Given that Game of Thrones analogies are “the thing” in politics at the moment, I can’t say I was surprised to see this particular meme pop up sooner or later. And, honestly, the thing that annoyed me most was the glaring mistake: it’s king IN the North, not king OF the North.
Fanboy accuracy concerns aside, it strikes me as an interesting claim. Is Jeremy Corbyn overwhelmingly popular in the North? Is he on the verge of being declared King?
At the point in the TV series where the title “King in the North” first emerges, Robb Stark is holding a council of war with the other Northern lords. Greatjon Umber makes this little pronouncement:
“Why should they rule over me and mine from some flowery seat in the South? What do they know of the Wall or the Wolfswood? Even their gods are wrong!”
Now, British politics to Game of Thrones is always a slightly uneasy match, no matter how much columnists and bloggers might want, but ‘flowery seat in the south’ seems to me like it means London, from a northern perspective at least. And where is Jeremy’s seat?
But clumsy metaphors aside, is Jeremy winning the north?
The polls have, it’s fair to say, not been Jeremy’s friend. Taking a recent comprehensive poll (YouGov 25th – 26th July 2016), the Tories have a 12-point lead nationally over Labour. When one looks at the results purely for the North, Labour have a seven point lead over the Tories, 40 points to 33. Huzzah!
It’s a little less rosy, though, if we look at how people answer the question, “If there were a general election held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?” Here there’s still a Labour lead, but down to six points at 28 to 22 (With a headline voting intention of 27 points to 20 points in favour of the Conservatives -Ed).
We have to go even further down for the really bad news, though. “Which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?”, YouGov asked, and the national results have Theresa May on 52% and Jeremy Corbyn on, err, 18%. Still, that’s including the Tory shires, isn’t it? Surely the North will flock to their King? In the North Theresa May gets a paltry 47%, whilst Jeremy soars to 20%! …oh.
Nobody denies Jeremy’s ability to draw a crowd — though I question the utility of being about to get crowds of Labour supporters out in Labour-dominated Merseyside as a barometer for a general election — but I do find that the idea that Jeremy is adored in the North more than elsewhere in the country to be a little fanciful. The meme might have done better referring to him as “the King in Islington North” as that’s pretty indisputable (Though arguably part of the problem -Ed).
Still, to this northerner-in-exile, the idea of describing a Southern Lord from “some flowery seat in the South” as the King in the North seems more than a little fanciful.