: What was your position on the Iraq War?
Answer: "I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition…” He ‘didn't know’ whether he would have voted against the war had he been an MP at the time. Link
Q: What about austerity and the government's public spending cuts?
Answer: “I don’t think it’s realistic to say that they are wholly unnecessary... There is a very serious point that we don’t know what would happen to a government that failed to tackle its debts in the long run."
Q: How do you view the involvement of private companies in the NHS?
Answer: "Where they can bring good ideas, where they can bring valuable services... then I think that's fine. If their involvement means in any way, shape or form the break up of the NHS, then I'm not a fan of it, but I don't think it does."
Q: Do you support Private Finance Initiative schemes?
Answer: "We've had PFI in Wales, we've had a hospital built down in Baglan through PFI. If PFI works, then let's do it. What people want to see are more hospitals, better services…. I'm not someone, frankly, who gets terribly wound up about some of the ideological nuances that get read into some of these things, and I think sometimes they are totally overblown."
Owen Smith is attempting to convince the membership that he stands for the same things as Jeremy does. The problem is that a look at his history shows that he does not. In short, lobbyist Owen Smith:
- Supported the invasion of Iraq (he wasn't an MP at the time, but past interviews confirm his pro-war stance).
- Abstained on the Tory welfare cap and supported the benefits cap.
- Supports renewing Trident and other weapons of mass destruction.
- Supported NHS PFIs and other private sector involvement.
- Supported Blairite City Academies.
- Previously worked as a lobbyist for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Pfizer funded Blairite think tank Progress, whose members have been linked to 5 attempted coups against Labour leaders in 7 years.
- In February 2015 attended an arms trade annual dinner as an invited guest, with tickets at £200-£450 a head.
- John Mann MP reveals that over six months ago, he (Owen Smith) approached him to build support for the present leadership challenge . In other words, Owen and his Progress allies gave Jeremy's historic mandate just three months before plotting to oust him.
Owen Smith's true identity as a hawkish Blairite is no left-wing fantasy but is in fact well-known on the political right: