This was a pleasant surprise: The Guardian has come out in support of Labour winning the general election.
And the points made in the paper’s editorial today (June 3) are very good. Here, the paper rubbishes the Conservatives [:
The Conservatives do not deserve our vote. Their claim that they will use the power of the state to help people and promise to raise the living wage, build affordable housing and deal with spiralling energy prices is a welcome development but one not matched by their policies. Their uncosted manifesto is a diversion from the consistently callous and negligent record in office. This has seen food banks become a feature of our communities, seen school budgets cut for the first time for 20 years and left patients waiting longer than ever in hospitals that are mired in deficits. Tory economics has created a new working class of people with jobs but in poverty. Instead of being serious about rebuilding the public finances without loading the costs on to the poor, the Tory party wants to bring back foxhunting and ask new mothers who have been raped for verification if they wish to claim benefits for more than two children.
The Conservatives have also opted for an overtly hardline approach on Brexit – driving their support with a false claim that Britain is under attack by either internal or external enemies. It ends up with the Tories promoting the worst possible outcome for Brexit Britain: walking away from the EU without a deal and an immigration policy that will undermine growth not create it. This would be a disaster for all of us, cutting us off from our biggest export market and neighbours with whom there are bonds of common endeavour. It is the intertwining of austerity with a hard Brexit that renders the Conservatives unfit for office. The Tory plan to win the election was for it to be a presidential contest, one centred on personalities rather than policies. The idea was to present Theresa May as a strong leader who would be better at getting a good deal for Britain from Brussels than Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn. She chose to hold an unnecessary election for which there was no appetite.
Her campaign has been grimly negative and entirely joyless. Her jumpy U-turn on her social care proposals revealed Mrs May to be a poor judge of campaign tactics. It was especially foolish because it was presented as part of an intergenerational conflict over shrinking resources. Mrs May is reluctant to risk much interaction with voters and is evasive with journalists. Her failure to call out Donald Trump’s destructive impulse over the climate change accord speaks volumes.
And here, it praises Labour:
Labour’s leader has had a good campaign. He has been energetic and effective on the stump, comfortable in his own skin and in the presence of others. He clearly likes people and is interested in them. He has generated an unfamiliar sense of the possible; once again, people are excited by politics. The campaign itself has been unexpectedly strategic, based on a manifesto adroitly pitched both at energising Labour’s base and the under-35s, who have responded with rare enthusiasm. That manifesto quickened political pulses. It’s not perfect – it over-emphasises the state and fails to tackle Tory benefit cuts – but it is a genuine attempt to address a failing social and economic model. In many ways, it is a painful reminder of how much of our collective sense of social justice and community spirit has been lost since 2010. Labour has set the terms of the political debate: most notably with a Keynesian response of increasing public investment, and increasing public spending financed by higher taxes, to stimulate the economy so that the country ends up wealthier than anything proposed under Tory plans.
In talking about the big questions – about the inequality of wealth and power – in moral terms, of what is right and wrong, Mr Corbyn is on to something resonant, something common, something good.
Most pundits think the voters will repudiate Mr Corbyn’s Labour party. They may do so. But Mr Corbyn has shown that the party might be the start of something big rather than the last gasp of something small. On 8 June, Labour deserves our vote.
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