Domestic Affairs

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J Hus: Leader of the New Gen, It’s Common Sense

OOOOH MY! HUSLAAA BABYYY!

2015. Drapers Bar, Mile End, East London. Dark, stuffy and energy packed. The diner-come-club plays out Dem Boys Paigons to its multicultural student ravers for the first time. Those with their ears to the street bop and cry out “AH-AAH-AAAH” in sync with the intro, the J Hus virgins tune their ears to be blown away by Hus’ energy and simultaneously memorise the catchy hook to be part of the sing-a-long fun. Dem Boys Paigons officially establishes Hus’ name on the UK ‘underground’ scene. Hus reloads immediately getting clubbers on their Lean and Bop with many woolly hats leaning to the side. Club circuit engaged.

 

Still Urban, Still Underground

Ring-a-ling-a-ling. Fast forward 6 months and Hus dropped the 15th Day mixtape. Free. A bargain. Bangers of course; I’m Coming, No Lie, Who Are You, Calling Me refreshed our ears. The 15th Day forged Hus’ niche: a mash up of Dancehall, Afrobeat, Grime and UK Rap. A fanbase solidified and hungry for more.

2016. A period of silence. Has Hus run out of bars? Fallen to the hood lifestyle? Is he unable to put out tracks? Enter the singles Friendly, Clean It Up and Playing Sports. Friendly hit the clubs hard, while Clean It Up and Playing Sports kept the hardcore J Hus fans palates appeased and whetted for more.

Another year passes, we await an album.

 

Common Sense: From ‘hood anthems’ to polished artist

Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci said common sense is the values spread by mainstream culture. J Hus and JAE5 have created a sound that has destroyed the mainstream boundaries of genre and become the hegemonic culture. The sound of J Hus coupled with JAE5’s musical wizardry has lodged itself within our mind as an instant classic, the album’s brilliance is Common Sense. An aptly titled album.

But this is only half of Hus’ impact. To Gramsci, leadership is when you have established the position from which you can influence the direction in which society takes.  J Hus has steered the direction of UK music, creating a new mainstream sound and enabling a new social group to become leaders. Of course Afrobeat is not a new invention, its 2011 UK resurgence brought the spirit of Fela back with Wiz Kid’s Dun Dull, Atumpan’s The Thing and Buk Bak’s Kolom. And of course Sneakbo has been playing with similar vibes since 2011. BUT, J Hus has blown the door open, just tune in to any radio station from Radio 1 to Capital Xtra and you will hear the new Common Sense of sound, the new AfroBeat, Bashment, Dancehall, Grime and UK Rap infused sound cultivated by Hus and JAE5. The sound has been adopted across the UK “urban” scene and become Common Sense: from Not3s, to Kojo, to Young Bxne, to Lotto Boyz, to Belly Squad, to Don E, to Vianni, to Dun D, to Hardy Caprio, to NSG, to Juls to Eugy and so on. This sound is no longer “underground”, no longer “urban”, it is mainstream.

Hus has more than met Gramsci’s definition of cultural leadership.

Back to the album…

J Hus and long-term producer JAE5 have produced a masterpiece for the decades. Hus traverses at least 5 genres, while maintaining his unique flow and trademark lyrical dualities. An ever relatable but more mature, finely tuned and personal Hus is revealed. JAE5 has simultaneously entered the Champions League of production, using live chords and Sax notes on the title track “Common Sense”.

The ease with which Hus transitions from harmony to rap is matched by the ease in which he switches topics from women to a life of crime. Not only is Hus a master of changing vocal tones but he changes the tone of a track in a quick sentence. Intertwined with the sexually charged lyrics, indicative of our hyper sexualised era, you will find brazenly honest discussion on class, race and social mobility. Hus discusses everyday traumatic experiences that are normal for a section of British, ethnic minority working-class and provides an unapologetic assessment of the paradoxes of working-class “hood” life.

J Hus is London’s Very Own, his style and flow embody the harsh yet vibrant multicultural city. His lyrics bring the reality of the working-class diaspora to life, while revealing the cruel truths of London’s underworld. Hus switches from Cockney rhyming slang to a Caribbean twang within the verse, while the perfectly blended Afrobeat and steel pans of the Caribbean match his hard hitting Grime lyrics. Aside from the abrasive London nature and delivery: J Hus is fun. There are lyrics that don’t mean anything in particular but the melody in which he delivers them and his flow just makes it work. Hus is the flat cap East London geezer who signifies multicultural London, with his interchangeable, African, Caribbean and Cockney accents.

This is World Music

This is World Music, it isn’t Afro-Bashment, Afro-Pop or Afro-Grime, it’s the music of 21st Century globalisation. The digital natives of the internet generation have access to the world, its cultures and music, and they have heard the world. Metropolitan mega cities London, New York and Toronto have generations educated in a diversity of cultures. J Hus is a fruition of this and his merging of Afrobeats, NYC rap and Cockney slang is wholly relatable to the second generation immigrant and many more. In a global world, a versatility of influence, flow, lyrics and sound is the future. Hus has brought forward a new UK Urban vibe that has longevity because of its diversity and adaptability. His is the sound to take British music to new heights.

The Leader of the Next Gen

Evolution and progression happens in cycles. From Wiley to Stormzy. From Bashment to Afrobeat. The UK Underground scene has evolved and J Hus is the leader of the New Gen. Creative, innovative, ground-breaking. Hus has created a revolutionary sound and space that labels didn’t catch. Not only is Common Sense an album that you can play again and again but it has changed the landscape. For this J Hus is more than an artist, he is a movement and one we will support all the way.

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Finsbury Park Attack: The Rhetoric & Approach to Far-Right Extremism Must Change

Dr Q & I

Two weeks after the London Attack my doctor asked me a question, a non medical, off the record question:

“As a young, bearded, South Asian man, do you find people look at you more after an attack?”

My doctor is a mid-30s white middle class man. While we share the delights of having ginger beards, liberal ideology and North London football rivalries, our experiences navigating London could not be more different. The question caught me off guard but I understood it as being from a place of empathy.

My answer was two-fold but simple:

  1. Yes I do notice more accusatory, inquisitive, investigatory looks, but being of South Asian heritage does not make me immune from the feelings of edginess most civilians feel after such an attack, so I accept it, smile back and get on with my commute.
  2. From a young age I have been wary and vigilant of Caucasian men and women, in expectation of racial abuse or attacks so I have always looked at them in anticipation for any abuse.

From here the conversation devolved into Dr Q stating people do not feel the “Muslim community do enough”. To which I quickly refuted with the fact that both recent attacks in Manchester and London had key members that were reported to the authorities by the Muslim community on more than one occasion. Secondly, a community cannot be held hostage or responsible for the actions of few extremists.

In the wake of the Finsbury Park Attack I wonder if Dr Q will ask me a different question:

“As a young, bearded, South Asian man how has Islamophobia affected your life and the looks you get?”

He will get a densely different answer.

We will not know whether the question is asked or not until a future appointment. But the point here is about rhetoric, narrative and wider discourse. The liberal North London Dr freely questions the “role of the Muslim community”, while missing the other side of the coin; that of the role of the State, media and far-right preachers in setting an Islamaphobic narrative that pitches “Whites” against “Muslims”. This is a one-eyed vision of Terrorism and extremism that willingly gives the space for the Finsbury Park Attack to occur.

 

The Finsbury Park Attack

Sadly an attack of this scale was both foreseeable and avoidable. Between May 2013 and September 2016 there have been 100 recorded attacks on Mosques, with 12 days being the average time between the attacks. There were 120 reported Islamophobic attacks the week after the London Bridge Attack and have been 625 reported attacks in the last 6 months.

In the last week of Ramadaan, as Taraweeh prayers had finished a white van drove through Muslim worshipers leaving the Muslim Welfare House. The attack appears planned, a “copycat” attack. 1 dead, 10 injured. After hitting 3 people, the attacker, 47 year old Darren Osborne, reversed so he could run over 6 more. This was a terrorist attack, perpetrated by a Neo-Nazi terrorist. The White Neo-Nazi must be regarded a terrorist as much as the Islamic extremist. Both incite terror and both commit murder, only ideology separates them. There is no difference between “I want to kill all Muslims” and “I want to kill all khaffirs” both will kill unknowing, unarmed civilians in the name of their ideological barbarities.

 

Islamophobia: Extremist Ideology

Islamophobia must be taken seriously and confronted as an extremist ideology. Equally those groups and well-known preachers of Islamophobia must be muted and prohibited from inciting racial terror as strongly as Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudhury have been. The role of far-right hate-preachers in inciting acts of terrorism must be acknowledged. Brazenly racist groups such as the EDL, Britain First, the BNP and the racists of UKIP must be banned or treated with the same whip as other terrorist organisations. It would be unwise to rule out further attacks like the one in Finsbury Park while racist and Islamophobic centres of hate continue to operate unshackled.

In recent weeks, a macho Paul Golding (leader of Britain First) has been filmed outside West London mosques inciting hate and unsuccessfully attempting to stir up cross-community tensions. The disgusting irony is Golding hurled abuse such as “where were you when Manchester happened?” while Muslims prepared relief boxes for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in their local Mosque come emergency action centre. Golding chose to forget the community response to the Manchester and London attacks, which were immense shows of solidarity with all members of the community pulling together. Further, it would be helpful to question, where was Paul Golding when Manchester happened? Where was his contribution? Golding’s divisive bile will not be enough to split communities but it will be enough to inspire more attacks like Finsbury Park, he must be muted.

Tommy Robinson, rebirthed again since his last birth as a centre-right moderate, has been on constant Twitter tirade stating Muslims want to “destroy you, destroy our way of life”. Robinson should take note of the reaction of Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, who protected the Finsbury Park attacker from a crowd of understandably incensed and upset people until police arrived: “We managed to surround him and protect him from any harm.” This was not an act of a destroyer. Protection for a man who had a few minutes earlier used his vehicle as a tank to mow down and kill members of his congregation and community. This was an act of saintly peacefulness.

Katie Hopkins, while dropped from LBC is still an employed journalist of the Daily Mail and has infamously called for a “final solution”. The ability for right-wing extremists to create large public followings via social media and the willingness of the media to allow Hopkins ilk platforms to preach has radicalised many. Twitter can become a chaotic sea of racist dogma if you stumble upon the wrong thread.

Britain First and the EDL have held marches in Liverpool and Manchester over the last two weekends. In Liverpool, Unite Against Fascism and other progressive outnumbered the far-right, however Manchester saw fascists in huge numbers for one of the first times since Oswald Mosley’s march on Cable Street 1936. The far-right outnumbered the progressives and forced many people, including local Sikh charity workers, to stop from their normal activities.

In failing to declare the acts of Neo-Nazis as acts of terror we have tolerated and allowed them a separate undefined category, a category which is not terror nor criminal, a grey area of civil disobedience. This has led to the subconscious acceptance of ‘reciprocation’ attacks or acts of violence fueled by Islamophobia. It is time for a change of narrative. Since 9/11 anyone slightly past olive toned skin has been pushed into the firing line by the media, the far-right and centrist politicians. From “Paki” to “Muslim”. This second wave racism has become a norm which has rooted in our society. The overt and brash racism suffered by first and second generation immigrants striving to survive and adapt to British society has been transformed into a covert yet ever vicious second wave. Our streets have become a battleground, with innocent civilians forever paying the price. “Muslims” find themselves subject to abuse, physical attack and death. We have allowed a war between Islamic Extremists and Islamophobic Neo-Nazis. But only the Islamic Extremists have been combated. In doing so we have picked sides with the Far-right Islamophobes.

 

Change of Rhetoric & Case for Justice

The Apprentice PM Theresa May has taken a leaf out of Jeremy Corbyn’s book of progression. May having learnt from her woefully robotic election campaign and slow-motion reaction to the Grenfell Fire was quick to condemn the attack on the steps of Number 10. There was temporary comfort in hearing the Apprentice PM finally put a foot right in announcing the attack to have been of terrorist nature.

May stated, the Finsbury Park Attack to be:

another terrorist attack on the streets of our city

which was “every bit as sickening as those that have come before”.

While long overdue this line of language must continue if we are to rid our society of these acts.

May’s speech marked a major change in rhetoric from the Prime Minister’s office. Firstly, May pinpointed the need to stamp out extremism on the Internet. May’s isolation of the Internet as a cause of extremism ideally points to the Golding-Robinson-Hopkins Twittersphere. Further, May stated there to have been “far too much tolerance of extremism, that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia”. This is in no doubt. However, it remains to be seen what action will be taken on stamping out Islamophobia, cleaning the internet of the three hate-inciting musketeers would be a start.

May also announced there would be an establishment of a “Commission for Countering Extremism” in doing so the PM paralleled the fight against extremism with the fight against racism. Ideally this reads as an acceptance that Islamophobia has manifested into an extreme brand of racism. In which case, the establishment of commission to counter extremism may be another step in the right direction, granted the parameters, mission and powers of the commission are broad enough to effect change.

This new perspective on the fight against far-right extremism is in stark contrast to May’s speech in the aftermath of the London Bridge Attack which implied a necessity to encroach upon civil liberties in order to fight Islamic extremism. However, the mere acknowledgement of Islamophobia as a condemnable extremist ideology is a landmark step in the right direction.

Jeremy Corbyn who is the MP for Islington North was also quick to the scene of the “horrific and cruel attack” and attended prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque along with Emily Thornberry and David Lammy. Further, the North London site of the attack was visited by PM Theresa May, Sajid Javed and London Mayor Sadiq Khan who pledged that there would be a heightened police and security presence around Mosques.

With the Finsbury Park attacker being arrested, there will be a court date set and a sentence beckoning. Darren Osborne’s trial will stand as a landmark case for how the British judiciary combats Islamophobic terrorism. The case holds a huge opportunity for a change of narrative.

The Muslim community at large is not only integrated but active in caring and bringing wider communities together. Muslims are a core and important part of our vibrant and united multicultural society and we must not allow them to fall victim to Neo-Nazi terrorism so easily. The change in rhetoric must lead to an end of victimisation and terror mongering from the mainstream media, while the State must take immediate action to combat Islamophobia and suppress notorious preachers of hate.

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General Election 2017: WokeNation Prediction & Exit Polls

It’s time for predictions. Polling has closed and concluded harmoniously across the country (but for Newcastle-under-Lyme, where many Keele University students complained of being turned away from polling stations.) This is what we @ WokeNation predict.

Possible outcomes

The possible outcomes of this election are broad with the final day polls looking like this:

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

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

A winning party needs 326 seats to form a majority government. The Conservative party won 331 seats in the 2015 election, making them a narrow majority government. Theresa May called the 2017 election with the intention of building upon this narrow majority of 5 seats.

However, if a party falls below the 326 seat majority threshold they will need to form a minority government or most commonly a coalition government as seen in 2010 when the Conservatives won 306 seats and were forced to form the ConDem Coalition with the 57 seat Liberal Democrats.

The 2017 election campaign has seen a return to two-party politics with both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP failing to register in the polls. However, there may be a LibDem ‘Remainer’ resurgence and the SNP have continued to maintain their Scottish stronghold. Thus, it is likely that the neither Conservatives nor Labour will make any major gains in Scotland. It is also unlikely that Plaid Cymru will make any major gains in Wales, with Labour polling strongly again across Wales.

Predictions

There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom, with the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP sharing 619 of the 650 seats in the 2015 election. The campaign and vote is reliant on results in the marginal battleground seats (seats with small majorities under 10%). There are 110 battleground constituencies which could decide the election, Labour second in 48 seats, Conservatives second in 46 seats, Lib Dems second in 16 seats. Additionally, the Greens have withdrawn in many Labour marginal seats and UKIP have told their supporters to back the Conservatives, this will lead to a consolidation of the vote for both major parties in key battleground seats. Tactical voting may also see Liberal Democrat candidates receiving more votes in constituencies like Twickenham.

Westminister: We predict that there will be a Conservative majority of 10 seats in the House of Commons. While there has been a major swing in the polls towards Corbyn’s Labour, this has been a swing back to Labour from a very low polling position in April. This has not been a swing from the Conservatives to Labour, but a return to Labour from previously apathetic Labour voters, thus it may only bring Labour back to their 2015 standing. Further, the UKIP vote may shore up the Conservatives majorities in key battleground seats. However, this would still be a success for Labour, considering the election was called by May to increase her Parliamentary majority and decimate all opposition, especially the Labour share of Parliament.

Scotland: we predict that the SNP will hold most of their 56 seats but may drop seats to Labour.

The North: we predict little Conservative gain.

Midlands: we predict Walsall North, Birmingham Edgbaston and Birmingham Selly Oak to remain Labour and Derby North to turn red.

London and the South: there are 3 major marginals in London, at WokeNation we predict Labour to clean up in London and hold their marginals in Ealing Central & Acton, Brentford & Isleworth and win back Croydon Central from the Conservatives. We also predict Amber Rudd to lose her Hastings constituency to Labour and North Devon to go to the Liberal Democrats.

Wales: we predict no Plaid Cymru gains and Labour to maintain their Welsh seats.

Scrap all of that.

Exit polls:

CON: 314 (17)

LAB: 266 (+34)

SNP: 34 (22)

LIB DEMS: 14 (+6)

OTHER: 18

The exit polls suggest there will be a Hung Parliament, the two main parties (Conservatives & Labour) will be required to scramble together a coalition or ‘confidence and supply’ alliance in order to form a majority Government.

Conservative Commons Permutations with a Hung Parliament:

As in 2010 it is possible that there will be ConDem Coalition MKII. With May needing 326 seats to form a coalition and Tim Farron continuously flip-flopping about whether he would re-enter the LibDems into coalition with the Tories, it is likely they will sit around the negotiating table and come to a coalition agreement. With the Conservatives 314 seats and Liberal Democrats 14 seats, the ConDem MKII coalition will have the required 328 majority. However, this is not a certainty, Liberal Democrats have been the most Eurocentric of three main parties and the only party to maintain their “Remain” stance towards Brexit. While the LibDems have form in ditching their election pledges for a seat at the highest table, their stance for a second referendum has been their key manifesto pledge, with Conservatives and Labour having more in common on Brexit than the LibDems do with the two main parties. Theresa May, who called this election on the basis of having a strong Parliament behind her going into Brexit negotiations will find the most unorthodox bedfellows in the LibDems should they form a ConDem coalition MKII.

If as expected, the exit polls produce a Hung Parliament, Theresa May will have lost all political credibility. This was May’s election to build a mandate and increase Parliamentary support for Brexit negotiations. The Hard-Brexit Eurosceptic Conservative Party having to collate with the Eurocentric Second EU Referendum Liberal Democrats? Major failure.

Conservative Minority Government with Supply from DUP or Liberal Democrats, will be as unworkable as the ConDem coalition MKII but more likely to happen at this stage, with the LibDems set to be hard to sway on Brexit.

Scotland: with the SNP predicted to lose 22 seats across Scotland it presents that Corbyn’s rallies in Glasgow and angle to the Scottish people that the SNP and Tory austerity were allied has got through. The single minded nationalism of the SNP may have backfired with the progressive nature of the Corbyn’s Labour manifesto nullifying the SNP (who originally rose because of array of left wing policies not just Scottish nationalism).

Labour Commons Permutations with a Hung Parliament:

Labour led Progressive Alliance, with Labour predicted to gain 266 seats, + 34 seats on the 2015 vote, even if they were to attempt to form a Progressive Alliance with the SNP (34), the Liberal Democrats (14) and Plaid Cymru (3) they would only reach 317 seats. Labour Progressive Alliance, not possible.

The only other option for Labour would be to form a Labour Minority Government with supply vote from the SNP, LibDems, Plaid Cymru, DUP and Conservative Party members. Not workable.

Thus, if the exit polls translate as predicted the only constitutional option for forming Government will be for a Euro-Confused ConDem Coalition of power MKII.

OR a Second General Election as occurred in 1974. Should the Conservatives be unable to form a second ConDem coalition they would be expected to replace May and call a second consecutive General Election pushing the UK into further political chaos, when its politicians should be focusing on the imminent Brexit negotiations (11 days time).

Theresa, May have plunged us into a state of constitutional crisis, however Exit Polls are polls like all others and they will not necessarily translate precisely, they have also underestimated the Conservative vote as recently as 2015.

Yours,

WokeNation Collaborators

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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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General Election 2017: The Time Is NOW

Where is the election campaign?

The Labour Campaign has been building since May’s announcement of the 2017 Snap Election. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry, along with new names Barry Gardiner and Rebecca Long-Bailey, have penned articles in major newspapers and strongly presented the Labour plan for Government. The Labour party have had a united front for most of the campaign with Kinnockite John Prescott joining Corbyn’s Battle Bus for Scarborough, Goole and Hull campaigning. Local Constituency Labour Parties and Momentum have mobilised Labour’s massive membership (the biggest party membership in Europe) with activists canvassing up and down the country. As a consequence Corbyn has effectively changed the narrative from “The Brexit Election” to a clear choice between progressive left-leaning policies and a continuation of brutal austerity.

Most importantly, Corbyn has built and maintained momentum in his election campaign. Labour have promoted progressive policies to working and middle class voters squeezed by the Tories. The release of manifesto policies have been timely and beneficial. Corybn’s harmonious visit to a West London Gurdwara contrasted favourably with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s insults to large numbers of the Sikh community in talking about the consumption of alcohol in a Bristol Gurdwara. The pushing of youth policies prior to the deadline for voter registration: scrapping university tuition fees, restoring maintenance grants and EMA, £10 Minimum wage for over 18s – seems to have paid dividends. Labour’s pledge on FA Cup Final day to reinvest 5% of Premier League TV revenue into lower league football, along with pledges to put fans at the heart of their club and take football back to its working-class roots, was genius. Corbyn’s Twitter account flooded the feed with quotes from football legends and heroes; Brian Clough, Bill Shankley, Alex Ferguson, Sócrates, Mia Hamm, Jose Luis Chilavert, Arsene Wenger and also a notable quote from Harold Wilson, “Have you noticed how we only win the World Cup under a Labour government.” Labour also successfully intercepted and capitalised upon the Conservative Dementia Tax own goal, Labour’s Social Care and pensioner offensive commenced immediately after the release of the Tory Policy and again upon May’s historical U-Turn (the first ever Manifesto U-Turn to occur during a British Election Campaign).

18th April, Theresa May calls Snap General Election. Labour are 22 points behind the Conservatives. An unassailable deficit. Labour’s best hope in the election is to regain the 232 seats won in the 2015 election.

9th May, Labour Campaign officially launched.

11th May, Draft Manifesto leaked. Leaks are rarely positive. If this was a Conservative Party sting or a leak from the right of the Labour Party it horrendously backfired. While Theresa May, Tim Farron, Nicola Sturgeon and the media attempted to use the leak to show in party divisions, the leak in fact continued to build momentum and excitement towards the progressive plans Labour were bringing forward. The leaked Labour manifesto became the talk of the media for 24 hours. Campaign Chief Andrew Gwynee had an opportunity to calmly field questions from most UK news broadcasters on the Draft Manifesto’s “great ideas”; a “Britain for the many, not the few”. The Leak resulted in positive spin with talk of Labour’s policies for Government beginning a week in advance of when they were due to be released.

11th May, Jeremy Corbyn announces that the Labour Manifesto had been unanimously agreed by the Shadow Cabinet, National Executive Committee, Parliamentary Committee of Backbench MPs and Trade Unions. Unity and a vote of confidence from the Labour Party, now it was time to see if the policies would be taken as “very popular” by the public.

16th May. 72 years in waiting, the Manifesto “For The Many, Not The Few” is launched. Widely accepted as one of the most detailed manifestos in a generation. Labour’s Progressive Manifesto was released with all funding sources identified and published alongside the “Funding Britain’s Future” costing document. Thus, all £48.6 billion of Labour’s spending commitments have been explained and accounted for. Conversely, the Conservative Party Manifesto has been published wholly uncosted, as a simple “set of principles”.

Labour have delivered the most progressive and transformative manifesto since Clement Attlee’s 1945 Government which, building on the Beveridge Report, gave us the Cradle to Grave Welfare State that is world renowned. Labour’s 2017 Manifesto has come at one of British politic’s most reactionary times. Since the 2008 Crash, the Conservatives Austerity politics has wreaked havoc on the working and middle classes, squeezing them with brutal cuts to Education, Healthcare and Welfare.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Taxation:

  • Labour is the party of low taxes for middle & low earners,
  • No tax rises for 95% of workers,
  • 5 Year Freeze in income tax for ALL earning less than £80,000,
  • 5 Year Freeze on VAT,
  • 5 Year Freeze on National Insurance Contributions,
  • Raise in income tax for top 5% of earners,
  • 45p income tax rate for anyone earning above £80,000,
  • 50p income tax rate for anyone earning more than £123,000,
  • Corporation Tax raised to 26% (lower than 2010 rate of 28%),
  • Tax reforms will raise £48.6 billion per year.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Defence:

  • 10,000 more police,
  • 10,000 more security and intelligence agency staff,
  • 3,000 more firefighters,
  • 3,000 more prison officers,
  • 500 more border guards,
  • Commits 2% GDP on Defence,
  • Commits £10 billion for Cyber Security,
  • Commits to the renewal of Trident.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Education:

  • Scrap tuition fees,
  • Bring back student grants & EMA,
  • Free school meals,
  • Pledge of £25 billion investment into National Education Service.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Health:

  • Extra £37 billion investment for our NHS,
  • Scrap NHS car park charges,
  • Create a National Care Service for social care,
  • Scrap the unfair pay cap,
  • Put safe staffing levels into law.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Brexit:

  • Brexit which focuses on jobs and worker’s rights,
  • Guarantee rights of EU nationals currently living in the UK.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Housing:

  • Commitment to building 1 million new homes in 5 years,
  • Bring back housing benefit for under-21s,
  • Making 3 years tenancies the norm,
  • 4,000 homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Work:

  • £10 per hour minimum wage for all over 18 year olds,
  • Ban unpaid internships and zero hour contracts,
  • Creating four more bank holidays,
  • End the public sector pay cap,
  • Ensure workers have security and equality at work.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Public Ownership:

  • Railways nationalised once franchise contracts expire (bringing the UK in line with Germany and France),
  • Create a state energy firm,
  • Renationalise Water and Royal Mail.

Labour’s Manifesto is strong on Welfare:

  • Keep the pension triple-lock,
  • Scrap the bedroom tax.

Conversely, the Conservatives Manifesto builds upon the previous 7 years of austerity politics. 7 years which have seen disastrous cuts to the NHS, education system, national defence, plunges in living standards and stagnation of wages. Theresa May’s flagship pledge is that of a ‘Dementia Tax’ which will leave 52% of people facing home repossession on death, May has failed to rule out raising of income taxes to middle and low earners, pledges to scrap Free School Meals in favours of 7p Breakfasts, pledges to scrap the Winter Fuel Allowance leaving 10 million OAPs out in the cold. The Conservative Manifesto and campaign have been utterly shambolic and brought British politics first ever mid-election manifesto U-turn just four days into the manifesto launch. Chaotic and incompetent. The Conservatives have been Weak and Wobbly, not Strong and Stable.

22nd May. Race to Register.

The Youth Movement. The 2012 University tuition fee rise from £3,000 to £9,000 per year went ahead with the blessing of Nick Clegg’s ConDem Coalition irrespective of the mass student protests in the winter of 2012 . The Brexit vote has taken British Youth unwillingly out of Europe while 7 years of Conservative cuts to education and arts funding have left British Youth feeling disenfranchised and unrepresented. Nick Clegg (who stabbed the youth movement in the back via his retraction on a manifesto pledge to freeze University tuition fees) and Ed Miliband both managed to stoke some youth support with Clegg-Mania and MiliFandom in the 2010 and 2015 General Election campaigns. However, neither amassed the support that Corbyn’s 2017 Labour Movement has. After continually being dictated to by the 60+ Middle England voter, this election has presented as the time for the open minded, diverse British youth to stand up and be counted. In the penultimate day before the voter registration cut off 157,400 under 35s registered to vote, on the last day of registration 680,322 people signed up with more than 450,000 under 35. In total 1,049,308 under 25 year olds have registered to vote since the 18th April the date the 2017 General Election was announced. British youth have registered en masse to vote and now must make sure they use their voting power on polling day. While the British electoral system is first-past-the-post and not proportionally representative, every young person’s vote and every one of the 1 million new young voters that have registered can make a difference in marginal and historical swing seats. 59% of 18-24 year old voters support Labour, while 67% of 65+ voters support the Conservatives. However, the 2015 election saw only 43% of under 25 vote contrasted with a 78% turnout among 65+ voters. This election can be won and lost on the turnout of these two groups. The youth vote must be made for Corbyn’s Labour to win the election.

22nd May. Manchester Arena Attack.

The Manchester Arena Attack. A disgusting attack on unknowing, unprovoked, unarmed innocent young civilians. 22 killed. 10 under-21s killed. 59 others injured. This vile and abhorrent attack would seemingly derail Labour’s election momentum which had built swiftly with the race to registration. Campaigning would be paused in order to honour and pay respect to those who lost their lives. More significantly, the environment, context and grounds of the election would usually shift sharply towards anti-immigration rhetoric, stronger immigration controls, “Us v. Them” and other nationalistic arguments. This sort of discussion is naturally better for the incumbent who has the position to take the “Safe and Stable” high ground as the captain of the ship. May had an opportunity to reset the narrative of the election around immigration policy and nationalism, areas in which the Conservatives have historically been strong on and gained support for. May could use this as an opportunity to regain some of the “core” older voters alienated by her flagship “dementia tax” policy. However, the public consciousness and united reaction of Manchester locals has spun the narrative away from immigration towards solidarity and the lack of funding put into the national defence by the Conservative administration. The Conservative Governments cuts to defence have resulted in the cutting of 20,000 police officers, 1,337 firearms officers and 1/3 of police dogs. The Labour reaction to the Manchester bombing has been to reiterate their plan to invest in defence where the current administration hasn’t and assess some of the causes of terrorism; such as foreign intervention. This presented as a risky tactic in the midst of a brutal attack however the public reaction has been seemingly positive with “53% of Brits believing British foreign policy has been responsible, at least in part, for terrorism in the UK” (YouGov Poll).

Corbyn the IRA supporter. The media and Conservative Party reaction to the Manchester attack has been to draw false links of support between Corbyn and terrorist activities carried out by the IRA. Dirty politics. But this is an election campaign. Although there is no need to dispel this as it is a blatant falsity: On 29th November 1994 Corbyn signed a Parliamentary Motion calling a PIRA bombing a murderous, terrorist atrocity.

May 25th. Local campaigning resumed.

May 26th. National campaigning resumed.

May 28th. Corbyn’s Glasgow address. Corbyn speaking in Glasgow announced his angle for Scottish voters, in grouping Nicola Sturgeons Nationalistic obsession with continued Tory Austerity, Corbyn set out the Labour vote as being the only one to end Austerity. On the same day Sturgeon announced openness to SNP “progressive alliance” with Labour at the head. While the SNP’s single policy nationalism is infuriating and bordering selfish in the broader context of the progressive revolution this General Election offers, Labours stance towards the Scottish Independence movement is ill-advised, calling for unity and stating that “together we are stronger” will not appease the many Scottish voters who wish for another opportunity to determine their future. However, the notion that Sturgeon and the SNP are more concerned with nationalistic referendums than fighting austerity holds certain weight and may draw support from those Scottish voters that have been battered by Conservative Austerity. The Scottish vote can and must swing at least marginally to Labour should they hope to win the 2017 General Election.

May 29th. “The Leaders Debate”. Theresa May had earlier promised on 6 separate occasions she would not call a snap election as it would destabilise the country. Yet Theresa May proceeded to call a vanity snap election. Theresa May stated the “dementia tax” as her party’s flagship manifesto pledge. Yet Theresa May U-turned on her flagship pledge mid-campaign. Theresa May’s Spring Budget announces a National Insurance rise. Yet Theresa May’s administration U-turns on National Insurance increase one week after policy’s introduction, breaking a 2015 Manifesto pledge. Theresa May sets election ground on leadership and Brexit. Yet Theresa May refuses to debate Jeremy Corbyn face-to-face. Theresa May has robbed the public of an opportunity to see the two people vying for the highest position in public office debate. Theresa May is incompetent. Weak and Wobbly not Strong and Stable. Where is the leadership? What is the point of strong, if it is strong against the weak? What is the point of stability if it is stable decline and destruction? Theresa May’s policy U-turns, lack of clarity, indecision and bad judgement, suggest Brexit will not be safe in her hands. May’s failure of an election campaign has the Conservative Party set to relaunch their campaign. The UK will not get a chance to restart Brexit negotiations, as easily as May intends to relaunch her campaign. May’s hard-line rhetoric and megaphone diplomacy towards Europe pre-election has already alienated the UK and left her in the cold with all of Europe’s main leaders. May’s bland leadership has failed to combat the broad range of progressive policies Labour have proposed.

The debate itself was Corbyn’s strongest media performance to date; calm, collected, competent, assured, trustworthy, genuine, passionate, reasonable, stable and a visionary. Corbyn coped well with audience questions responding calmly and drawing on his manifesto and its strengths at favourable intervals. Corbyn exuded leader-like qualities under Paxman’s tough questioning and heckling, who interrupted him 49 times in a 20 minute interview. Contrastingly, May came off weak, slow, boring and tiresome. May failed to answer specific questions on the “dementia tax” and Winter Fuel Allowance, stating these figures would be settled in consultation documents after the election. Providing figures after an election on policies that affect people’s lives is meaningless and useless. May came off as “a Blow-Hard who collapses at the first sound of gunfire”. If May cannot handle Paxman’s stern questioning, Brexit negotiations are due to crumble immediately.

The polls

From a 22 point deficit in the polls on the 18th April. Labour have surged.

On the 20th May Labour were 9 points behind the Conservatives:

CON: 43% (-5) LAB: 34% (+4) LDEM: 8% (-) UKIP: 4% (-) [YouGov]

On the 25th May Labour cut the gap to 5 points behind the Conservatives:

CON 43% (-1). LAB 38% (+3), LDEM 10 (+1), UKIP 4(+1) [YouGov]

Furthermore Labour have seen a 16 point swing in Wales:

LAB: 44% (+9) CON: 34% (-7) PC: 9% (-2) LDEM: 6% (-1) UKIP: 5% (+1) [YouGov]

However, polls are unreliable and not results. Labour still have a fight on and must concentrate on continuing the momentum in closing the gap between themselves and the Conservatives while making sure all the new voters that have registered go out and vote. The polls are positive, the movement is building but it must continue and the vote must be mobilised.

What is the election mood?

While the polls have swung by 25 points, polling is a flawed method and only provides a snapshot. Thus, it may also be worth measuring the mood. This is of course even less scientific and much more subjective. The social media bubble is churning out many pro-Corbyn, pro-Labour movements. Grime4Corbyn, celebrity endorsements (JME, Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Akala, Ellie Goulding, Riz Ahmed, Danny DeVito, Ricky Gervais, Maxine Peake, Pink Floyd and more) and timeline buzz presents a pro-Labour mood. Similarly, volunteer and canvassing numbers have been high for Labour across the country. Corbyn and Labour MPs have been received by huge crowds across the country with 1,000s lining the streets in Leeds and 20,000 people at the Wirral Live Rock Festival receiving Corbyn to chants of “Oooh Jeremy Corbyn” as he warmed up for the Libertines. The mood around Corbyn and the Labour is hopeful and positive.

With under two weeks to go till polling day, the time is NOW. This election can change the direction of the UK and the world. Campaign, write, tweet and go out and Vote for Labour on June 8th. Vote for a New United Kingdom.

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General Election 2017: Labour Perspective

Why has Theresa May called a General Election?

It was coming.

PM Theresa May sees this as an opportune time to increase her majority before things start to get really tricky. This is not an election for “the security of millions of working people across the country” nor an election to “secure stable leadership to see us through Brexit” but an act of pure political gamesmanship.

May is getting this election in before the EU negotiations get tough and Juncker and Selmayr deal their retribution in turning the screw on the British negotiators.

Nicola Sturgeon was upping the ante for a second Scottish Independence Referendum, which now takes an immediate back seat.

Labour are behind in the YouGov poll by 20 points, which has dropped to 18 points since the election announcement.

So this is a perfect time for May to call an election and attempt to increase her majority while the narrative of Brexit masks the disasters of her administration in failing the NHS, failing education and failing working class families across the country.

What does Jeremy Corbyn have to do?

Firstly, there is hope even with Labour 18 points behind in the polls. Polls are not reality until polling day. In the 2015 General Election David Cameron won his narrow majority with Ed Miliband ahead in the polls and most expected Hilary Clinton to walk the American election but an email scandal turned her campaign on its head.

Secondly, global politics is very polarised and has been since the 2008 crash. Syriza and Podemos won with progressive mandates in Greece and Spain, Bernie Sanders ran a close “openly socialist” nomination campaign against Hilary Clinton, while socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon is running Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen close in the race to progress to the second round of the French elections.  Conversely the far right have gained power or mounted major election campaigns against centrist candidates in the US, Austria, Holland and now France with the rise of Marine Le Pen.

Corbyn needs to effectively change the narrative and re-frame himself as a strong and competent leader who will bring the positive change that many in the country are yearning for.

This is a hard but possible task, he needs to continue his media offensive, he needs to continue having a presence on the radio and television, he needs to write articles for publication in major newspapers.

Corbyn must mobilise the massive Labour membership he has built (a whole 300,000 more members than before he became leader in 2015), there are 528,000 Labour Party members who can be campaigning for a Labour victory.

Most importantly, Corbyn must build and maintain momentum in his election campaign over the next 7 weeks. Labour must keep pushing forward their progressive policies to working and middle class voters that have been squeezed by the Tories. Policies which are extremely popular and include:

  • ending tuition fees,
  • reinvesting in and saving the NHS,
  • nationalising the railways,
  • the building of 1 million new homes in 5 years,
  • £500 billion pound investment in infrastructure,
  • a green economy,
  • closing the gender pay gap,
  • ending Zero hour contracts,
  • protections for EU workers,
  • investment into an education system that has been failed by Theresa May.

BUT this is not a Presidential system and this is not just about Corbyn. This is about the Labour Party. The Party wins the election. So the party machine needs to unite around Corbyn.

Labour MPs that say they don’t want another X years of Conservative Government need to rise to May’s challenge, this is the time for them to show their commitment to the Labour Party and its members and regain power for the Party.

It’s time to get behind the Labour Party and support Labour’s election campaign in hope of a New Progressive, United Kingdom.

BBC World Service Interview with our writer @RavSRM on Labour’s chances of winning the 2017 General Election. Mins 17 and 50.