Yesterday’s (18th April) announcement by prime minister Theresa May that there will be a snap general election (GE) to be held on June 8th may have come as a surprise – but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that in just 6 weeks time we could have a completely new government – one that for the first time in over 30 years would actually give us the opportunity to kill austerity and stop neo-liberal beast. The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has reacted enthusiastically saying that he welcomes the challenge and looks forward to the upcoming contest.
Just the fact that this election is the first in my lifetime that actually seems to offer some difference in terms of policy with regards to the two major parties, is itself, significant. We are currently witnessing the death of the centrist politics orthodoxy that has held for so long in western politics — people all over are sick of the centrist system, one in which there are no real choices: for so many years we have not had the choice to vote against the banks, against the privatisation of the NHS, against the dismantling of the welfare state, against huge corporations, against war, against poverty, against everything that as a population we have become sick of: in short against the establishment itself.
This hatred of the centrist status quo has recently expressed itself in various forms across the west: from Brexit to Sander’s and Trump in the US to the unexpected rise of the socialist candidate in the upcoming French elections, we are seeing the (supposedly) unpredictable destruction of centrist politics — it may not seem like it right now, but this state of affairs is the new normal — and may well lead to the election of Corbyn as PM. This seems unthinkable — a glance at any of the polls tells you that it is — yet given the crumbling of the establishment — a crumbling which the political elites themselves fail to acknowledge the existence of — we should all seriously start to think about the “unthinkable.”
For once the unthinkable isn’t a bad thing, it actually offers some hope and optimism for the future.
May’s Ambush: Her Victory Is Not Certain — Her Endless Lying & Tory Brutality Is
May’s announcement has been described as “shrewd” and “clever’ and “calculated” perhaps in some ways this is true, but in many ways this is just classic Theresa May, continuing her long and proud record of being a bare-faced liar.
Of course, it wasn’t so long ago that May totally ruled out calling a snap general election — then she announced one yesterday. Furthermore, it will have to be conducted in the space of fewer than two months. The GE falls just after the council elections, meaning that many of the smaller parties will have their resources completely depleted.
This isn’t so much a “shrewd” and “clever” move as the equivalent of being hit with a plank of wood on the back of the head by your opponent after the ref has called time out during a boxing match, and you’re on your way back to the ring corner.
May has demonstrated that she’s just an out and out liar on so many occasions, that it doesn’t bear paying attention to anymore — that’s just what she does — her hubris being what it is, means that she has no problem starting her “campaign” after recently lying about the fact she wouldn’t call a snap GE in the first place.
Furthermore, we have the fact that the Tories are currently being investigated for election fraud from the last GE in 2015 — you couldn’t make this up, could you? — it is a farce that shows just how little the Tories care about anything other than winning and subjecting us all like medieval serfs to their unquestionable rule.
Furthermore, May — in the grand tradition of her predecessor Cameron is also refusing to take part in TV debates — the Tories sure hate debating don’t they? All of this would seem to indicate that they show nothing other than complete disdain and contempt for the electorate — but that could never be the case, could it? Afterall it’s not like the Tories act as if they have some divine right to rule over us, is it?
We are told endlessly — and this is evidenced by consistent polling — that May is a boundlessly popular politician when compared to her competition: Corbyn. It seems then that her victory is assured.
Corbyn is not just fighting against the Tories, he is also fighting against the majority of the establishment, including the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) many of whom clearly hate him, and have made it clear that they will do anything to stop Corbyn. The mainstream media itself — almost uniformly from left to right has also decided that Corbyn needs to go. It seems then that all these forces are going to combine to finally deal the final blow to Corbyn — this illustrates just how hard the fight will be. The deck could literally not be more loaded in favor of the Tories — hence May’s smug self-assured hubris.
Yet, I don’t think May should feel quite so self-assured about her victory, and nor should the establishment such as the mainstream media. By treating her victory as if it is a certainty she is making a huge mistake, and failing to learn from the recent lesson that led to Hillary Clinton losing the US GE. People are not in the mood for being dictated to by self-assured, arrogant and smug political elites at the moment — and polling is not always a reliable predictor of how this will be translated at the ballot box.
The establishment made exactly the same mistake with Brexit, treating it is as if the remain vote was a certainty. It was on this very blog that I predicted that leave would win — on the basis of the fact they were spending more money, and putting more effort into it — well, we all know how both of those events turned out….
The POLLS Spell Doom For Corbyn & Labour — Do They?
A closer look at the polls reveals that the actual gap between Labour and the Conservatives is around 10 points, with many people being undecided voters, and many saying they wouldn’t vote — so that’s quite a lot of people who could go either way.
This is important because that gap can be closed, combine this with the unpredictability of the current climate and May’s victory is far from certain. During the US election, Clinton had a lead of up to 15 points — the day that the US went to the polls the Huffington Post famously declared that Clinton had a 98% chance of winning — a done deal — well, apparently the electorate had different ideas.
But then we get to the crux of the matter — the source of May’s confidence and hubris — according to the polls she tramples Corbyn in terms of who would make the best PM. May is, of course, still riding her honeymoon period, which is likely why she called the GE when she did.
It’s hard to know how to interpret this finding — beyond the honeymoon period, and the fact that Corbyn’s message just doesn’t get out there.
The truth is, unfortunately, the general public doesn’t spend hours writing and researching the ins and outs of politics — mainly because they don’t have the time — they rely on the mainstream media to inform them — and so as a result, much of what I report, and other similar sites do — simply isn’t part of common knowledge.
None the less though, I really do wonder: who are these avid Theresa May fans? I’ve never heard anybody say they like her — I suspect though it’s more about going with what you know, as opposed to Corbyn who is seen as a risk, or the unknown. Whatever the reason, that’s how it is according to the polls, so treat it for what it is. The lesson: clearly more work needs to be done.
As we move into the key policy areas we can see that Labour has some chance of gaining ground in this election — we can see that Labour are more trusted than the Tories with the NHS — we all know about the crisis in the NHS at the moment. This crisis is so widespread that it is also hitting middle England (the Tory heartland) with the closure of hospitals, increasing mortality rates linked to austerity, and the fact that the medical profession itself is now taking on the Tories.
Junior Drs going on strike, an uproar from the profession over the pay freeze inflicted on them by the Tories and a plethora of other ways which the Tories are currently being fought by the medical profession. Nurses using food banks and forced to take out payday loans — the removal of the nursing bursary, all of these things have an impact on the way that people view the Tories: the NHS really is the hot topic of the day — the crisis will clearly not be solved by the Tories who clearly want to privatise our healthcare system — and the British people know that the Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS.
We can also see that Labour is more trusted when it comes to housing – again the ongoing housing crisis affects so many people that this could also translate into support for Corbyn’s Labour. The housing crisis, of course, affects not just those who are homeless (homelessness levels are now the same as they were during Victorian times thanks to the Tories). The housing crisis also hits middle England as their children are also unable to move out and buy their own homes.
The polling also shows that Labour follows the Tories closely when it comes to another key area: education.
Where Labour really fail to gain the trust of the electorate is on issues like the economy, taxation, immigration and law, and order, according to the polls.
This is a testament to the power of the propaganda system above the achievement and record of the Tories on each of those issues. And the fact that Labour — under Corbyn too – has failed to, for instance, make it clear that Labour did not cause the current financial crisis by overspending — this is a real problem.
The fact that this narrative doesn’t even make sense should mean that the left would find it easy to kill — unfortunately, things are never that simple: nobody is even claiming that government spending caused the financial crisis except the Tories — everybody else acknowledges it was the banks, hence why they had to be bailed out by the taxpayer (a decision undertaken by Labour, but it’s hard to imagine a Conservative government making a different decision) to the tune of billions of pounds, thus adding to government debt — not the narrative that the Tories have been getting away with peddling for so long now.
This was, of course, and still, continues to be used as a way to justify austerity/ spending cuts. Austerity is by now a completely discredited form of economics, even the IMF agrees, as does the mainstream economic profession. Not only this, but we can see it doesn’t work right in front of our eyes: government debt has increased by billions and billions since austerity started — by 2020 it is estimated that the Tories will have racked up more government debt than every Labour government combined. Wages have fallen since 2008 — after a brief “recovery” they again fell in real terms again, this is due to austerity. We rank just above Greece in terms of wage growth since the 2008 financial crisis — this barely mentioned fact should’ve been headline news — of course, it wasn’t — instead, the mainstream media prefers to blame inflation, rather than austerity.
Public sector pay freezes which have been on-going and will continue as long as the Tories are in have had the effect that everybody sane said they would — they not only mean that public sector workers get poorer, as they cannot even keep up with inflation which is at very low levels — the pay-freezes also have a knock-on effect on the private sector, which is now rife with low insecure pay, and so-called self-employment.
Companies like Deliveroo and Uber lead this economy — what is now defined as employment can literally mean anything. Any number of hours, doing anything, anywhere with absolutely no guarantee of an income, or work, and prospects of saving for the future, or putting down a deposit for a house — this is the effect of all of the Tories austerity policies. This is why the so-called impressive employment figures that the Tories keep boasting about essentially mean nothing — what is employment defined as? Take a look and it all makes sense.
May and Hammond’s plan to cut corporation tax to 17% by 2020 (the lowest in the G20) is actually not as bad as her original suggestion of cutting it to 15% — a rate so low that even business leaders warned against it.
Away from the fairy tale rhetoric about this creating jobs, and making Britain a leader in competition or whatever rhetorical nonsense the Tories are spouting about this – the truth is this does nothing to help the economy or increase useful and productive investment.
Corporations — motivated solely by profit — sit on the extra profits they gain rather than re-investing it — this sh*t should be obvious, and yet for some reason, people still buy into it. There is a reason that corporate profits are at all time high, government debt is increasing, and social spending is decreasing — and this certainly isn’t helped by austerity and corporate tax cuts.
This is the reality of austerity: I can only assume the reason people think the Tories are good for the economy is because they either don’t know the reality, don’t want to know it, or are part of the 1% themselves.
The facts don’t lie, this isn’t about Labour or the Tories, they are simply the facts of the matter.
Whilst offering these tax cuts to billionaires and corporations the Tories then transfer the cost onto everybody else — through indirect, and direct taxes. They simply shift the tax burden away from those who have all the money and put it onto everybody else – again including middle England.
Law and order — another area where the Tories are supposedly trusted more than Labour — in reality, this just doesn’t make sense. The prison system is crumbling with both staff and inmates suffering — the recent prison riots being a testament to this. The use of fraudulent companies like G4S (one of the biggest welfare leeches in the country) making the situation all the worse. Of course, as well as this the police have also been at the end of the austerity knife — causing fears about the safety of the public and, of course, the police themselves.
I don’t know how they get away with this — all I can say is how often does the mainstream media ever question the Tories on the record on any of this? They report the problems (sort of) but fail to ever link it to the political choices made by this government. If they did then perhaps we would see a change in attitudes — Corbyn needs to amplify this message, this reality as we all should — not just to defeat the Tories, but because people deserve to know that they are taken for a MUG by this government.
The impact of austerity is felt much wider than people realise. The narrative is that it’s just about benefits, and a little bit of necessary pain here and there: the reality is very different — unless you’re at the very top of the income scale austerity will have negatively affected you, someone you know, your community, etc. If you’re the top it will still have impacted you — positively.
If you’re a GP who hasn’t had a real pay rise since the Tories came into power — just think about why that is — if your children can’t afford to buy a house and are living with you — think about why this happening — just think about it.
Corbyn’s Victories — Ignored & Dismissed By The Establishment
Contrary to the mainstream narrative Labour has performed quite well under Corbyn — including securing and increasing the Labour vote share in many areas.
Business Insider pointed out the fact that The Tories lost more seats than Labour during the last local elections, with Labour making significant vote gains.
Labour also — very surprisingly — won seats in the City of London local election — the City of London voting for Labour — really?
And then we have the by-election results — which show — aside from the Copeland loss — that Labour has not only held onto but gained support.
Mixed Picture — Let’s Take It To The Tories
All in all, then this election is nowhere as clear cut as it first appears — it is in this spirit that we must make the most of the chance to get rid of the Tories before 2020 — a whole 3 years earlier than expected!
The Tories have decimated our country — millions more living in poverty — nearly a million more children living in poverty due to the Tories — children returning back to school after the holidays suffering from malnutrition — the return of diseases not seen since the victorian age — the humiliating rise and use of food banks — the thousands who have died as result of the DWP — the 100’s (probably more) who have killed themselves because of so-called welfare reform. Schools which are being defunded and run into the ground — parents now expected to pay for their child’s education — teacher’s threatening to go on strike over SATS tests — hospitals being closed — hospitals without enough trollies — pay frozen for all eternity — decreasing living standards with no end in sight — a banking sector which runs this country and decides government policy, leaving the rest of us to rot.
Our own chancellor personally benefitted from his own budget because of his business interests. These people literally take the p*ss out of us — is this not the kind of thing we associate with corrupt third world dictatorships? Election fraud, cutting business tax to benefit your own business, handouts to billionaire and the top 1% — we should feel such a deep shame that these people are anywhere near power, let alone in power.
The list is endless of atrocities is endless.
Is this what you want from your country?
Given this web of evil and chaos weaved and created by the Tories you would think that voting for an alternative would be a no-brainer — yet still May’s hubris shines through, supported as she is by the majority of the establishment who will be happy to sacrifice the rest of us — just to make sure they kill of Corbyn once and for all.
We are told without real reason that Corbyn is unelectable — this is a testament to an establishment mindset that has decided that political elites who proceed over the decimation of our own country are inherently electable — and those who challenge it and fight for the people are not.
Optimism — Snap Election Is Bringing The Left Together
One of the optimistic developments springing forth from May’s announcement is that Labour supporters are being brought together as opposed to fighting among themselves about whether or not Corbyn should be the leader — this is one of the best aspects of the snap GE – a chance to settle the ongoing infighting (for now).
The PLP itself, of course, will not unite behind Corbyn, and neither — in all likelihood — with the so-called left establishment media — such as the Guardian — who may make some limp wristed arguments as to why people should support Corbyn at the polls — no doubt they will be centred mainly around the fact that if he wins they can get rid of him shortly afterwards, or something like that — who knows.
In a way then the GE is quite welcome — sink or swim time — most in the establishment expect Corbyn’s Labour to sink and are willing, gleefully for it to happen. Those who actually have some sort of moral fiber need to realize that if Corbyn sinks he takes down the future of the NHS with him (at least for the short term) and the myriad of other consequences this will have that will damage our country — including Brexit — who’s Brexit would they rather have? May’s or Corbyn’s?
The Death Of The Center — The Future Fight Against Austerity & Neo-Liberalism
Whether or not Corbyn wins the fundamental nature of centrist politics is falling apart — that doesn’t stop just if Corbyn loses the next general election. Everywhere we look we see the same thing happening. This makes the current political climate unpredictable, not just now, but well into the future.
The future is in reality in the hands not of the baby boomers, or the gray vote much relied on by the Tories to win — but in the hands of the young: those of us who have grown up entirely under the neo-liberal system, those who want something more than this eternal misery.
We are also the ones leading the fightback against the neo-liberal assault — from Sander’s supporters in the US, to Corbyn’s here: it is no accident that these old school new deal style socialists gain the support of the young: it’s the first time in our lives that anybody has actually challenged the neo-liberal orthodoxy.
Therefore it follows that eventually, our generation will take over, and therefore we have the greatest chance of actually ending this nightmare. Whether it be through Corbyn, or means yet to be realized.
For now though, let’s all focus on the fight ahead — focus on the issues that are tearing this country apart, and make it clear that we want more than the scraps and torment the Tories give us year after year.
The sad thing is we’ve been conditioned into believing there is no alternative — this isn’t true, nor was it ever, and now is the chance to demonstrate that.
In the words of the hip-hop wisdom dropping group the Roots “it’s now or never”.
Let’s choose now.
WATCH — Corbyn pummels May over her refusal to take part in TV debates, and her consistent track record of bare faced lying.