One of the few bright notes in today’s world is the amazing progress the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labour Party has made in the present election campaign there. He is reawakening the old radical, working class traditions of that Party. Workers in the US need a similar mass, working class party.
Below, John Dunn, former coal miner, reports from Britain on the upcoming general election there.
RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE GENERAL ELECTION
When the Tories called a surprise general election they thought it was there for the taking. With polls showing massive 20% leads over labour and the Corbyn leadership still under fire and constant sabotage from the mass of right wing mps the idea was blindingly obvious, snap election, increase the majority massively and hope to remove Corbyn as leader.
So was born a media blitz of the need for a ‘Strong and Stable’ government to steer Britain through the Brexit negotiations as part of a choreographed media campaign, mainly consisting of Prime Minister Teresa May touring hand picked workplaces, kept secret until the last minute, speaking to an audience bussed in for the occasion.
No surprise that the Tories chose this type of strategy, after all for the last 30+ years this was how campaigns by all parties had been conducted – no real politics, soundbites, photo ops and smears against opponents, was all that was necessary.
Corbyn Campaign Hits the Streets
That tactic was rapidly exposed when Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour campaign literally hit the streets. A radical manifesto aimed at lowering the gap between rich and poor, with the slogan ‘For the many, not the few’ put, for the first time in decades, clear red water between Labour and the Tories. The gloves were off and a real campaign was under way.
Under pressure from the energy of the Corbyn campaign, and facing questions from a media now having to show signs of a slight impartiality, Teresa May has floundered. She looked rattled by questioning so much that she refused to take part in any debates or real public events, the strong and stable image melted away as, wherever she went demonstrator turned out at short notice taunting her as ‘Weak and Wobbly’.
In contrast Corbyn’s rallies attracted thousands spanning all generations and were vibrant and uplifting. A new mood of optimism started to develop amongst his supporters and, much to the dismay of his right wing MPs the polls started to narrow.
It is clear that consensus politics is now dead. Corbyn openly stated that the Labour Party is ‘Now an anti austerity party’ and that ‘the rich must pay their share’, the Tories can only pathetically respond with ‘There is no money tree…’ and resort to personal smears.
At the time of writing it is unclear how the election will pan out, but something has happened in British politics that I have not since our Great Miner’s Strike of 1984/5.
Totally gone is the same old, same old that turned so many people away, replaced by an energy and a willingness to challenge a, to quote Corbyn, ‘rigged system’.
Not the End of Story
This new found energy is one that, I believe, will carry on long after the election is over. People have been given a glimpse of a real alternative and, win or lose, the battle has been joined
A working class, downtrodden, battered for 30+ years unable due to the loss of manufacturing and heavy industry is starting to find a collective voice. The Labour Party now has over 600,000 members, ok so they have not yet become active to any great degree but they are a force gathering for the fight.
That fight is for a future, our future.