Corbyn can win this - Shabbir Lakha gives six reasons why
There are several reasons why I think Labour under Jeremy Corbyn have a real chance of winning the General Election on June 8th:
1. The manifesto is very popular. Polls show that a majority of the population support key policies Labour is proposing, such as renationalising the railways, increasing the top rate of tax, scrapping tuition fees, rent controls, opposing foreign intervention in Syria and even serious commitment to multilateral disarmament of nuclear weapons. Buzzfeed's social media analysis shows that between 11th and 18th May, Labour's manifesto was the most shared election-related link and that it is likely to be the most read election manifesto ever. Theresa May wanted this to be a repeat of last year’s EU referendum, but the NHS has just overtaken Brexit as the number one issue in this election. The ball’s in Jeremy’s court.
2. As well as the policies being popular, there is a very stark difference between what Labour and the Conservatives are offering – which counters the growing trend of apathy towards general elections. Labour’s election program under Ed Miliband was close enough to the Tories to be dubbed “austerity-lite” and so unimaginative that a significant reason people didn’t want to vote for him was because he backstabbed his brother. Under Jeremy, it’s all about the policies and provides a distinguishable alternative.
3. Over the last two years, people have become far more political. Since the Tories won in 2015, we’ve seen Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign(s), the EU referendum, and of course the US election which no one could keep their eye off. All of this has meant that people are far more aware of what is going on and far more involved in some sort of political activity. Political pundits have pointed to the 15 million people that did not vote in 2015 as the game-changers that could see Labour win the election. What no one has bothered to point out is that a large chunk of these people are now registered/politically involved. Voter turnout in the 2015 election was 66.1%, in the EU referendum it was 72.2%. Voter turnout among 18-24 year olds doubled. Since the election was announced, over 2.8 million people have registered to vote of which 18-34 year olds make up 70%.
4. There are millions of people who have been directly affected by Tory cuts. The effects of the Tories’ first term in office really hit home after 2015. Between then and now there are millions of people who have faced benefit cuts and sanctions, cuts to public services they rely on, inability to take action against employers because of tribunal fees or to go to court because of the cuts to legal aid, extortionate rents, and the list goes on. There are millions of people working in or reliant on the NHS. There are millions of teachers unable to support their students and millions of parents watching their children’s education getting ruined. And they all have family and friends and colleagues. On the whole, these people are not going to be voting for the Tories.
5. Theresa May’s campaign has been abysmal. She’s hidden herself from the public, rallying only to activists in empty fields and warehouses after kicking out employees and locking up journalists. The rare occasion that she has been spotted, she’s been confronted by angry constituents/protesters. She’s refused to debate Jeremy Corbyn and all of her speeches and interviews up till this week consisted only of the words strong and stable. It has become clear that her entire campaign is to engage as little as possible and focus on smearing Jeremy Corbyn. She plans to bring back fox hunting – something that 84% of the population are against. And now there is the incredible u-turn over their horrible social care policy, which has caused mass outrage.
6. Lastly, is Jeremy Corbyn himself. No matter how much the right wing media try to smear Jeremy – and it seems to have become their entire purpose of existence – his reputation as a genuine and principled person cannot be tarnished. His rallies bring thousands of people onto the streets all across the country and even the grime industry has got on board. The half a million strong membership under his leadership are pooling their resources and out on the biggest people-powered campaign imaginable. And the movement is behind him. The movement that has been the driving force of change in this country is less divided than ever in its support for Jeremy Corbyn and willingness to do what it takes to get him elected.
Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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