Reboot 2017: A General Election blog

 

The fight of our lives is on – for a society fit for all

Part 1: The Announcement – and why Corbyn’s Labour is taking the bull by the horns

 

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There was a menacing vibe afoot on the morning of Tuesday 18 April, when UK media outlets revealed that Theresa May had some big news for us all.

This announcement of an announcement caused many to fear a declaration of nuclear war, such is Britain’s current sense of strength and stability. The end of the world seemed much more likely than the news she actually came out with, given her previous, well-repeated insistences about The Thing That Was Definitely Not Going To Happen.

Me, I got out of bed late, stumbled to the computer for my morning Zuckerberg mind-heroin, and discovered my Facebook friends in a state of high alert. Clicking to The Guardian’s front page, I came face-to-screen with an image of sheer dread.

A grey wind was blowing in front of a grey wall, and there stood a grey haired lady, talking out of a grey face. Grey words blew in the wind, which distorted them into a ghastly sound – part robot, part Wicked Witch of the West. (Though possibly this was down to an issue with The Guardian’s sound recording equipment, as her audio was much more human-like on the BBC’s footage.)

And that’s how we found out we’re going to be having a general election! And that nothing will ever be the same again. After 8 June, life in the UK will either get an awful lot better, or an awful lot worse.

As you remember, it was up for vote in the Commons the next day because, since Cameron brought in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act in 2011, the government can only uproot itself and hurl itself into the eye of an early general election hurricane if at least two-thirds of the house agree to that crazy old thing happening.

Labour could so easily have prevented this election from going ahead, and there was much to be gained by doing nothing. If they’d voted against, with at least 21 Tory MPs currently subject to criminal investigation for electoral fraud in the 2015 general election, the Tories would likely have lost their working majority – currently only 17 – should those MPs be found guilty, and thus either barred from political office for three years, or sent to jail.

With the Tories in possession of this much rope, why didn’t Labour sit back and accept what could have been a series of easy gains? With their old MPs disgraced, and from a known criminal gang, by-election voters might be inclined to choose another party. Yet Corbyn welcomed the opportunity of this new contest.

As the champion of the outside chance, he’s not one to be daunted. His electability is a proven and re-proven fact; he’s been being elected for 34 years. But this isn’t just self-belief. This is belief in his party, its principles, and what it can achieve for Britain.

In terms of its membership, Labour is the biggest political party in Western Europe. Jeremy Corbyn has been prepared to fight a snap general election since early 2016. He hit the ground running with ten beautifully thought-out Pledges to Transform Britain and went straight out on the campaign trail, speaking at public events in eight towns and cities within four days of the announcement. He even had time to read We’re Going On a Bear Hunt to some kids in a children’s centre.

On the other side, May has been dragging her kitten heels, reciting the phrase “strong and stable leadership” as though it actually means something, and appearing at staged faux-rallies full of rent-a-Tories and no members of the public allowed in, like this one in Leeds.

You would think the choice would be obvious to voters, but since most of the media is suffering from an aching bias towards the establishment that funds it, it’s up to us to set the record straight. We can be our own media, and there are many more of us than there are of them. This is the fight of our lives, and the game is ON.

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