There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact – Arthur Conan Doyle
Citizen Smith’s Background
Owen Smith, 46, has been the Member of Parliament for Pontypridd since the 2010 General Election.
Mr Smith was born in Morecambe, Lancashire and raised in Barry, South Wales.
Before being elected to Parliament he worked as a radio and television producer for the BBC, as a special adviser for Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, and as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
In 2006, while still head of policy and government relations for Pfizer, Smith fought the 2006 Blaenau Gwent by-election.
He lost to independent candidate Dai Davies. During the by-election campaign, Smith expressed his support for removing foreign dictators, the private sector playing a supportive role in the NHS, and private finance initiative (PFI) schemes.
Until 2003, Smith says he was an active member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
Subsequently he was appointed as the candidate for the Labour safe seat of Pontypridd and won it by a margin of 2,785 votes in the 2010 general election.
Following his election Smith went on to serve as Shadow Welsh Secretary under Ed Miliband from 2012 until 2015, and then as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn from 2015 until he resigned in June 2016.
Smith resigned over concerns about Mr Corbyn’s leadership, saying “It breaks my heart to say I cannot see how he can continue as leader.”
He has been described as being on the ‘soft left’ of the Labour Party, by most tabloid political commentators.
Citizen Smith’s Voting Record
Owen Smith’s voting record since becoming a Labour MP makes very interesting reading. He has a history of ‘flip-flopping’ on key issues. Most noticeably this one time CND activist is now staunch supporter of the Trident nuclear option. And despite defining himself as a strong supporter of the EU Remain campaign, he has in the past voted for an EU referendum.
Thanks to the parliamentary website They Work For You his broader voting on key issues bares closer scrutiny:
Mr Smith has:
- Voted a mixture of for and against use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
- Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
- Voted a mixture of for and against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
- Consistently voted for strengthening the Military Covenant
- Voted a mixture of for and against higher taxes on banks
- Almost always voted against local councils keeping money raised from taxes on business premises in their areas
Citizen Smith’s Leadership Campaign
Owen Smith’s leadership campaign is only 48 hours old, but already it has been hit by innuendo and misinformation.
Even the mainstream media feel compelled to drop hints that Smith is not what he is being promoted as.
The Guardian reported: “The former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option.”
For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning.
On Channel 4 News, Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.
As chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. In one press release at the time Mr Smith says of a Pfizer funded focus group study: “We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.”
In the footnotes that ‘choice’ was defined:
“The focus groups also explored areas of choice that do not yet exist in the UK – most specifically the use of direct payments and the ability to choose to go directly to a specialist without first having to see the GP.”
That is: direct payments from the public to doctors replacing current NHS services. Smith was promoting straight privatisation.
As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding of right wing Labour Party entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.
Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs who sought the vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn three weeks ago.
Read more about this shadowy group in Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant.
Owen Smith went to Pfizer from a Labour Party job, while Labour was in government, and there is no doubt that his hiring was an example of the corrupt relationship between New Labour and big business which is why the Blairites are so hated by the public.
It is also beyond any argument that if Pfizer had any doubts about Smith’s willingness to promote the Big Pharma and NHS Privatisation agenda, they would never have hired him.
Smith is also a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.
Last month this supposed former CND activist stated that he would vote to renew Trident, saying: “I want a world without nuclear weapons altogether, but I don’t think we hasten that by divesting.”
Perhaps most crucially of all, Owen Smith joined fellow Blarites in abstaining on the Tory welfare benefit cuts.
So 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.
This goes against the rumours that this had been his strategy all along, to position himself as the left wing alternative who might just win over the grassroots, who might otherwise vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw since 2001, and a constant critic of Mr Corbyn, tweeted that he was asked if he would support Smith six months ago: “What he thinks is, Wales is a good backdrop, tie up Wales, get the Welsh loyalty and you’ve got a key base, and you’re not London.”
“It was a fairly simple strategy, but the weakness of it was: who the hell’s Owen Smith?”
He entered parliament as the MP for his home constituency of Pontypridd in 2010, long enough ago not to be disqualified as a novice but recent enough not to have been tarnished by the Blair years and the vote on the Iraq war.
“His allies were elusive; or rather, they were for a day – for 18 hours, all I had was the one source who knew his dad (off the record!) and then suddenly they were everywhere.”
He already has more than 100 nominations, and looks, suddenly, to be in a much stronger position than Eagle, which would account for the rumours cranking up against him – including an accusation of sexism and incompetence.
One of the most damning pieces of evidence of incompetence is that by a former UKIP candidate who had first-hand experience Owen Smith at work:
“Owen Smith made a complete fool of himself with his media pronouncements during the EU elections in Wales and during the referendum. If it’s possible to misread or fail to analyse correctly anything to do with the political world then Owen’s your man,” he says.
“One of the funniest things that I’ve ever witnessed during campaigning for UKIP was at the EU elections in 2014 when Owen masterminded and headed up the Labour Party’s anti UKIP campaign.
“He pitched up on the TV in front of an advertising van in Barry with a massive picture of Nigel Farage and a huge UKIP motif carrying a message slagging off UKIP.
“As I watched, I thought ‘How fantastic, an ad van with a ten foot picture of Nigel Farage and a massive UKIP logo, I’ve never been able to afford one of those in nine years of campaigning for UKIP’.
“And this idiot is going to send this van all over my constituency and Wales in general. Knowing how generally unobservant of the finer details the general public are when glancing at ads how thick must he be? Thanks very much Owen’
“As expected my phone rang off the hook for the next three days with people saying “I’ve just seen your van in Barry. Can you tell me more about UKIP and how can we join”
“UKIP came first in the Vale of Glamorgan and UKIP finished just 4,500 votes behind the giant Labour machine in Wales. Cheers Owen, who needs a campaign with electoral dimwits like you as the opposition,” he added.
- One final detail… last week Owen Smith promised to hold a second referendum on any Brexit deal if he is elected leader of the Labour Party. He seems to have not realised that if he becomes leader and if Labour wins the General Election in 2020, Brexit will have concluded and Britain will be out of Europe for good!