Socialist Worker

As election day draws closer, shrinking poll gap reveals a radical path to Labour victory

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2556

Spring in their step - Labour activists leader Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail

Spring in their step - Labour activists join leader Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail (Pic: Neil Terry)

Ten days left to election day, and the result is more uncertain than ever. There’s a chance to shape the result against the arrogant Tories.

A slew of polls in newspapers yesterday, Sunday, had the Tory lead slipping to as little as 6 percentage points or as much as 14 percent.


The possibility that Jeremy Corbyn could be prime minister has rattled the financial markets. The Financial Times reported, “Sterling dropped 1.2 per cent to a one-month low” after polls showed a Labour resurgence.

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Whatever the precise figure, it’s clear that the Tories are not guaranteed a smooth run to a landslide and that further sharp changes are possible.

One voting analyst said, “What the polls are telling us is that seven, eight, nine million people flipped in the last ten days or so.”

It’s not hard to see what’s behind the slump in the Tory lead.

A popular Labour manifesto, a disastrous Tory one, an evasive and faltering campaign by Theresa May and an exuberant one from Corbyn have changed the atmosphere.

One Tory candidate told the Sunday Mirror that their campaign so far had been "a major cock-up" and "There might have to be a couple of people taken out and shot."

Commentator Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the Observer of Theresa May that, “The dreadful mess she got herself into over social care was a defining moment.”

When Corbyn is radical he wins support.

On Friday he said there was a connection between Britain’s wars abroad and terror attacks at home. That’s common sense to many people.

A YouGov poll showed “53 percent of Brits believe British foreign policy has been responsible, at least in part, for terrorism in the UK” with only 24 percent saying there was no connection.

So it was disappointing that Corbyn seemed hesitant about saying the same thing again during his interview with Andrew Neil.

And it’s not credible or helpful when shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said she no longer opposed the security services and had changed her position on Ireland since the 1980s. She said, "I don't have the same hairstyle, I don't have the same views."

Labour also pledged to recruit 1,000 more staff at the state security agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. That’s money that could be spent on socially useful services.


Corbyn was much better at the weekend confidently explaining why it’s right to tax the rich and big business.

Labour’s improvements in the polls highlights two shifts in particular. One is huge and increasing backing from young voters. The other is that people who haven’t previously thought it worth voting are now saying they will vote for Corbyn.

Both processes need Corbyn to stay radical and to go for broke. He needs more big rallies, more strong policy statements and more head-on attacks on the Tories.

Some of the Labour right say that “on the doorstep” it’s only possible to stabilise the vote by criticising Corbyn. But the surges in support have come when Labour is at its most “Corbynite”.

One activist in the north west of England says she told Labour canvasssers that she wanted a window poster for Corbyn, not the local right wing candidate. “You're the fifth person we've heard that from today,” they replied.

When it comes to beating the Tories, “moderation” and compromise are the enemy for Labour and fighting back is central.

The fight against racism and Islamophobia, recent mobilisations over the school cuts in England and the battle to defend the NHS are not a diversion from the election campaign. They are part of it, and lay the basis for more resistance and change whatever happens on 8 June.

Everyone on the left now has to play their role in building the fightback against the Tories, winning votes for Corbyn and Labour and further driving back the right.

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