Month: June 2017

General Election Breakdown (Part One)

MAY

“Who knew Jeremy Corbyn was such a good campaigner?!” asks countless commentators. “He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations!” they say. Well, some of us never doubted Corbyn’s ability to attract votes specifically because he was clearly a brilliant campaigner. Some of us were just waiting for the chance for him to show the naysayers how much they were underestimating him and his team.

That’s not to say, of course, that Labour won this election. It absolutely did not. Much of the excitement around Labour’s performance is an expression of surprise at a result many thought impossible. The truth is that nobody won this election, by the ground rules of the FPTP system. Neither of the two main parties won a majority that would give them a clear mandate to govern. It simply isn’t that clear-cut.

The Conservatives got the most votes and won the most parliamentary seats. Labour made the biggest gains. Under the present system, the largest party is given a crack at forming a government (more on this another time). But it should not be forgotten that Theresa May called the election in order to increase her majority and ended up pissing it away completely. The Tories lost 13 seats. Labour, on the other hand, gained 30.

What we’re left with is a government in turmoil, headed by a zombie Prime Minister despised even by her own party, with no majority and no mandate to pursue the draconian policies that lost her the slim majority she did have. So bad are things, in fact, that the only hope for the Conservative party (apparently so proud of their record on LGBT+ rights) is to attempt to crawl into bed with the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

Ah, the DUP; a party that is anti-LGBT+ and anti-abortion, that has proven and lasting links with UDA paramilitaries. It’s a tired irony already, but the very same Tory party that attacked the idea of a Labour government as being “a coalition of chaos, propped up by terrorist sympathisers” is now wholly reliant on the very same configuration if they hope to pass a single thing in their manifesto.

CORBYN

So where from here? Well, I would put money on there being another general election within 12 months. I’ve predicted it’ll be sooner than many think; my guess is we’ll go to the polls again on October 5th this year. May is, to borrow a phrase from George Osborne, a dead woman walking. She simply cannot last as PM. Polling shows that there isn’t anyone in her party in a strong enough position to replace her.

It really has been an extraordinary weekend, politically. Labour appears stronger than ever and has overtaken the Conservative party in the polls for the first time in I don’t know how long. Conversely, the Tories are a mess. They announced a confidence and supply deal with the DUP, only for the DUP to issue a statement that no such deal had yet been agreed. Then, a first, it was announced that the Queen’s Speech was to be delayed.

On top of that, there has been talk of Brexit negotiation delays, public criticism of the party leadership by Conservative ministers and a tangible shift in tone from news organisations – even those who cheered for a Tory win – which can no longer ignore the fact that May and her party are proving themselves incompetent, ignorant and unwilling to accept reality. Indeed, it took May a whole day to even reference the election result!

I haven’t been able to concisely sum up this election because the story is developing every minute. I planned a neat conclusion to a messy election and have resigned myself to the fact that this post is Part One of many to come. By the time you read this, things may well be very different. Who knows? Maybe we have a Labour minority government now (again, I’ll talk about this another time). Maybe we’ll have PM Boris at No10.

So until we know more I can say little more about the result. Of the campaign, however, I can say that Labour played a blinder and the Tories were left looking not only shambolic but the complete opposite of what they were asking us to believe: They were not and are not Strong or Stable. This, I believe, is to be their downfall. A desperate deal with the DUP will not be enough to save the Tories from the reckoning ahead.

Vote Labour On June 8th

jeremy-corbyn-mp

On June 8th the British public will go to the polls to vote on who form the next government of the United Kingdom. The Conservative party has spent the last seven years hammering the country with ideologically-imposed austerity in the form of savage cuts to public services. The Tories ask us to trust them with our economy, but they have borrowed more since 2010 than every Labour government in history, combined. They bang on about reducing the deficit but have managed to treble the national debt. In their election manifesto, they offer only more of the same; cuts upon cuts, but deeper and more targeted than ever before. For a party that has relied on the votes of the elderly for decades, their attacks on pensioners show either an unbelievable arrogance (‘They’ll vote for us anyway so we can do what we like!’) or an unforgivable incompetence (‘We’re too stupid to realise we’re damaging our chances, here!’). Neither is a good thing for a government to be. Theresa May will have you believe she is ‘Strong And Stable’ but she has proven throughout the campaign that she is anything but. Britain deserves better.

By contrast, the Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn is offering a manifesto ‘For The Many, Not The Few’. With proposed tax increases for the richest five percent of earners (if you earn less than £80,000 a year you will not pay a penny more in tax) and a return to 2011-levels of Corporation Tax, Labour has a fully-costed and independently checked plan to fund Britain’s future. With Brexit looming and a Conservative party that believes No Deal would be an acceptable outcome of the negotiations with the EU, Labour promises that its Brexit team – headed up by Keir Starmer QC – will assure the very best deal possible for Britain. Thanks to the higher Corporation Tax rates and the fact that the richest among us will be asked to pay a little more, Labour is able to offer fully-costed plans to scrap University Tuition Fees, provide free school meals for every Primary School child in the country and work towards creating a National Care Service to work alongside our National Health Service (which, by the way, will receive billions in extra funding). The Labour and Tory manifestos are as different as chalk and cheese.

I have been characteristically vocal about the choice on offer, online and ‘in real life’. I don’t believe the country has ever had a more graspable opportunity to make a real change in the way things are in this country. Without Jeremy Corbyn, we would never have the manifesto Labour has offered up – a manifesto that was agreed upon, democratically, by all wings of the party. The polls – if you dare believe them – show that Labour, behind the Tories by a massive twenty-nine percent when the election was announced, are now only six points behind (one or two polls have Labour trailing by only three percentage points). People are loving Labour’s policies and, whatever you think of the leader, are now seeing that a Labour government is what this country sorely needs. It is for this reason – the fabulous manifesto, the hopeful message and, in my opinion, their outstanding and refreshingly compassionate leader – I will be voting Labour on June 8th. I would urge you to do the same. If you already plan to vote as I do, please get on the phone to your friends and relatives, have conversations and change minds!

It’s never been more important to set aside personal grudges and come together as a united front against the Tories. If you’re usually a Green voter and the party has graciously decided not to stand a candidate in your constituency, they’ve done so for one reason and one reason only: to assure the party best-placed to beat the Tories in that seat get the most support possible. Please, vote Labour. If you’re a Liberal Democrat voter historically, but they’re coming fourth or fifth in your constituency then vote Labour. Please do all you can to assure not just that Labour can win but that the Tories lose seats. If on June 9th we wake to the news that the Tories have lost out on the majority they so desperately need and that Labour is seeking to form a government then I will cry. I’ll cry if we lose, too. Whatever happens on the morning of June 9th, I’ll be crying; that much is for sure.

We have a week. Just one week. Get out there, start chatting to people, contact your local Labour office and volunteer to knock doors or deliver leaflets! Do all you can to help Labour win this election. It’s not going to be easy to do, but we can do this. Don’t give up, but also don’t get complacent. Take nothing for granted and always remember that we are fighting for every single vote. Hope is a wonderful thing to have when it comes to inspiring us to do more, but be prepared for any outcome. And think of it like this: Even if Labour does lose this election, even if the Tories bafflingly get reelected, the upward surge in the polls, the narrative-changing policy, the excitement we are feeling in the air (and it’s there! You can feel something in the air!) is all to do with the Left. We were told Jeremy couldn’t win the leadership because he was too left wing. Then he won. We were told after he was challenged again, that he was more unelectable than the first time. Then he won again, with an increased majority. They’ve told us all along that the left cannot win this election. If they are right, at least we know we’re up to the fight. June 9th isn’t the end of anything, except hopefully the Tories. June 9th can be the very beginning of the end of the status quo. ‘Things can, and they will change’ as the man himself said.

So vote Labour on June 8th and let’s elect a government for the many, not the few.