The last six years have been fairly dispiriting for Labour who had probably resigned themselves to as similarly a lengthy period in opposition as the Conservatives had before 2010. Instead what this unexpected General Election has provided is a foundation upon which to build. Instead of waiting another three years for glimmers of something like that they have it now- and in quite a big way. While all eyes are on Brexit, Labour has a chance to secure the support they have won this time- especially with younger voters- and develop the ideas in their manifesto further.
There is no doubt what they offered struck a chord with quite a lot of people. Some- and I include myself in this- felt initially it was some sort of time travel guide to take the country back in time. Instead Jeremy Corbyn and co seem to have found what many thought was impossible- a genuine alternative to this government’s often slippery programme. If all Labour do now is tear up this manifesto and turn on themselves again it will be for nothing. If they use yesterday’s results as the start of something then they can only gain momentum (with a small m) and start to advance further. Remember too that if Brexit turns out to be a harbinger of bad times and economic woes then the Tories will take the blame.
That should not however excuse Labour form harassing them all the way. Labour’s complicity in much of the Conservative- Lib Dem’s austerity coalition cost them dearly in 2015. However `reasonable` it sounds simply agreeing with the government all the time gives the impression you have no ideas of your own so why should people bother to vote for you?. Someone told me recently that the 2017 Labour manifesto is not that different from the 2015 one – the difference this time must be in the delivery.
It cannot be understated what a good politician Jeremy Corbyn has proved himself to be. Two years ago few outside the Labour party world had heard of him. Since then he has won the Labour leadership, won a challenge to that leadership with even more support and proved himself to be popular with swathes of the voting public. This despite the fact that he ticks few of the boxes we are always told are essential in this televisual communications age. Watching him explain the thinking behind Labour’s key policies I felt he was a real communicator of a type not seen amongst any parties’ leader in 20 years. You really felt that if the near impossible had happened and Labour had actually won he would have been a fine Prime Minister. He may yet get another chance though if this government does run for a full five years he’ll be well into his 70s by then.
As for Theresa May she has proven herself anything but “strong and stable”. Her calling the election in the first place, then having it centred around herself ( she even referred to “my manifesto”) and then including a social care policy that would rile several generations at once seems like a list of what someone in her position would not do under any circumstances. She appears to share her predecessor’s `ability` to always make the wrong decision…. Tory supporters must be pulling their hair out! She is lucky to still be PM – Brexit has saved her for now- but you’d be a bold punter to bet on her still being in place by the time we’ve left the EU.