He joined Labour activists for mass rallies in the west of England in Swindon, Filton and Bradley Stoke, and Gloucester.
They followed a campaign launch that pitched the election as “a once in a generation chance to transform our country” and an opportunity “to take on the vested interests”.
“The big question in this election is whose side are you on?” Corbyn said. “Are you on the side of the tax dodgers who are taking us all for a ride?
“Or are you on the side of the children with special educational needs who aren’t getting the support they need because of Tory and Lib Dem cuts? Are you on the side of working people who create the wealth that’s then squirrelled away?”
Labour’s campaign also frames the election as a chance to transform society. Its new election slogan is “It’s time for real change.”
The election campaign has outraged right wingers, who are desperate to defend the rich.
Billionaire stockbroker Peter Hargreaves said, “Certainly the very, very wealthy people will consider leaving if you make it intolerable. People are petrified of him and what he might do.”
Josie Hills from law firm Pinsent Masons said their clients are worried that they can’t send their children to prestigious private schools if they leave the country. Right wing commentators accused Labour of attacking the aspiration of “hard working billionaires”.
And hated former prime minister Tony Blair said Corbyn’s attacks on the rich were “textbook populism, no more acceptable in the mouth of someone who calls themselves left wing than in the mouth of Donald Trump”.
He called for support for “moderate MPs” who will back remaining in the European Union (EU) and refuse to vote for Labour’s left wing policies in parliament.
Many Labour MPs would also have preferred to have made their election campaign about Brexit—with a pledge to remain in the EU.
But Corbyn—having made several concessions to the right over Europe over the past year—insisted Labour would not back Remain.
He also said the election should be a choice between the Tories who “give tax handouts to the wealthy few,” and Labour which will “spread wealth and power to the many”.
One Labour activist told Socialist Worker, “I don’t want to focus on Brexit. I want to focus on housing and the NHS.” Another said Labour can win if they “emphasise the Green New Deal, the renationalisation of public services and how we’ll properly fund the NHS”.
Following through on the tone of Labour’s campaign means going beyond large-scale canvassing.
There should be mass public rallies in every town and city that are demonstrations against years of Tory rule.
The central task is to create a class feeling around the election that can infuse the whole campaign with confidence and energy. That means campaigning everywhere—and encouraging strikes and other struggles during the election period.
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