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Jul
2017
Sunday 9th
posted by Morning Star in Features

IAN LAVERY looks forward to the overthrow of the Tories


IN THE last few months, British politics has changed beyond all recognition. For the first time since 1979 the two main parties in the country took a combined share of the vote of over 80 per cent.

Ukip crawled back into the belly of the beast from whence they came and the Lib Dems were further squeezed into obscurity.

Theresa May called the election seeking a landslide — but more than that. The Prime Minister sought the prize of destroying the Labour Party as an entity. She sought to sow division among her enemies and to drive her destructive agenda forward unopposed.

Sadly for May she proved not to live up to the hype. The Tories tried to build an almost personality cult-like presidential campaign around her leadership.

This was bound for failure when the public realised that the supposedly strong and stable Prime Minister was not only weak and wobbly, but feeble and frit.

Her failure to debate with Jeremy Corbyn head to head saw her branded a coward and her campaign U-turns were embarrassing.

Her awkward, robotic performances seemed to come to a head when interviewed by a local reporter in Plymouth who saw his questions answered with tired and stale soundbites.

The failure of the “presidential campaign” was such that the Conservatives ended up doing a full rebrand in the middle of the campaign.

No longer was May spelled out in foot-high lettering with a telescope needed to see the word Conservative.

Not increasing the majority by 50 would have been seen as a failure, losing their majority entirely was a disaster.

But this was not simply a disastrous campaign from May. Labour’s positive message chimed with a huge section of the public left behind and seeking hope.

Corbyn saw his star rise exponentially and the fractious Parliamentary Labour Party pulled behind a manifesto that gave hope to millions of people.

The manifesto is perhaps the most bold since 1945 and saw the largest increase in the Labour vote since that landslide year. It has given the party a new sense of purpose.

Not only do we now have the opportunity to oppose a disastrous Tory government but to offer a positive alternative to an electorate sick of austerity and cuts.

Corbyn energised a section of the population which has been alienated from electoral politics for a generation. The numbers of young people who went out to vote for the first time and those who had not voted in a generation was decisive in the election.

Having spent the campaign deriding Corbyn, May’s desire to cling desperately to power has been embodied by her very own coalition of chaos.

Her £1 billion-plus bung to buy off the fundamentalist Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland throws the Good Friday Agreement into peril.

Their legislative programme would be threadbare in a one-year Parliament let alone a two-year period.

Rumours of a vote-by-vote deal with the Lib Dems to prop up this zombie government gather pace following their failure last week to support a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech to end austerity.

Any part of May’s coalition of chaos will continue the self-immolation of that once strong opposition party.

The election result has brought fresh talent to the Labour benches and a fresh optimism about the future.

Many previously sceptical MPs now see a path to power and have now bought in to the Corbyn project.

We are now a serious government in waiting with the policies and the offer to transform Britain for everyone.

Despite warm words from some quarters, last week’s chaotic performance by the government on the public-sector pay cap shows the Tories still hold working people in contempt.

They found £1bn to prop up their sagging government but refuse to give firefighters, nurses and teachers a proper rise.

Winning Canterbury and Portsmouth South for the first time ever took the headlines but there were unwritten successes too.

In Scotland we returned six members of Parliament at a time when many still believed the SNP to be invincible. We have created a swathe of new marginal seats that show a real path back to power.

The Labour Party is now on a permanent campaign footing. We all have a job to do winning back support in communities that may have deserted us and convincing those still sceptical that Labour can deliver a future fit for everyone where nobody is left behind.

The spirit embodied by the Durham Miners’ Gala is the spirit that will carry the Labour Party to power. The messages of solidarity and social justice that adorn the banners still hold true today. One of my personal favourites is extremely apt.

“The past we inherit, the future we build.” For the many, not the few.

Ian Lavery is MP for Wansbeck and former president of the National Union of Mineworkers.




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