The election is less than 3 weeks away.
Labour are significantly behind in the polls and the mainstream media are doing their usual tactics of ridiculing Corbyn, and painting the tories in a glorious light; despite two disastrous performances by Johnson on the leaders debates. Not to mention a week full of fake news skulduggery by the tories.
It’s enough to make you want to give up hope.
9 years of austerity, services stretched to beyond their limit, with the final nail in the privatisation coffin of the NHS hanging over us.
The U.K. electorate should be fired up. We should be ready to kick the tories out. In normal times we probably would be. But in the last 4 years have seen an extraordinary rollercoaster. We are now on our third election, not to mention the big referendum, and third Prime Minister. The public are saturated with politics.
A December election is unusual, and inconvenient.
The media are resorting to hostile tactics.
They call Corbyn a ‘Marxist’, a ‘terrorist sympathiser’, a ‘Russian spy’. The list is endless and the media are relentless.
Here we have a radical Labour manifesto published yesterday. Built on hope. The light at the end of this dark political tunnel. It speaks of ambitious but realistic plans of not just ending austerity but of smashing it to pieces with large investment and nationalisation in public services.
Surely this is what people want? But the media have convinced people that it’s laughable and ‘communist.’ And they can vote for ‘ anyone but Corbyn’. He’s so weak and unelectable, so much s that the BBC has to mute the chants of his supporters outside the studios tonight…
I have really felt like giving up hope. 2017 offered a glimmer of something but the constant media smears and the headbanging frustration of Brexit has worn me down.
I told myself not to get my hopes up with this election. And just to hide away from all coverage of the election.
But then I remembered something. I spotted an old newspaper front page and it reminded me that isn’t the first time a potential Labour government proposed something radical, and it’s not the first time the media laughed it off.
It happened right before Labour were elected on a landslide and started the construction of the very “socialist, radical” idea of the NHS and welfare state. The media states that people were terrified of the prospect of the NHS, as it would “bankrupt us”, “never work”, and that state ownership would mean “controlling everything we do”.
Does this sound familiar?
The similarities don’t end there.
The Labour government of 1945 with its’ Keynesian economics and The Beveridge Report of 1942, painted a picture of radical change to post-war Britain. It set out plans for the Welfare State, something which the Tories clearly opposed, favouring instead austerity over grand public spending. This, even after 14 years of events starting with the Great Depression of 1931, austerity and a World War that plunged many of the poor into even worse conditions, proves that the Tories were out of touch then with the public desire for a change and are still out of touch now, over 70 years later. Back then the media called them ‘ gestapos’, ‘ socialists’ and opposed Labour’s plans at every single opportunity.
A similar turn of events has happened in recent times with the Global Crash of 2008 and subsequent recession led to the conservatives excuse for the introduction of crippling austerity in 2010.
Since then homelessness has doubled, use of food banks increased daily, wages stagnated and many public services are in crisis, National Debt has increased to the trillions and we still have a deficit, with Tory deadlines to clear it off being extended and extended.
Following the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Crash, Keynesian economics was brought up again with many saying that if it had been followed throughout the last 40 years, the Crash could have been avoided.
But it was caused by the over inflation and free market economics, much like 1931. Keynesian economics would have controlled the over inflation that preceded the 2008 crash and would have opposed austerity measures that followed. Keynesianism works on the belief that economic demand determines economic output, in other words the more the public are willing and able to spend, the better the economy will perform; which is the opposite of Neoliberalism.
Today we see that austerity has not reduced the debt. The UN even called austerity a political choice and found it to be ‘ cruel’ and yet the government were quite happy to continue with it while spending generously when it suited them with the £1 billion DUP deal, and promoting a Halloween Brexit that never happened. So how long can the notion of austerity and neoliberalism limp on for?
After the rollercoaster year we have had in UK politics, with Brexit looming and then delayed, we now have the manifesto of hope and an opportunity to implement it . With its vision of an end to austerity; a universal social care system, free education for adults and grand ideas of reinvestment into public services we are being given that glimmer of hope in the same way that the Beveridge Report of 1942 probably gave the public all those years ago.
The creation of NHS and the Welfare State provided an antidote to years of austerity and changed the social and economic landscape of the UK for the better, and I’m certain that if given the chance, Corbyn’s vision would do the same for generations to come.
So, what comes next? Are we heading for a similar fate we did all those years ago when Labour were ridiculed by the press and then shocked them with a landslide.
At face value when I look around me I think ‘no chance’. How can we ever come up against that amount of hostility.
But the optimist in me however, would like to think that we are on the brink of a radical change for the better, not just with this election but for the future to come and that it is only matter of time before Neoliberalism is finally exposed for what it really is – greed under the guise of economic philosophy.
And maybe, just maybe we could take the right path at this enormous crossroads.