General Election 2017: BELIEVE

After 7 long weeks of campaigning polling day is here. The Conservatives have suffered a weak and wobbly May, while Labour powered through into June. As polling commences, local party campaigners will be identifying their constituency vote and assigning members to get the vote out, Corbyn and May will be waiting eagerly after putting forward their final message to the electorate and we the people will make our final decision on who has won our vote.

The time is NOW, for a new progressive Britain for the many.

Where is the election campaign?

30th May. Uncle Corbyn.

Slow, the day after Paxman’s “Leaders Debate”. Corbyn’s appearance on the BBC’s The One Show brings the main highlight with a bland yet personable interview. Corbyn the everyday person rather than Corbyn the political leader. Corybn presents as the nice old man but there remains political depth in his answers, when not talking about manhole covers, jam or allotments. Most importantly Corbyn’s popularity rating increased after his appearance, where May’s decreased.

31st May. The great spin.

Corbyn’s first major gaffe of the campaign. Women’s hour presenter Emma Barnett nails Corbyn on policy pledge of universally free childcare. Corbyn unable to find his figures; appears incompetent and out of his depth for the first time of the campaign. Major blow.

The Second “Leaders Debate”. After continued pressure from the Labour party, May announces again on the day of the debate that she would not be taking part. In a further attempt to draw May into the arena, Corbyn announces that he will now take part in the BBCs debate. Corbyn continues to call for May to debate until an hour before going live. Positive spin for Labour and Corbyn which successfully distracts from his earlier gaffe.

The debate. With Corbyn’s personal ratings at its highest and YouGov polls released on the day cutting the Tory lead to 3 points (CON: 42% (-1) LAB: 39% (+3)), this was an incredibly bold move. A move of boom or bust for Corbyn. Corbyn the biggest fish in a pond of paedocypris. No Sturgeon. No May. Amber Rudd the Conservative Home Secretary (who’s father died 48 hours before the debate) the only near equal. It was expected that Rudd, Farron and Nuttal would attack Corbyn in an attempt to chip at his floating vote. However, the debate was a disorganised mess with the 6 party leaders unable to form an audible discussion. No major winners or losers here, although Rudd scores a point for the Tory campaign with “magic money tree” line.

Corbyn continues to receive big crowds across the country, the latest in Cambridge.

1st June. Relaunch and hide.

After Corbyn’s Radio 4 Women’s Hour grilling, May pulls out of all radio interviews, including her Radio 4 Women’s Hour debate. Having sent Amber Rudd for the televised leaders debate, May sends Justine Greening to deal with her Radio 4 commitments. May’s throttling of the people’s democratic right to scrutinise continues.

May and the Conservatives relaunch their campaign with 7 days left. But media questions show a change of narrative and expectations. May is questioned on if she would resign should she lose seats, while Emily Thornberry states there will be “No deals with the minor parties, we’ll put forward a Queens speech as a minority Government”. Confidence and expectations begin to swing further.

Labour announce their Brexit Team of QC Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner. The trio include experienced barristers in Starmer (30 years) and Thornberry (20 years), with Gardiner an experienced MP who has shown his wit and guile as the standout support act of Labour’s election campaign (with another outstanding display on BBCQT on the day).

2nd June. The final “Leaders Debate”

Quiet day with both May and Corbyn preparing for their final “Leaders Debate” on BBC Question Time.

NME magazine release Corbyn “WE OFFER HOPE” front cover, distributed across London.

After two years of mild to harsh reporting on the nature of Corbyn’s Labour leadership the Guardian comes out in support of Corbyn.

South Thanet Conservative MP Craig Mackinley charged over election expenses, UKIP came second in the 2015 election. Mackinley should have been disqualified before the vote but judicial process and Conservative Party backing means he will continue to stand.

YouGov release their 2017 election model results predicting that the Conservatives with 42% polling should gain 279-346 seats and Labour with 38% polling should gain 231-286 seats. Wide margins.

The BBC Question Time Debate. Theresa May’s most assured and relaxed TV performance of the campaign. She finally looked and spoke like a Conservative politician. 45 minutes with no gaffes, a confident and calm display except for when question on social care and mental health cuts. May hijacks Amber Rudd’s “magic money tree” line in an attempt to attack Labour spending plans.

Mayhem. May suggests that she would accept no deal with Europe, although this hardline stance may appeal to many Eurosceptics who wish to enter Brexit negotiations with a firm hand, in reality no deal with Europe will lead to utter mayhem. No deal with Europe means the UK will be force to enter individual negotiations with all remaining 28 EU states, this would mean a series of Bilateral treaties which could take years to agree with 28 individually operating states. For a country whose main sector is Banking services, with farming and produce formerly subsidised by the EU Common Agricultural Policy, we require trade with Europe, to eat.

Corbyn was equally strong and confident, however the common themes of support for the IRA (unfounded) and failure to wholeheartedly support Trident returned (although the Labour manifesto pledges full renewal [the same as the Tories]).

3rd June. London Bridge Terror Attack.

The 3rd terror attack in the space of 3 months. Manchester’s show of solidarity and resilience had inspired the nation, the continuation of campaigning and life as normal demonstrated terrorist cowardice would not inhibit the nation.

On the day of the attack Survation polled CON: 40% (-6), LAB: 39% (+5). Was this Labour’s final push in the last week of campaigning? Labour events went ahead across the country, with a Grime4Corbyn rally in Tottenham attracting crowds and artists.

The attack. Three men, One van, Three 12” knives. Leaving 8 dead, 48 injured and 21 in critical condition. A senseless, vile and disgusting attack on humanity. The response of the police and emergency services who reacted within 8 minutes was admirable, as was the acts of solidarity by members of the public who protected each other from harm and probable death. While the human unity of those attacked and rapidly incisive response of the emergency services must be heralded, 3 attacks in the space of 3 month leaves questions for answering. With the terror level having been reduced by PM Theresa May from Severe to Critical only 5 days after the Manchester attack [27th May], even more questions must be asked.

4th June. Campaigning suspended.

However, PM Theresa May makes a highly politicised public address on the stairs of 10 Downing Street. May discusses a four-point strategy on dealing with terrorism and hints at new policy of increased custodial sentencing laws in order to curb terrorism. With May the Home Secretary of 6 of the last 7 years the speech may read as ironic to some, May states “enough is enough”, ironically also the slogan used by 32,000 police officers marching against police cuts in 2012.

Statements from May speaking at the Police Federation regarding cuts to police begin to re-emerge, “this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good”. Former Met officer Peter Kirkham giving a damning verdict on the cuts to policing live on Sky news, “May raised four things that needed to change, she missed the most obvious urgent one which is to deal with the cuts to ordinary policing… What needs to be done immediately is to stop and reverse the cuts to ordinary policing.”

Jeremy Corbyn follows suit and gives address on security, stating “you cannot protect the public on the cheap” and commits to giving police whatever power and authority they need to protect the nation.

Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert appropriately went ahead a day after the London attack, giving many a chance to collectively mourn and stand united to the upbeat messages and songs of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Take That, Robbie Williams, Liam Gallagher, Katy Perry, Little Mix, Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus, Mac Miller, Marcus Mumford, Niall Horan, Victoria Monet and Imogen Heap. A moving and powerful show of unity, which raised £9million for charity along with many young people’s spirits.

In an attempt to raise Labour activists spirits after a dent in campaigning, 129 Economists sign open letter to say that Labours manifesto could be just what the economy needs.

5th June. Campaigning resumes.

The Campaign got back underway with calls for Theresa May to resign, Corbyn backs these calls stating that May’s role in presiding over cuts in police numbers while Home Secretary may warrant her resignation.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan issued a statement after the vigil for mourners in London stating that police cuts are partly attributable for attacks and claiming there had been “£600million cut since 2010, with a further £400million to be cut in the next 4 years and change to the funding metric may mean a further £700million worth of cuts to the met. In total there have been £1.7billion cuts, with an estimated further 3,000-12,000 police to be cut”. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick supported Khan in agreeing “we need more” resources. Mayor Sadiq Khan also found himself victim to a duo of confrontational tweets from American President Donald Trump, to whom Corbyn and others came to his defence.

Stephen Hawking added his name to the list of Labour endorsements, stating “the Tories would be a disaster”, while an estimated 10,000 gathered to support Corbyn outside meeting in Gateshead.

6th June. Wheat Runner.

It is revealed to the public that Theresa May’s naughtiest act was running through fields of wheat. More pressingly May announces that she will change the current Human Rights legislation, in particular custodial sentencing laws, to enable better counter-terrorism operations, “work will begin on Friday”. Which is combatted by many Human Rights activists and Labour Brexit Minister Keir Starmer, “there is nothing in the Human Rights Act that gets in the way of combatting terrorism”.

Corbyn addresses a rally in Birmingham. Clean Bandit, Steve Coogan open before a rainbow broke out as Corbyn delivered his speech focused on getting the youth vote out to crowds in Birmingham, Croydon, Brighton, Warrington, Glasgow and Barry with 36,000 watching on the Labour Party’s Facebook live. The polling of the day has Labour 57 points ahead of the Conservatives among young people, with an Survation online poll stating a Hung Parliament should there be a high youth turnout: CON: 41, LAB: 40. But a ICM online poll showing a low youth turnout to give a Conservative Landslide: CON: 45, LAB: 34. The youth vote matters, and Labour know.

7th June. 6 Rallies, One Day.

Jeremy Corbyn visits Glasgow, Runcorn, Colywn Bay, Harrow, Watford, and Islington in one day. Corbyn’s Islington Union Chapel Address, his 90th and last of the campaign. It is clear that Corbyn’s campaign has been a success when 1000 people (at least) happily cheered and waited for the Labour battle bus hours before and after Corbyn had left the gothic church without even receiving a wave. Corbyn at an earlier rally described the election as a “choice of hope or fear”, there is certainly much hope among those supporting Corbyn.

The final day of campaigning started with a full on newspaper smear, the UK’s widely read tabloids labelled Corbyn and his team “terrorist sympathisers”, in the wake of two recent terror attacks this is a vile and unchecked attack. Further, the London Evening Standard (former Chancellor of the Exchequers paper) came out with four full pages trashing the Labour party and its manifesto. Fear at its brashest.

However, the day also brought economic endorsement from Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz who backed Labour’s plans for the economy.

Next came a last minute resignation from Diane Abbott, it is fair to say she has had a difficult campaign as Shadow Home Secretary and not been able to recover since her catastrophic interview on LBC [2nd May]. Abbott has had the lowest popularity ratings of the cabinet and shadow cabinet, with the Tories mercilessly name-dropping her at any opportunity, even when not relevant. Most recently on Sky news Abbott presented as subdued and far from her normal self, she lack charisma, conviction and seemingly her bearings. Abbott stepping down due to ill-health is sad and a loss to Corbyn, with her being a loyal servant to the Labour leader in many times of in-party battle. While Abbott was unable to healthily finish the campaign, whether due to the pressure or relentless Tory attacks, it is in the interest of the public that she makes a strong and fast recovery. Abbott, who as the first black woman to hold a seat in the House of Commons has held her seat since 1987, is a true ground breaker.

The final day polls.

YouGov: CON: 42% (-) LAB: 35% (-3) [7pt Tory lead]

Survation: CON: 41% (+1) LAB: 40% (+1) [1pt Tory lead]

 

Campaign reviews.

Conservative Campaign “Strong and Stable”

The Conservative Party started the campaign with a 21 point lead in the polls. A huge and unassailable lead. It was inconceivable that the “unelectable” Jeremy Corbyn and his band of in-fighting Labour MPs could even half this lead. May explicitly called the election to get a strong mandate and to consolidate her power in Parliament, so she could push through her Brexit negotiations. The election was called to gain a majority, a super majority. The question was how big? 100 seat majority? 150 seats? The first two weeks of the campaign where dominated by what majority the Conservatives would command post-election. However, it may have been wiser if the Conservative party were concentrating on producing a worthy manifesto for the electorate during this time (as their rivals Labour were busy doing). Thus, success for the Conservative party in this election campaign must be determined by how well they achieve their objective of calling the election – to gain a super majority. Considering the narrative has wholly changed, with a Conservative super majority no longer expected, the campaign and decision to call an early Brexit election has been a failure.

From Strong and Stable to Weak and Wobbly. The Conservative Manifesto can only be viewed as a failure, from “Dementia Tax” to immigration targets to continued cuts. A manifesto so poor that its main existence has been its use as a reference to how successful the Labour manifesto is. U-turns upon U-turns, alienation of core voters, the only ‘Tory policies’ being a further slash in corporation tax and a return of fox hunting. A manifesto which exemplified the complacent nature of the party in achieving their super majority, a manifesto which took the public for granted and ultimately left Theresa May with nothing to offer when the campaigning got hard. There was no economic plan to fall back on, no new ridiculously low immigration pledge, no new curtailment of human rights, where were all the Tory policies? 7 years in power, 7 years of cuts and austerity and the party has gone stale on ideas? The party unable to fall back on capitalism’s everlasting ability to repackage? A horrendously poor manifesto of rubbish, offering little policy pledges to hard-line Tories let alone Labour voters. However, May has stuck to the plan and visited 68 seats, targeting 20 Labour strongholds and 23 Labour marginals.

Prime Minister Theresa May. An incredibly poor performance, utterly abysmal. This was not the normal authoritarian, condescending, omniscience presenting Conservative leader the UK is used to. May has shied away from the public, the opposition party, the media, wheat. The over-reliance on the “strong and stable” slogan and hope that the Labour party would continue their inner-turmoil has left May exposed, policy-less and weak. From a calm and confident figure, to an awkwardly smiling and hysterically laughing PM. May’s performance has been so bad that the campaign had to be relaunched away from “me, my, I”, toward “we”, from “strong and stable” to “vote Conservative to see Brexit through”. No matter the result, Theresa May’s reputation as Home Secretary and PM is tarnished, with BoJo and others waiting in the wings with their long knives.

The Conservatives have dropped from 48 to 41 points in the polls. That is not the right way to be going.

Labour Campaign “For the many, not the few”

The polls have not seen a 21 point shift since 1945. Blair saw a 10.2% shift, while Attlee saw a 12% shift. The turning point of the Labour campaign was certainly the release of the Labour Manifesto, a manifesto that brought the country a vision of hope. A manifesto that has given people something to believe in and most of all a clear choice between more austerity or a public sector revolution.

Throughout the campaign Labour leader Jeremey Corbyn has grown in confidence and stature, he has spoken at 90 rallies and visited 63 seats across the country (23 LAB strongholds, 17 CON marginal and 16 CON strongholds). Corbyn has attracted massive crowds up and down the country and given public addresses to bigger crowds than any UK politician since Churchill. 20,000 in Tranmere, 10,000 in Gateshead, 5,000+ in Birmingham, the list goes on. While Corbyn was not a great leader of the opposition he has presented himself as the man for the campaign, considering he has spent most of his political life as a social justice campaigner it makes sense. Corbyn has been an excellent election campaign leader, speaking at rallies, indoors, outdoors, with people on the streets and oozing calm and confident in all situations. Corbyn even managed to fine-tune his television and radio performances answering questions with ease while dipping back into his manifesto pledges when possible and relevant. Corbyn’s confidence and comfort with the contents of his manifesto has made him the coolest Labour leader for many years, furthermore his willingness to be put under public scrutiny (in huge contrast to May) has proven him to be a man worthy of leading the country. A man who would lead us confidently and comfortably.

The Labour campaign has been a grassroots popular movement, a movement of people, not of capital, a movement for the people, not for capital. Labour have raised £5million in individual donations throughout the election, with an average gift of £20. This is unprecedented for a UK Party. Conversely in the third week of the election campaign, while Labour received £330,000, the Conservatives received £3.8million in donations. The Conservatives have been able to willingly buy add space on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) and websites throughout the campaign, with Labour starting their add campaign 5 weeks into the election. However, without the lavish funding, the social media war has been cleanly won by Labour, with the Labour party having amassed a broad range of celebrity endorsements and with them many retweets, likes and shares.

Labour’s campaign “For the many, not the few” has undoubtedly and factually been one of most successful campaign movements in decades. From unelectable to electable. A 21 point swing in the polls. From ‘no leader’ to being the most charismatic and confident party leader in British politics.

Corbyn and Labour can win today, the manifesto is not a utopian dream, it can happen. It’s been a long race, but turnout matters, the people’s voice matters, let the campaign finish strongly. We can change British politics “for the many, not the few”.

Vote Labour today, get to your local polling station before 10pm!

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