Theresa May entered the general election promising to be a strong and stable leader but is now reliant on the deeply reactionary DUP to govern, after one of the biggest own goals in British political history. Her government will be deeply unstable and can be defeated.
One reason why she can be defeated is that the scale of enthusiasm generated for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour message during the General Election campaign – especially amongst younger voters – was stunning and can provide a base to build on and change the direction of British politics for years to come.
Labour’s electoral gains under Jeremy’s leadership were a remarkable achievement considering what he has faced over the last two years since he declared he was running for Labour leader.
This is true both in terms of daily media attacks, and sadly also in terms of those from within his own party who consistently attacked his leadership, including by carrying out a divisive and drawn out coup attempt followed by a damaging second leadership contest last year.
The 40.1 per cent national share of the vote for Labour under Jeremy last week surpasses the levels secured by Tony Blair in 2005, the last time Labour won a majority at a general election, and the result is the third best share of the vote for Labour since 1974.
Astonishingly, the increase of 9.7 per cent in Labour’s share of the vote since the 2015 election is the greatest such increase since 1945. Corbyn has added 3.45 million Labour votes since 2015.
The reason for these steps forward is because of both our democratic socialist policy platform and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and accompanying straight talking, honest politics.
The removal of either of these factors in the last two years would have meant Labour was far less successful.
The party’s 128-page ‘For the Many’ manifesto for the election, including redistributive tax plans and a pledge to bring back into public ownership the railways, royal mail and water, was unashamedly radical but also clearly based on a coherent alternative economic strategy of investment not cuts.
This was in contrast to the 2015 General Election when we went in with an economic strategy of “austerity lite” despite many of Ed Milliband’s progressive and positive policy suggestions.
But the reality is that Britain’s economy needs a radical change of direction to a more balanced and higher investment economy in order to resolve both long-term structural problems and be ready to faces the economic challenges ahead following last year’s EU Referendum.
Under Thatcher and Blair, the number of people working in finance went from 2% to 8% of the workforce but, at the same time, we lost 6m jobs in manufacturing.
This had consequences for our society not just the economy. Those who once had secure, well-paid jobs now skimp by on zero-hours contracts and their kids have no hope of being able to buy a home because of the continuation of Thatcher’s policy of not building council homes.
Jeremy understood these problems, and he John McDonnell and others came up with an economic alternative that has both rejuvenated the Labour Party and galvanised voters.
I grew up in a post-war Britain where things got better, but now more and more people are struggling, whether that be to buy or rent a home, get a secure job or get the social care they need.
Faced with this situation, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is the only party to offer a way out of our economic stagnation: massive investment to modernise our transport, upgrade our broadband to match the speed you get in the Far East, and, most important of all, build a million new homes.
This alternative economic strategy will create at least a million new jobs, taking people off benefits, increasing government income and reducing our debt, not by austerity but by sound growth.
When the state invests in infrastructure then business also invests, as we saw after we invested in London when I was Mayor.
But it is not just economics that lies behind Labour’s steps forward.
Jeremy comes over as a regular, nice guy who says what he thinks. After years of MPs mouthing the platitudes of their spin doctors, Jeremy’s straight talking is why he has won over voters from all the other parties and motivated people to vote for the first time.
If I didn’t think Jeremy could win votes for Labour, I wouldn’t have supported him when he ran for leader, because my kids need a Labour government if they are to have the opportunities that my generation took for granted.
We should be absolutely clear that we can defeat the Tories weak and wobbly ‘coalition of chaos’ with the DUP and Jeremy Corbyn can be the Prime Minister. We owe it to our children to change the direction of Britain – let’s make it happen.
First published on WriteYou.co.uk