Last week the draft manifesto was leaked and following this sneak peak the national press was chomping at the bit to see how many of the policies revealed in the leak would make it into the final cut. Yesterday we got the answer. Labour has embraced a new level of radicalism which will differentiate the party from the Conservatives. At a speech in Bradford, Jeremy Corbyn unveiled the Labour Party’s general election manifesto and it is full of left-wing policies that will seriously address the root cause of many of the socio-economic problems that face the country.
The presidential election is undoubtedly more important than the elections to the French Parliament, but that doesn’t mean that Senators and Deputies are totally powerless. For lefties like myself, the idea of a neoliberal like Emmanuel Macron, a right-wing Thatcherite like François Fillon, or a neo-fascist like Marine Le Pen is not something that we are desperate to see. This being the case, the Left needs to capture a significant proportion of the vote in the parliamentary elections. The limited powers not in the purview of the Executive can be used to guard against the ideological excesses that will follow the election of any of these individuals to the Presidency.
The Labour Party exists to represent the working people of Britain. It’s founders, inspired by socialist thinkers throughout the ages, wished for ordinary people should be represented in the corridors of power. For many years they were successful in doing this, however although the years of New Labour put the party into government, working people felt abandoned. The difficulties that the Labour Party currently face are in part because of this feeling of abandonment. Labour need to change tack so that they can return to government whilst also sticking to their socialist principles. The example I shall take is how Labour should approach the business community.
With Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro dead and buried, I think it’s time to review the regime he led for 50 years. Although many people have now come up with very firm opinions on what Fidel Castro did in Cuba, the one thing that all these views have in common is that despite their often violently different conclusions, all are devoid of all nuance. People on Left have started to talk about how he guaranteed healthcare and education to all Cuban citizens as well as Castro’s commitment to internationalism, and people on the Right have decried the Cuban regime’s use of torture and arbitrary detention. There are two things that need to be examined: Castro’s record in isolation; and the hypocrisy of some right-wing critics.
In order to win elections political parties need to market their message in a way that is palatable to different sections of the electorate. The grand folly of political strategists is that they presume that voters think in accordance with a deeply-held political ideology. Naturally there are some who have sculpted their ideological views based on reading philosophy, but I contend that the majority of voters cast their ballots based on their gut instinct about broad abstract concepts such as what is ‘right’ or ‘fair’, alongside what is in their material best interest. People evaluate issues individually and on their merits.
Theresa May has said that “Brexit means Brexit” which is delightfully insightful, but all the Tory Brexit fever has built up Britain’s position in the world to an delusional level. Figures like Boris Johnson and Liam Fox have argued that the EU will have to treat Britain favorably because it is in their economic interest to do so, however I believe that the current stand-off between Britain and the rest of the EU is illustrative of an impasse they didn’t count upon. The EU will not allow Britain to have a good deal because this would galvanise Eurosceptic movements in other member states. Britain needs to change the dynamic by doing something much more radical.
A few hours ago Jeremy Corbyn won re-election as Labour leader with an increased majority. In 2015 the Islington North MP won in a landslide with 59.5% of the vote, and in this election he won 61.8%. His raw vote increased from just over 250,000 to over 313,000 votes. But this is no time for triumphalism. If the more right-wing sections of the Labour party genuinely want to unite and take the fight to the Tories then there is one area to focus upon: policy. The policies of Corbyn have been framed by the press as unbelievably left-wing that would lead to the creation of a Marxist-Leninist hell-hole. In reality many of his policies are standard centre-left stuff that these MPs should love.