Socialist Worker

Labour can win - if it comes out fighting

Issue No. 2554

Jeremy Corbyn meets enthusiastic supporters in Sheffield

Jeremy Corbyn meets enthusiastic supporters in Sheffield (Pic: Neil Terry)


Can Jeremy Corbyn lead the Labour Party to victory in the general election? The opinion polls, never to be relied upon, show some interesting shifts.

Labour has been polling in some recent polls at 31 to 32 percent, a higher vote than the 30.4 percent Labour achieved under Ed Miliband in 2015.

Miliband secured more votes in England than Tony Blair in 2005 and Gordon Brown in 2010.

So Corbyn is on course to win more Labour votes south of the border than Labour has had in the last three general elections.

But the polls also show the Tories far ahead, mainly due to the collapse of Ukip.

Anger

However, whenever Theresa May is forced to meet ordinary people instead of party staffers, she comes face to face with the deep-seated anger at austerity.

Cathy Mohan summed up how many people feel when she confronted May on disability benefit cuts in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on Monday.

“The fat cats keep all the money and us lot get nothing,” she said.

That’s why Corbyn’s pledges to squeeze the fat cats and take back our public services are popular.

Two polls last week showed overwhelming support for left wing policies in Labour’s manifesto —such as rail renationalisation.

These sorts of radical policies have boosted Labour members and supporters, and have the potential to inspire voters.

But elections aren’t simply won through barrages of press releases, or even on the doorstep.

The wider mood in society matters, and Corbyn needs to continue to shape it.

Working class people have been shafted by politicians in the pocket of big business. Theresa May wants to pull their anger in a right wing direction and scapegoat migrants.

But a campaign of mass rallies and mobilisations, led by Corbyn, could pull that anger to the left.

Launching Labour’s campaign, he declared “I don’t play by their rules and a Labour government won’t by their rules.”

Radical

He was absolutely right—now he needs to stick to it. One phrase from Tuesday’s manifesto launch was that Labour would be “radical and responsible”.

But moderation is the enemy. Corbyn needs to go for broke.

We saw a glimpse of what’s needed in Leeds, where thousands joined a Labour rally on Monday.

Reminiscent of the Labour leadership rallies, it was young, angry and showed that a number of people have been radicalised.

If Corbyn announced a programme of mass rallies across Britain and advertised them widely, it could shift the political situation.

They could be linked to local campaigns against school funding cuts or protests for the NHS.

Such an insurgent campaign could boost Corbyn’s support—and strengthen the movement to take the fight to the Tories.


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What We Think
Wed 17 May 2017, 11:15 BST
Issue No. 2554
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