Within hours of the launch of the Tory manifesto, the Conservative lead over Labour in the polls was slashed by half. The Tories are in a crisis over their “dementia tax” bombshell, which is a direct attack on the aged and sick, the most vulnerable sections of society. Another manifesto pledge, to axe free school lunches, provoked widespread uproar after a report found it could hit 900,000 pupils. Out of desperation, there has been a feeble attempted U-turn on the “dementia tax”, with promises of some kind of cap. But this is too little too late. Welcome back to the Nasty Party!
The political ground has begun to shift. Consequently, within a single week, Labour’s support jumped by 8 percentage points. With the polls narrowing, Labour has everything to play for. This has set the “nerves jangling in Tory high command”, says the Tory-supporting Sunday Times.
A minister said May should “quickly change the subject from the manifesto — a lot of which is a kick in the teeth for voters”.
The now rattled “stable and strong” Theresa May herself tweeted: “If I lose just six seats I will lose this election.”
Labour gathers momentum
The Sunday Times admitted: “Labour’s standing is at its highest since the last general election, suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn’s unashamed socialist pitch is connecting with a growing number of voters.”
Absolutely spot on. Labour has at last got wind in its sails.
“For the first time in my life, we are beginning to hear policies that resonate with our daily lives”, said Stan Webster, a retired teacher from Wigan, who attended a Corbyn rally along with his wife.
This captures the real excitement that has been generated by Labour’s most left-wing manifesto for generations. Young people, in particular, have been enthused and are signing up in droves to vote for Corbyn’s Labour.
The abolition of tuition fees; renationalisation of rail, mail, water and intervention in the utilities; a £10 an hour minimum wage; 100,000 new council houses a year; more bank holidays; an end to zero-hour contracts: all these and much more will certainly transform the lives of millions of people.
In the build up to election day, Labour’s campaign to boot out the Tories is certainly gathering momentum.
Labour’s enemies are clearly alarmed about what is being offered. According to the Financial Times, the mouthpiece of finance capital, “The leaked manifesto confirms they want a socialist revolution…” Although that would be very welcome, Labour is certainly offering, if not a socialist revolution, a radical alternative and a clean break from the Blair & Brown years of so-called New Labour.
Cutting through the lies
The vicious campaign by the Tory media and press against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour is not surprising. The newspapers are owned by tax-avoiding billionaires and will always back the establishment. However, their attacks are losing their effect and Labour’s message is getting through to more and more people.
Despite a concerted and coordinated effort by the Tories, the right-wing press, and the Blairites to discredit Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader and his campaign are cutting through the web of lies and slanders by appealing directly to workers and youth on the basis of mass rallies and a bold and radical programme.
As Socialist Appeal has suggested from the start, a left-wing programme involving mass meetings and mass grassroots campaigning is the way forward. This is the only way to circumvent the Tory media and speak directly to workers and youth.
The effect has been amazing. Everywhere Jeremy has gone he has been met by mass crowds of thousands and growing enthusiasm. In Leeds, for example, despite the rain, more than 3,000 gathered expectantly outside of a workers’ social club, filling the building, the carpark and the road outside for hundreds of metres, all to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak. Spectacularly, they came together at only one day’s notice, with the news spread by word of mouth. On a beach in West Derby, an astonishing 5,000 people turned out to hear Corbyn.
A highlight was Corbyn addressing a concert at the Tranmere Rovers’ football ground, where he attacked the wealth of the Premier League clubs. In response, the Labour leader was greeted with a rock star’s reception, with cheering from the rafters and the crowd chanting his name.
The audience was overwhelmingly of youth and students. This is a real testament to the radicalisation of young people, who are sick and tired of business-as-usual, and desperate for a break with the status quo.
It is therefore no accident that nearly 1.5 million young people (under 35s) have registered to vote, not to mention the mass of grassroots campaigners going door-to-door on the streets.
We are within striking distance of defeating the Tories and electing the most left-wing Labour government in generations. We must go all-out to win this election.
Vote for Labour! Fight for socialism!
Jeremy Corbyn’s critics on the right-wing of the Labour Party have been largely silenced. They are currently keeping their heads down. But behind the scenes they have not given up their plan to remove Corbyn and bring back Blairism.
Simon Heffer, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, recently revealed that old Blairites were gathering support and money to organise right-wing Labour MPs as a separate party in parliament, or even to split away. Even Tony Blair has hinted he will lead it. “The breakaway will come, and it will be far more seismic than the formation of the SDP in 1981”, states Heffer. “But it will have to come soon, if a reformed, moderate party is to have any chance of being credible by 2022.”
Whatever happens on 8th June, we have unfinished business in clearing out the Blairite careerists and transforming the Labour Party into a real socialist party.
We need to learn the lessons of the past. If we are going to overcome the sabotage that will face a Labour government and generate the resources needed to carry through Labour’s programme fully, we will need to put an end to this rigged capitalist economy.
You can’t plan what you don’t control and you don’t control what you don’t own. A Labour government must take over the commanding heights of the economy, the major monopolies and banks, under workers’ control and management. We should not compensate these parasites who have bled us dry. We must introduce a socialist plan of production that will raise living standards and generate the wealth that will pay for the reforms that are badly needed. There is no other road for the workers and youth of Britain.
Such a socialist transformation would be a beacon to workers everywhere to follow suit.
In the meantime, we must ratchet up the campaign against the Tories, mobilising and organising the strength of the entire Corbyn movement in order to deliver a mortal blow to May and her billionaire government.
Kick out the Tories!
Fight for socialism!