by Graham Peebles
Writer, Dandelion Salad
June 1, 2017
After 20-plus years of being lost in the muddy centre ground of British politics, the Labour party now stands tall again as the party of social democracy, rooted in values of social justice, participation and unity. Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is offering a positive message of hope at the coming UK election and presents a real alternative to the Conservatives.
Despite the unrelenting assault on Corbyn by the media and the Conservatives, Labour’s message for change is gaining traction. To his great credit Corbyn has not sunk to the level of exchanging insults, has shown great dignity when attacked and has focused on criticising policies not individuals.
The latest polls estimate Labour has reduced the Torie’s lead from 22% to 5% or even 3%, depending on which pollster one reads. If this is accurate and reflects the final vote it would result in a hung parliament, which would be a tremendous achievement for Labour. A hung parliament describes a parliament in which no single party has an absolute majority of seats. Interestingly, such a state of affairs is also known as a balanced parliament.
The more people hear about Labour’s policies and see Corbyn, the more support for Labour grows. And why wouldn’t it: Labour has designed a set of rational proposals that, if made manifest, would transform Britain from a nation suffocating under a blanket of austerity and injustice, to a fairer country in which public services – including schools and hospitals – are properly funded and where everyone is valued. Conversely as more details emerge about Theresa May – who is by all accounts a narrow-minded control freak – the less appealing, she and her fanatical cohorts become.
The Labour manifesto is filled with light and energy. All areas of responsibility are dealt with from early years education and the environment to foreign policy, health care and of course the economy. It is a manifesto designed to repair the severe damage caused by a brutal Conservative government that is literally destroying the country piece by piece. It is a manifesto and a Labour leadership many of us have been waiting years for. The party and its policies are more or less in tune with the worldwide movement for change, and is a positive development, not just for Britain, but for the world.
“We will measure our economic success not by the number of billionaires, but by the ability of our people to live richer lives.” Income tax would increase for some, but “no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year and no increases in personal national insurance contributions or the rate of VAT.” Major investment in infrastructure and essential public services – decimated under the Conservative’s crushing and needless austerity programme. A National Transformation Fund, similar to Germany and the Nordic countries, would be set up to “invest £250 billion over 10 years in upgrading our economy.” Energy systems would be transformed with investment in “state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production,” and, encouragingly, they plan to “ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.” Fracking – the source of a major greenhouse gas – would be banned. Corbyn, a life-long peace activist and founding member of Stop The War, would appoint a Peace Minister.
Common-sense proposals include, bringing private rail companies (many of which are owned by foreign governments) back into public ownership, renationalising Royal Mail and gradually forming a publicly owned decentralised energy system. University tuition fees, which have gone from £3,000 a year to £9,000 under the Conservatives, would be scrapped, a hand of friendship extended to refugees and migrant workers. A unified National Education Service (NES) for England would be set up, “to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use,” and “free, lifelong education in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to up-skill or retrain at any point in life.” Unions would be welcomed back into the workplace, the minimum wage increased to £10 per hour, zero hours contracts and unpaid internships banned, and a maximum pay ratio between workers and Directors/CEO’s of 20-1 introduced (currently the gap can by ten times this or more).
The rental housing market, which is currently completely out of control, will be regulated so people have security in their home and rents they can afford. There are plans for a National Care Service, wide-ranging mental health provision, increased funding for the police and fire services (the Conservatives have cut 10,000 fire-fighter jobs and closed dozens of fire stations throughout the country), support for the NHS, changes to Legal Aid. No additional prisons will be privatised (it’s scandalous that any have been), 3,000 new prison officers will be recruited, art education in schools encouraged and funded, and a new national Culture Fund established.
Vitality and the language of optimism, cooperation and fairness, wash through every section. In the midst of the rise of right-wing politics, worldwide turmoil and uncertainty, the policies articulated offer real hope and stand out as a chance for renewal and social justice in a world where these democratic ideals are in short supply.
Apathy says ‘politicians are all the same, nothing ever changes’; well this is nonsense and always has been, it’s a weak excuse for democratic irresponsibility. In this upcoming election the differences between the Conservatives and Labour are defined and stark; its importance cannot be overstated, the magnitude of the choice is immense, the responsibility on us all, great. Everyone must vote, particularly those under 30 years of age, who routinely don’t bother. If, as the polls suggest, we end up with a hung parliament, Conservative extremism would be held in check, debate and cooperation encouraged. If, and it’s a big if, Labour takes it, the atmosphere and direction of the country would be changed immeasurably for the good, and the World would have taken a small, but enormously significant step in the right direction.
Graham Peebles is a freelance writer. His collected essays are at www.grahampeebles.org. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
[DS added the video reports.]
Corbyn: War on Terror is not Working – We Need a New Solution
TheRealNews on May 28, 2017
Kam Sandhu of Real Media UK, says that Corbyn has opened up a conversation in the UK that many people want to have but they have been under siege with ongoing terror attacks.
UK Election Polls Tighten to Three Points Between May and Corbyn
TheRealNews on May 31, 2017
Tom Barlow, co-founder of Real Media, talks about how Britain’s June 8 general election race is tightening between Labour and Tories and how the mainstream British media is losing credibility in the process.
Updated: June 1, 2017
Poll Finds British Agree that UK Foreign Policy Contributes to Terrorism
TheRealNews on Jun 1, 2017
Thomas Barlow, co-founder of Real Media, analyzes latest poll results in light of UK foreign policy, the Manchester bombing, and Sunday’s general election.
from the archives:
Why Would Anyone Vote Conservative in the UK Election? by Graham Peebles
Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald: What if All Victims of War Received the Media Attention of Manchester Victims? + Criminalizing WikiLeaks is a Threat to Journalists
John Pilger: The Manchester Concert Attack, Trump, Saudi Arabia and WikiLeaks
Britain’s Corbyn Bravely Makes the Case for Socialism by Finian Cunningham + Corbyn on Labour’s Defence and Foreign Policy Priorities
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A former senior tutor (an amazing woman) for my PGCE (Post Grad Cert Education) here in the UK back 2004 when I was a mature student at Plymouth Uni, sent me this the other day:
A friend of mine sent me his thoughts about why people should vote for Corbyn; Have a read:
A lot of people think that Corbyn will be pretty useless negotiating with the EU. May has made it clear she’s adopting a hard line with 27 countries. Corbyn is used to negotiating and there will be some countries (Greece?) who want him to succeed.
All I’ve ever heard from people, for years, is
“bloody bankers and their bonuses”
“bloody rich and their offshore tax havens ”
“bloody politicians with their lying and second homes”
“bloody corporations paying less tax than me”
“bloody Establishment, they’re all in it together”
“it’ll never change, there’s no point in voting”
And quite rightly so, I said all the same things.
But then someone comes along that’s different. He upsets the bankers and the rich.
The Tory politicians hate him along with most of the labour politicians. The corporations throw more money at the politicians to keep him quiet. And the Establishment is visibly shaken. I’ve never seen the Establishment so genuinely scared of a single person.
So ~ the media arm of the establishment gets involved. Theresa phones Rupert asking what he can do, and he tells her to keep her mouth shut, don’t do the live debate, he’ll sort this out. So the media goes into overdrive with…
“she’s strong and stable”
“he’s a clown”
“he’s not a leader”
“look he can’t even control his own party”
“he’ll ruin the economy”
“how’s he gonna pay for it all?!”
“AND he’s a terrorist sympathiser, burn him, burn the terrorist sympathiser”
And what do we do? We’ve waited forever for an honest politician to come along but instead of getting behind him we bow to the establishment like good little workers. They whistle and we do a little dance for them.
We run around like hypnotised robots repeating headlines we’ve read, all nodding and agreeing. Feeling really proud of ourselves because we think we’ve came up with our very own first political opinion. But we haven’t, we haven’t came up with anything. This is how you tell. No matter where someone lives in the country, they’re repeating the same headlines, word for word. From Cornwall to Newcastle people are saying
“he’s a clown”
“he’s a threat to the country”
“she’s strong and stable”
“he’ll take us back to the 70s”
And there’s nothing else, there’s no further opinion. There’s no evidence apart from 1 radio 5 interview that isn’t even concrete evidence, he actually condemns the violence of both sides in the interview. There’s no data or studies or official reports to back anything up. Try and think really hard why you think he’s a clown, other than the fact he looks like a geography teacher. (no offence geography teachers) Because he hasn’t done anything clownish from what I’ve seen.
And you’re not on this planet if you think the establishment and the media aren’t all in it together.
You think Richard Branson, who’s quietly winning NHS contracts, wants Corbyn in?
You think Rupert Murdoch, who’s currently trying to widen his media monopoly by buying Sky outright, wants Jeremy in?
You think the Barclay brothers, with their offshore residencies, want him in?
You think Philip Green, who stole all the pensions from BHS workers and claims his wife owns topshop because she lives in Monaco, wants Corbyn in?
You think the politicians, both Labour and Tory, with their second homes and alcohol paid for by us, want him in?
You think Starbucks, paying near zero tax, wants him in?
You think bankers, with their multi million pound bonuses, want him in?
And do you think they don’t have contact with May? Or with the media? You honestly think that these millionaires and billionaires are the sort of people that go “ah well, easy come easy go, it was nice while it lasted”?? I wouldn’t be if my personal fortune was at risk, I’d be straight on the phone to Theresa May or Rupert Murdoch demanding this gets sorted immediately.
Because here’s a man, a politician that doesn’t lie, he can’t lie, he could have said whatever would get him votes anytime he wanted but he hasn’t. He lives in a normal house like us and uses the bus just like us.
He’s fought for justice and peace for nearly 40 years. He has no career ambitions. And his seat is untouchable. That’s one of the greatest testimonies. No one comes close to removing him from his constituency, election after election.
His Manifesto is fully costed. It all adds up, yes there’s some borrowing but that’s just to re-nationalise the railway, you know we already subsidise them and they make profit yeah? One more time… WE subsidise the railway companies and they walk away with a profit, just try and grasp the level of piss-taking going on there. Unlike the Tory manifesto with a £9 billion hole, their figures don’t even add up.
And it benefits all of us, young, old, working, disabled, everyone.
The only people it hurts are the establishment, the rich, the bankers, the top 5% highest earners.
So, will the youth and others who normally not participate in elections turn out to vote? I hope so for you and the rest of the world.
Quite a few people seem to think May’s flat refusal to participate in debate, is a tactic to destroy Labour completely; to see them elected in the short term and utterly ruined forever by a catastrophic ‘Brexit’ fiasco.
If that were true, it would be a profoundly dangerous manoeuvre, that might just rebound with dire consequences for the ‘Sky-Blue’ gang.
I’d like to see a really big turn-out especially among the young; Corbyn as PM could be a serious counterweight to Macron, and very good for Europe, if he can work intelligently with Merkel..
We are at a dramatic cusp characterized by the disintegration/breakdown of the Atlantic Charter and the emergence of a new type of world. Personally I’d like to envision a cosmopolitan revolution, that will witness the truly ecological global ‘silk route’ civilization that China is proposing.
Also, the UK Commonwealth of 52 Nations will have a significant role in this emerging green~gold planetary culture.
The US is finished as a belligerent, reactionary ‘super-power.’ Felicity Arbuthnot makes abundantly clear in her peerless analysis, that bombing our way into the future is a cruel, vicious psychopathic delusion of epic proportions.
As Noël Coward charmingly phrased it ~ only “Mad Dogs” and Englishmen go out in the midday Sun….
PS I wrote Corbin in error ~ interestingly that is the usual French spelling…it certainly has a finer ring to it than ‘Farage’ that chimes with barrage.
All corrected now. 🙂
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