Labour’s Leaked Manifesto: Will it Transform your Life?
Described as “a cornucopia of delights” by Polly Toynbee and as a the “longest suicide note” by the Daily Mail, Labour’s leaked manifesto challenges Tories’ policies, gives power to the unions and enforces wage caps on businesses. A source called it as "Ed Miliband's manifesto with hard left hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top".
Corbyn’s 43-page document, with its pledges to nationalise industries, abolish tuition fees, improve workers’ rights, increase minimum wage to £10 an hour and set a legal limit to businesses’ earnings was seen as taking Britain back to the 1970s. Corbyn, however, declared that his election manifesto would “transform the lives” of Britons. It is regarded as the most left-wing programme for a UK government since Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto.
Talking to reporters after a meeting with the shadow cabinet and Labour’s governing national executive committee on Thursday, Corbyn said:
“Our manifesto will be an offer and we believe the policies in it are very popular – an offer that will transform the lives of many people in our society and ensure that we have a government in Britain on 8 June that will work for the many, not the few, and give everyone in our society a decent opportunity and a decent chance, so nobody’s ignored, nobody’s forgotten and nobody’s left behind.”
The director of the think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, described Corbyn’s pledges as the most radical in decades: “This is about the state getting deeply involved in much more of the private sector than it has been, certainly since the 1970s, and perhaps since the 1940s, with respect to, say, telling banks which branches they can’t close; setting minimum wages for a quarter of private sector workers and about 60% of young people, and dramatically increasing labour regulation. All of those things are utterly different from anything we’ve experienced in many, many decades.”
The manifesto proposes to create new local energy providers, undo Conservatives’ cuts to school budgets and cap rents for tenants. The final document and detailed costs will be published early next week. It is argued that £57bn will be raised through measures and an extra £55bn will be used for spending. The extra spending will be financed by raising taxes on company profits and on the top 5% of earners. Infrastructure projects and investment would be financed through borrowing.
ComRes survey shows support for Labour’s manifesto
A poll conducted by ComRes and published in the Daily Mirror shows support for Labour’s manifesto, especially for plans to renationalise energy, create taxes for the highest earners and cap the pension age rise. While the majority of voters don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is capable of being a strong candidate to be Prime Minister (56%), they found the majority of his promises to be attractive. Renationalising the railways was backed by 52% of voters, while Labour’s pledge to ban zero-hour contracts was overwhelmingly voted by 71% of voters. 60% of Tory voters also backed the pledge. 51% Tories, 72% Lib Dems and 80% Labour voters backed the proposal to increase income tax on those who earn more than £80,000 a year. Limiting the state pension age to 66 was supported by 74% of voters with 67% of Tory voters also backing the policy.
In general, the manifesto was well accepted, with the exception of right-wing media which sought to condemn Labour’s proposals for social equality and improvement of living standards for the many and not the privileged few, as horrifying and nightmarish.
The Guardian writer, Polly Toynbee, said that the manifesto’s various pledges sounded too good to be true, but that might force voters to see how meagre May’s offerings are:
“A manifesto that is a banquet of glorious spending will be a very hard sell. Voters may like the look of much of the feast, but they suspect the food may be a mirage and they fear the bill. However, it may also encourage them to complain at May’s pitifully empty pauper’s table.”
Labour would have to be able to support its promises and do its maths properly so that these policies are not ridiculed by Tories as unaffordable, Toynbee said. She added: “if these costings fall apart, then the Tories can claim it proves all these policies are unaffordable. Already the rightwing drumbeat pretends that falling funding proves the NHS is an ‘unsustainable black hole.’”
Theresa May: Corbyn’s manifesto pledges are “disastrous socialist policies”
On Friday, Theresa May will take the opportunity to criticise Corbyn for “deserting proud and patriotic working class people.” In a speech in the north-east she will accuse Corbyn for wanting to return to “the disastrous socialist policies of the 1970s.” For her, “Labour supporters are increasingly looking at what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and are appalled.”
But for others, Labour’s manifesto “challenges the monstrous cuts that are shredding the entire public realm and it will force May to respond. She will win, but as she dodges everything and everyone, she looks less strong and stable by the day, and here’s a reminder of all that she avoids.”
The problem is that Corbyn has proposed policies that are likable and accepted by both the Left and the Right, but his unpopularity would drive most voters to back Theresa May. Corbyn might not be the strong candidate, but by aiming big he will definitely encourage Tories to be more generous with their promises.