Let's start with the Manifesto that was leaked before its intended publication, apparently by those hostile to their leader within the Party (more on that issue in another post, another time).
|Jeremy Corbyn - the natural leader - a strong and stable normal person|
It was shortly after 7pm on Wednesday evening when I put the call in to a senior member of Jeremy Corbyn’s team, to warn them the Mirror had obtained a leaked copy of Labour’s manifesto and would be publishing it the following day.
These conversations are never easy.
First there was silence. Then a hollow laugh. Then incredulity.
“Of course you have. The whole manifesto. Right.”
To their immense credit, they remained calm – ‘Monsieur Zen’ apparently extends beyond JC himself - and called back a few minutes later to ask how we would be reporting it.
I told them we would be highlighting the plans to bring the energy, rail and mail industries back into the public sector, and describing it as Labour's most left-wing manifesto in a generation.
This final point sparked the only bone of contention.
“I wouldn’t describe it as left-wing,” the source said.
“I think that left/right stuff is really not relevant any more. What these policies are, is popular.”
The answer gives a telling insight into the way Corbyn’s top team hope to re-shape him as a populist insurgent.
It also has the benefit of being true, as our exclusive ComRes poll shows today.
Re-nationalising the railways is backed by 52% of voters, with 22% opposed .
Re-nationalising the energy market is supported by 49%, with 24% against.
And re-nationalising the Royal Mail is backed by 50% of voters, with 25% opposed.
Other popular policies include banning zero hours contracts - with 71% in favour - and new income taxes for people earning more than £80,000, which is backed by 65% of voters.
If this is 'Back to the 70s', as the right-wing press would have it, then it seems voters rather like the idea of selective time-travel.
The problem, however, is Corbyn himself.
Our poll found only 30% agree he should be given a fair chance at leading the country - while 56% say he would be a ‘disaster’ as Prime Minister.
The Labour leader has less than four weeks to turn that around.
He will start today on what is seen as his weakest subject – defence – with a major speech insisting he is “not a pacifist” and would go to war as a last resort.
His opponent Theresa May will be in the North East - her own tanks parked squarely on Labour’s lawn - to insist the Tories are now the only choice for “patriotic” voters.
We’ll be following all the developments through the day on our election live blog.
If you want to get in touch my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow us @mirrorpolitics on Twitter.
There is a general consensus that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is offering the electorate a genuinely popular programme in this Manifesto. I remember an account of a television programme that was told to me in the pub by two Momentum activists after the anti-Trump demonstration on Lemon Quay a
few months ago. This programme featured Giles Brandreth, a columnist and writer and former Tory MP who is the same age as Jeremy Corbyn and myself. Brandreth was at New College, Oxford, the same time as I was at St Catherine's. Jeremy went to North London Polytechnic and left without a degree - and look where he is now! There are other pathways than the so-called elite education. Brandreth took Jeremy's 10 Pledges, removed any signs of authorship, and then presented these policies under the gaze of the television camera to the good people of a Conservative-voting Surrey town. My two activists reported that the people Brandreth interviewed all showed support, in varying degrees, for such plans to make our land
a fairer and more decent place to live and flourish.
And why wouldn't they?
I have a predisposition to believe that there is an inclination in most of us to want to live in a state where everyone can prosper and flourish in a fair and decent society. Those who are orchestrating the campaign to keep the Conservatives in power know this. They are not only using every opportunity to blacken the figure of Jeremy Corbyn. Check the language coming out of the Tory spin-machine through the mouths of their politicians - from Prime-Minister May down through the ranks - and you will note that the Conservative Party has repositioned itself as the new Party for the working class redefined as ordinary people who are just-about-managing. Vote for us and you can prosper. We will look after everyone in a spirit of fairness. What deception! What chutzpah! 'The Labour Party has failed you', these elite con-artists declare - 'Come and vote for us, the true Party for you and your interests'. And then we will gobble you up and spit out your bones.
How can those who are committed to low taxation in order to keep wealth in the same hands, ever oversee a movement to greater equality and a fairer redistribution of such moneys?
Before the 2015 election, Ed Miliband - the leader of the Labour party - found himself subjected to systematic rubbishing by the Tory spin-machine. It worked. Labour lost. Now, the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has reached its climax. It has been working in full-drive and with considerable success ever since his election as Labour leader, within both the media and the political sphere. We have been presented with a General Election where he and his supporters will be routed for good.
|A Labour Party poster is launched at the end of last week|
Only it doesn't quite seem to be working out quite like that, does it? Corbyn the leader seems energised. All can see his strength and hear his clear and honest language. Everyone can understand the fairness and sense in his policies. This is turning out to be - as I said online in a Momentum dialogue - a wonderful opportunity to present a Corbyn-inspired Labour Party vision of a Socialism fit for the 21st century.
I shall leave the thorny question of why my man of the moment should find himself fighting a war on two fronts to the next blog. For Jeremy is prevailing against the class enemy, neoliberal Toryism, at the same time as he is contending against attacks from numbers in his own Parliamentary Labour Party, his fellow MPs.
How can that be?