Owen Smith

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Person.png Owen Smith   Twitter WebsiteRdf-icon.png
Owen Smith.jpg
Born 1970-05-02
Morecambe, England, UK
Alma mater University of Sussex
Spouse Liz Smith
Party Labour

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
13 September 2015 - 27 June 2016
Preceded by Stephen Timms

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
15 May 2012 - 13 September 2015
Preceded by Peter Hain
Succeeded by Nia Griffith

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Pontypridd

In office
6 May 2010 - Present

Employment.png Lobbyist,  Pfizer Ltd

In office
2005 - 2010

Employment.png Producer,  BBC

In office
1992 - 2002

Owen Smith is a Labour Party politician who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn to become Leader of the Labour Party.[1]

A former BBC producer, special adviser to Labour cabinet minister Paul Murphy and lobbyist for the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Owen Smith delayed the planned launch of his leadership campaign for three days until 18 July 2016, when he promised to 'unite Labour with new and good ideas'.[2]

Craig Murray commented:

"There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes. People will notice, Owen. They really are not that stupid."[3]

On 23 July 2016, Corbyn supporter Martin Odoni tweeted:

"Time @OwenSmith_MP faced reality. He has no hope of finding enough support to beat @jeremycorbyn in #LabourLeadership."[4]

Bad timing

Owen Smith, who decided to put himself forward, repeated Angela Eagle's error, having to postpone his own launch as a result of the more newsworthy massacre in Nice. Of course, no one can control events elsewhere, but flagging up your launch ahead of time does risk a humiliating retreat.

At a party hustings, Smith won the position of challenger to Corbyn. The fact that he is hardly known outside Westminster deprives him of the other of the two great advantages that Eagle could claim over him. He tactlessly described his family arrangements as “normal” (Eagle is in a civil partnership). But his campaign quickly hit choppy water, with social media disclosures that he had worked as a private health care lobbyist (that embarrassment again); that he got a job as a BBC Wales radio producer when, happily for him, his father Dai Smith was Head of Broadcast in Cardiff; and that he set up a fake Facebook account on which to post fictional compliments about himself. His self-description as “an ordinary man of the people” began to look threadbare.

Smith positions himself on the left of the Party, rather in the manner of Neil Kinnock. But he does not deploy the word Socialist. He says he intends to write another version of Clause IV. He strikes a conciliatory tone: as he told Andrew Marr, “If Jeremy wins the leadership, I’ll happily serve under him”. He has made what he imagines is a magnanimous offer to create for Corbyn the post of Party President, clearly a ceremonial sinecure. How innocent he is.[5]

Dirty linen

Alex Seed's Facebook exposé on Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith:

Owen Smith MP has a lot of dirty linen that he does not want washed in public. Luckily, I have brought my own box of Daz.

I have it on very good authority from someone within the Blairite Labour camp, who is disgusted by the behind-the-scenes secret-deals, funny handshakes, and disdain for the voters, of the following:

1. Owen Smith is actually the original perpetrator of the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn (and has been for a very time). The agenda for the leadership challenge was set up in April! Yes, that’s right, April and not July. Angela Eagle was brought in as a ruse, to make Owen look good. Eagle actually believed that she had a chance. She had none. This was a coup d'état with only a few of the players in the know. Angela Eagle was not one of them. She was deliberately led down the garden path to make mistakes and look foolish (and didn’t she rise to the challenge). Owen Smith’s agenda during the interview with Eagle on the recent BBC news show is obvious for all to see. When Owen indicated that: “He would withdraw from the contest if Ms Eagle won more support among Labour MPs”, you could almost see him snigger. Smith already knew the agenda was set. He already knew who his supporters were and also those of Eagle. So, the interview was merely play-acting on his part.

2. Owen Smith had always intended to split the Labour Party (right from the beginning). Apparently, Owen Smith believes he can head Jeremy Corbyn off at the pass. It goes something like this: should Corbyn win, none of the MPs will take cabinet positions (this has already been decided by those in the know). Smith believes that by doing this, it will split the party in two. This is what he wants. Smith realises that Jeremy has so much grass-roots support, that he is unable to successfully win in that quarter. However, a split party is a weakened party and he intends to take full advantage of it.

3. Many of the Blairite MPs have been offered powerful positions and sweetheart deals, should they vote against Corbyn. It is extremely hush-hush and it does explain why so many MPs suddenly went against Corbyn. Those who sat on the fence eventually decided to support ANYBODY other than Corbyn. I would suggest that once Jeremy Corbyn gets in, that the bank accounts and behind-the-scene deals of these MPs are investigated. The whole system that they are involved in is so incredibly corrupt.

4. As many of you know, Smith was a lobbyist for Pfizer. As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding of Blairite right-wing entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.

Pfizer is among the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Big Pharma seeks enormous profits over the health and well-being of the humans it serves, and these drug companies invasively corrupt the way that the healthcare industry delivers its vital services. Corrupt being the operative word.

So, why was Owen involved with an American company? Well, Owen Smith is on record as saying that: “.... Pfizer had been 'extremely supportive' of his aspirations to public office.” Make of that what you will.

Well, I am sure that Pfizer would love to get their toe in the door of the British NHS and Owen is their man to do just that!

During his time as chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Owen Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. Therefore, we know that the NHS will definitely not be safe in his hands. Should he become leader of the Labour Party, it will only be a matter of time before he will use his influence to start the process for privatisation of the NHS.

What we will end up with is something akin to the American system, where you will need to show your credit card (or insurance papers), before receiving treatment. Americans (rich and poor), have to find ways of paying for their very expensive treatments, should they get sick. This is our future, should Owen Smith become leader of the Labour Party.

And, if you think things could not get dirtier, Owen Smith is a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.

This is dirty dealing, folks. THIS is what we will get should Smith rise to power. If you value your future and well-being of your family, then you must do everything you can to ensure that he cannot continue his corrupt agenda. If he gains leadership, we really can say goodbye to the NHS and a whole lot more.

Please share this message as far and wide as you can, since the people need to know what is going on.[6]

Open letter to Owen Smith

On 23 July 2016, Corbyn supporter Martin Odoni addressed an open letter to Owen Smith:

Dear Owen,

It is already over. Stand down. You have as much chance of winning the Labour leadership this year as a snowball has of surviving a guided tour of the Earth’s core. You have already lost.

Of course, I had my severe doubts about your chances right from the moment there were whispers that you might make a challenge to become leader; partly because I was only dimly aware of who you are. If I have trouble placing a face to the name when I follow the political scene, what hope did most rank-and-file Labour Party workers have?

Today, I went from doubting your chances, to knowing you have no chance. For today, I was at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays, attending the launch event for Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to retain the leadership of the Labour Party. The atmosphere within the Lyric Auditorium was just unbelievable. The sheer weight of feeling in that chamber, duplicated in other cities all over the country, was energised by the weight of an idea that far exceeds the ‘appeal’ of your plastic Public Relations ‘skills’.

You may not even fully understand what I mean by all this, Owen, but that only underlines how far beyond your depth you are swimming. You do not even know what you have chosen to take on, what you have put yourself up against. What you are up against is a movement – a movement that is for an idea, and not just vindictively against an individual. Even with all the dirty attempts by the party’s National Executive Committee to force Corbyn supporters off the voting lists, you, Owen, are still going to get pulverised if you continue, because that idea I speak of is already out there amongst the majority in the party, and among many beyond. The genie is out of the bottle, Owen, and it sure will not go back in simply at your say-so.

Your lack of real experience in Parliament is what blinds you to the scale of the task you are facing, while your lack of experience among grass-roots supporters and ordinary people blinds you to how unappealing your leadership appears. You have nothing to offer, nothing. All the speakers at the launch event had more to say in the opening sentences of their speeches than you had in all the speeches you have so far delivered combined. Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sam Wheeler, Yasmin Toor, most particularly Richard Burgon, and others besides; they spoke, every single one of them, with the charisma of sincerity. They believed in what they said, every word, you could sense it when listening to them, and it connected to supporters in a way of which you, Owen, can only dream. And this is the critical point; they are on Corbyn’s side, they are not on yours. You, Owen, keep contradicting yourself in interviews, and you try to compensate for lack of clarity with an obviously fake show of ‘affability’. Corbyn may not be a great orator, but he is at least as good a speaker as you, so you need supporters who will speak up for you, as the other speakers did for Corbyn today. But whom do you have who will fight your corner with the same fire and eloquence as Burgon, Long-Bailey, Wheeler et al?

And then there is Corbyn himself; when he stepped onto the stage to address the crowd in the Lyric, the ovation he got was just ear-splitting. Just across the quay from the Theatre is Old Trafford Football Ground. Even when it is full to its 80,000 capacity, I swear it can get no louder than the ovation about 2,000 gave Jeremy Corbyn today. As he spoke with his usual, relaxed, mild-humoured clarity, and his kindly, engaging sincerity, giving us more substance in a minute than Tony Blair gave us in ten years as Prime Minister, everyone in the room was with him, applauding and chanting his name. The ovation he got when he finished speaking lasted for minutes on end. His charisma may not be the same type as the traditional, aloof, ‘Alpha-male’ figure of convention, but he still has a charisma that you lack.

Do you not believe that? Well, I went to a Momentum meeting in Liverpool just two days ago. There were hundreds crammed into a hotel conference room with poor air conditioning on a humid evening, but no one was sapped or stifled by it. It had a similar vibrant atmosphere of drive and commitment. And everyone there was well aware that Corbyn would not even be able to attend. Think about that; they showed up in their hundreds to show their support for Corbyn even when he was not going to be there! For you and your allies to keep suggesting that this man is ‘unelectable’ when he is the only politician in the country to rally hundreds of thousands to his banner over the last year is frankly doublethink.

Meanwhile, Owen, you have nothing with which to counter any of this. You have no vision, no inspiration, no experience, nobody’s trust. You are unable to mobilise support in anything like the same numbers, or with even a fraction of the drive, passion and commitment, that your already-elected leader can. The Parliamentary Party in the main will support you, but not because they really want you to be leader, but because they fear what Corbyn stands for. Your support is built on a negative. Even events you attend in person have tiny numbers of supporters showing up, and most of them looking half-comatose as they try to remember to hold up the signs saying, “Owen Smith 4 Labour Leader“.

There is not the slightest chance of that sort of half-hearted semi-interest from followers of Jeremy Corbyn.

Do you know why? Because all you are offering your party, in place of this man of the people, is another PR man, which to them is effectively nothing. It is nothing to them, because they have endured nearly a quarter-of-a-century of ‘New Labour’ PR and now know how to recognise it straight away. They have experience of how much your brand of PR promises them at first, and how little it delivers in the long run. They are no longer willing to indulge it. You as leader would simply be another Tony Blair, and that is not the good news you think it is; by-and-large, people no longer like Blair, they have come to recognise him as the violent, deceitful plutocrat he undoubtedly is, and some are even ashamed they ever voted for him. You will not win elections by emulating him. But that is what you would have to do, because when all is said and done, you have no gift for doing anything different.

What they want is something they have lacked for a generation, and that is someone to represent them, not just someone to represent the banks in a way that allows the little people a few extra crumbs.

All of this means that you are not a true ‘challenger’, Owen, you are merely a role-player. Your only role is forcing your party to waste precious time and resources re-doing a process that was completed and finalised without any ambiguity less than a year ago. This pointless ‘coup‘ has already squandered a priceless opportunity to attack the Conservative Party over the ‘Brexit’ fiasco, which had left their own party in turmoil for weeks, but from which they have now been allowed to regroup with little harm done to them. By engaging in this ridiculous leadership challenge, you are simply handing the Tories more freedom from effective opposition.

No one will thank you for that, except the Tories themselves, and they are supposed to be your enemies.

Give up, Owen. You and your supporters in the PLP are trying to fight the tide itself. You are all in denial of the reality that the ‘New Labour’ experiment had fully run its course at least eight years ago, and is now as obsolete as the party model of the 1970’s – which no, Corbyn is not trying to restore.

So why not let your party cut its losses and at least get back some good will from the grass-roots you will still need to rely on in future? You have lost anyway.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Odoni[7]

 

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