If official opinion polls are to be believed Theresa May is heading for a landslide on June 8 with a 24 point poll lead and a majority of between 140 and 160 in the House of Commons. If she wins the argument that we need ” stable and strong leadership ” to push through Brexit and every leaver in Britain vote for her – especially in England and Wales – she should in theory increase her share of the vote to 52 per cent and take seats like Sunderland and Stoke, leave Labour on a wafer thin majority in Newcastle and win back seats in London. She could then dream of having a 200 majority and reducing Labour to a rump party.
But will this happen? Jeremy Corbyn is certainly not starting from a good place.
Ever since he has been elected twice as leader he has been vilified in the mainstream media. When he was first elected some colleagues in the Parliamentary lobby thought he would not last a week and have had a mind set since that he shouldn’t have survived.
The image of him alternates between a dangerous Leftie and too weak to run the country. He can’t actually be both or he wouldn’t be dangerous. The divisions inside the Parliamentary Party culminating in no candidate of substance standing against him in the second leadership election have done a lot of damage with the electorate. And the obvious division between him and the elected deputy leader, Tom Watson, have not helped and don’t seem to have been mended on either side.
He was also put in an impossible position by Theresa May’s snap decision to call a general election. If he had opposed it the national media would have said he is frit to face the voters, if he supported it they would say as the SNP already has that it was like ” turkeys voting for Christmas.”
Nor do I see the solution at the moment in getting a new right wing electable leader as a panacea – whoever leads the Labour Party will get a rotten press from the Daily Mail and the Sun.And it won’t depend on the policies either. Look at the more muted response from the tabloids to the idea of capping energy bills when it is a Tory leader who suggests it – as opposed to Ed Miliband.
He also has a problem from the unpopular policies by some right wing Labour councils – which could paint a worse picture for him on May 4. Two of the Labour run authorities – Durham and Derbyshire – are in areas where Labour have decided to make huge cuts in the salaries of their natural supporters – teacher assistants- who are already on low salaries. The cuts in the name of equal pay have infuriated voters in Derby and Durham – and I would not be surprised to see Labour lose seats in these strongholds. Indeed some of the teacher assistants in Durham I talked to at the Labour conference were planning to vote Liberal Democrat in the local elections and support Jeremy Corbyn in a general election.
And recent Labour council seats lost by Labour to the Tories have included Salford – where the Labour council backed a development by a millionaire ex footballer to build luxury flats leading to a split vote when a residents association fought the seat. It split the vote and let the Tories win. And Labour controlled Southwark , Lambeth and Haringey are unpopular with council tenants for allowing redevelopments which will deprive local people of their homes and boost the income of foreign buyers.
So it my mind given the horrendous state of the NHS, social housing, social care, schools, transport, benefit cuts and the failure of many privatisation projects both in Whitehall and the NHS the only way Jeremy Corbyn can go is a populist anti Establishment campaign – aimed at first at the core vote to highlight the state of the country.
If he can get that message over plus a commitment to do something about it the very least it will do is to prevent such a big Tory landslide. The best would be an astonishing turn around – by convincing some of the disillusioned young voters, floating voters, and people with a conscience about growing inequality – and put the present triumphant Tories on the back foot.
While Brexit will also dominate the campaign – this is likely to be more of a battle between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats – with the Lib Dems threatening Tories to take back seats the Tories took from them in 2015.
So for Jeremy Corbyn it won’t be easy but when you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you have no choice but to take the biggest risks.
The risk too far appears to be the idea that he might explain to Liz Davies what he knows about the cover-up of sexual abuse of children in his constituency in the care of Islington Council. Until he’s prepared to bite that bullet, he’s worthless.
Oddly Owen, you are being selective, a report from the London’s Evening Standard described Islington care system been penetrated by paedophiles that the council had abysmally failed to care for scores of children. The council, then led by Margaret Hodge, later appointed by Blair as the country’s first Minister for Children, initially condemned the stories, for which Davies and several other social workers acted as anonymous whistle-blowers. The real question you need to ask yourself is why the then council leader Ms Hodge condemned the whistle-blowers? If you have difficulty, there is plenty of sites on the Internet that shed a light on the matter.
As for Jeremy, as you should be aware that Labour MP’s can have strained relations with their constituency parties and Labour run councils. The person you should be challenging is the then Leader of the Council.
Like Corbyn Margaret Hodge failed the children in Islington’s care. But she isn’t leading the party or asking to be considered fit to lead the country. Even if Corbyn had strained relations with Hodge, did that incapacitate him from standing up for the children whose fate Hodge wasn’t interested in?
And his relations with Derek Sawyer, Hodge’s successor as Leader, responsible for the anonymised White Report (and incidentally Derek Slade’s friend and business partner), must have been good enough to allow the issue to be raised between them – Sawyer acted as his constituency agent for long enough. Or was Corbyn not strong enough to challenge Sawyer either?
If Corbyn wouldn’t stick his neck out for the children of Islington, why should we imagine he’d stick his head out for any of the rest of us when push comes to shove?
Ah didn’t labour lose a lot of their council seats but got to be elected. What the tv papers don’t show Corbyn has made the tories about turn on thirty two policy’s while he is being stabbed in the back. They say he’s not a leader but he’s shown the strength to be a great leader for the people of Britain
The first two comments reflect the pointlessness of the blog. We have an evil government, attacking vulnerable people on almost every front. The only question is how we can defeat them and reinstate the basic values of kindness and community that Corbyn stands for. Talking about rocks and hard places is irrelevant and a waste of time.
Kindness and community is as kindness and community does.
Disappointed in you David Hencke.
Can Corbyn turn it around? Yes he can.
Theresa May has 5 big policies to tackle the big issues:-
1. Scrap the EU Convention on Human Rights.
2. Decimate pensions, benefits, welfare, education and the NHS.
3. Cosy up to Trump, Saudis & Erdogan.
4. Roll out the red carpet tax perks and freebies for big money/corporations.
5 Pursue hard Brexit and alienate all our EU neighbours
I think I’ll take Corbyn’s 4 bank holidays, Oh, and all his very sound policies supporting human and civil rights, welfare and social justice.
Thanks for your comment. I am in favour of Corbyn winning because he was democratically elected leader twice by party members and I agree with all the points you made. What I was pointing out it will be a tough struggle against a largely hostile media and has not been helped by some right wing Labour councils who happen to be facing elections on May 4 who are cutting wages of staff etc. That’s why I argued he needs to run an anti-establishment campaign so people know what he stands for.