The mainstream media's "facts" about this election are rapidly revealing themselves to be self-serving prejudices, notes Lindsey German
There is the growing sound of screeching U-turns everywhere, as it comes home to all too many people the polls are not going in the Tories direction. People who have told us that we've moved beyond traditional definitions of left and right are now finding that left and right are being reborn. Those who told us this election was going to be all about Brexit are having to think again. The parties who want to fight on this, like the Lib Dems and UKIP, are not doing well, while instead, Labour is gaining support by concentrating on issues like the NHS, tuition fees and schools dinners.
Those who told us that Jeremy Corbyn would become more unpopular the more people saw of him are now finding the opposite. Those who proclaimed that such big leads in the polls could not be overcome in a matter of weeks and that nothing is actually decided in election campaigns have been confounded.
The narrowing of the polls is sending all manner of experts and commentators into a frenzy, partly because everything that is happening should not be happening. There is even a possibility of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn winning an election and that certainly isn't meant to happen.
It is now clear, whatever the final result of the election, that Labour has gained support while the Tories have lost it over the course of the campaign. We should not necessarily predict victory from this - Labour is not so much eating into the Tories vote as gathering up votes from other smaller parties and those who didn't vote last time, including a lot of the young. But that it is happening at all is remarkable. And it is sending shivers down the spine of much of the establishment and ruling class in this country.
Two very interesting editorials yesterday: one in the Economist magazine, which despairs of both May and Corbyn, and calls for a vote for the Lib Dems. Not, it argues, because they will get anywhere this time but because they can become the core of a new centre party which will have splits from Labour and Tories, and which will be based on the 'neither left nor right' so beloved of Emmanuel Macron in France. Similarly, the London Evening Standard - with its front page splash: a poll putting Labour at 50% in London - has an editorial no doubt written by its new editor George Osborne, which admonishes Londoners for having the stupidity to vote Labour and which denounces Corbyn as a combination of dangerous, stupid and refusing to change his ideas. Its new heroine is Amber Rudd, presented as clever, brave and with a tender and sensitive side – the new woman for our times. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this stuff.
But they are deadly serious. The centre has collapsed before their eyes and most of those at the heart of British capitalism are desperate to resurrect it. They are in despair at May, and even more so at the thought of Corbyn's programme being implemented. What they should fear as well is what this has opened up in terms of people's hopes and expectations. We have already seen how popular the policies which tax the rich and give to the poor are. Whatever the result, millions of people will see these ideas as legitimate aspirations and they will want to achieve some of them. I think we will see an increase in struggles around work and in communities as people try to claw back a share of the wealth in society, which is being taken away from them.
This is all very bad news for Labour's right wing. I don't see Jeremy Corbyn going anywhere in terms of the leadership - he will stay on and try to shift the party further leftwards. We know many of the PLP are his implacable enemies (still publicly attacking him during an election campaign). We know too that some will refuse to support him and do as much damage to him as they can. The idea of a new centre party is already being talked about by people like Blair and Mandelson.
We don't know how things will shape up after the election, but we do know there will be bitter fights over all of this. The reassertion of right and left is leaving the centre at least temporarily without a significant home, as is the Brexit vote, which they oppose with all their hearts. But they will do everything they can to recreate something. So this election is about the future as well as the present, and the more votes Jeremy gets in the next week, the better we will be equipped to fight the right.
We've already voted on this thanks, Theresa
What on earth is Theresa May talking about? Vote Tory to reaffirm last year's referendum vote? Why, if it means schools hospitals, childcare, social care all get worse? If it gives the Tories five years to really screw up, privatise, force people into even worse jobs, cut benefits? This is her last argument. Even Tories don't like her policies.
She is losing support every day, so she is returning to the old argument, banging the drum about British sovereignty and blaming everything that goes wrong on perfidious foreigners and illegal immigrants. This obviously has some traction with some people, but lots of them were going to vote for her anyway. It ignores, however, what this election demonstrates clearly: that the Brexit vote was about lots of different things, and one reason Corbyn's gaining support is that he is providing answers to issues like health, education and housing.
Not Women's Hour, not even women's fifteen minutes
I know Jeremy Corbyn didn't have a great time on Women's Hour, but Empress Theresa is our woman Prime Minister and she can't even give them 15 minutes. Is she really so scared of talking to anyone? Maybe Amber Rudd could go on instead. She's obviously after the top job.
A little bit overrated?
We're told Sir Lynton Crosby is an election guru. That's how he got the knighthood after all. It seems to me he isn't doing so well. Who the hell thought up this election plan, after all? This isn't Crosby's first problem with an election. He was the genius behind the London mayoral election last year. His candidate, Zac Goldsmith, suffered a humiliating defeat, running a horrible right-wing racist campaign against the winning candidate, Labour's Sadiq Khan. It was classic dog whistle politics - except that there was no dog. I'm not sure he knows what to do when he has to get out of the gutter and fight on policies.
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
- No Platform: Free speech for all?
- Now it’s neither heat nor eat – weekly briefing
- Sexual violence, economic violence: why women still need our rights – weekly briefing
- Discontents for all seasons – weekly briefing
- The Pandora’s Box of 9/11 – weekly briefing
- Did the crime of 9/11 justify 20 years of the War on Terror? - video
- Stop the culture war against the old and unite against the Tories – weekly briefing