Labour faces 'challenge on historic scale' to win general election
However, we should note a number of factors which put the results from the election into some sort of perspective. It was only a short time ago, that predictions were being made in the media and on television, that the Labour party would be decimated at the local elections, facing the prospect of losing control of almost all of its councils and up to 600 councillors according to some pundits. It was forecast that voters would turn away with Labour losing support to UKIP, the Liberals or even the conservatives. These media notions rapidly disappeared as the UKIP vote disintegrated and that of Liberal Democrats fell away as those voters apparently went straight to the conservatives.
Television coverage throughout the day, on both BBC News and Sky News, relished in their coverage of conservative gains of seats and councils and their projections of the size of the Conservative majority in the House of Commons were the percentage votes cast for the parties to be repeated in 5 weeks time at the General election. However, voting patterns at local elections are usually very different from those at general elections.
It was also interesting to note the effort that both television channel reporters used in trying to put words into peoples mouths to somehow blame the Labour party leadership for the poor showing. Many of the political "pundit"s and presenters, Andrew Neil, Laura Kuenssberg, Norman Smith for the BBC and Sophie Ridge, Adam Bolton, Faisal Islam on Sky seemed pleased as more results came in and quite upbeat in anticipation of a conservative landslide on June 8th.
In some instances, interviewees needy little encouragement to criticise the party for the nights disappointing performance as if somehow the leadership were entirely to blame and no other issues of factors were involved.
Over the course of the next 5 weeks, the Labour party faces a difficult though not impossible task in convincing the electorate that only Labour has the priorities for all of the people in this country and not just for the rich or powerful. As well as securing a just and equitable deal with our European neighbours for access to markets, retention of working rights (a relationship with Europe soured and irreparably damaged by the Prime Minister over the last few days) Labour commits amongst other measures to be detailed in our manifesto, to a strong public NHS and social care, a secure homes guarantee, a cut in inequality of income and wealth,Security at work, retention of the triple lock on State Pensions,and other measures for the benefit all of our people.
The conservatives, encouraged by their allies on television and in the media, remain convinced that the result of the general election is a foregone conclusion. A brief look at the front pages of today's (Saturday 6th May), newspapers reveals the extent to which the only question seems to be the size of the conservative majority in the House of Commons on June 9th, with headlines such as,"Great Tory rebirth", "Theresa: The new Maggie",or "May on course for landslide" .
Over the course of the next 5 weeks, Labour party candidates, members, workers and supporters, have the task of convincing people around the constituencies that the result of the election is not "in the bag" for the conservatives. We have to drive home the message that returning a Theresa May government to Downing Street, will result in no agreement with Europe in respect of a Brexit, which will lead to a disastrous United Kingdom exit from the EU. There will be more years of austerity and falling living standards for our people. The criminal privatisation of our NHS will continue at an ever increasing rate with more hospital closures, more doctors and nurses leaving the profession longer waiting times as the cash starved service is driven into the clutches of the private sector. Further cuts and caps to welfare payments will drive more people, the sick and disabled, the working poor or unemployed and other vulnerable groups into desperation as the rich benefit from tax breaks and other concessions. This country has had seven years of coalition and then conservative government austerity and excesses benefiting the few rich millionaires at the expense of the many ordinary people.
We have only a few short weeks to put the message to the people, and stress that the result is not already determined, as the conservatives and the media would have everyone believe.We must alert people to the consequences of another conservative government led by Theresa May with her "strong and stable government" cliche hiding her true intentions for this country. We must press home the argument that there is an alternative and that we have the policies and the people to change British society. This is perhaps the most important election since the war and the result will affect the lives of our children and our grand children for many decades to come.
Speaking about the "rules" which have governed this country for may years, Jeremy Corbyn said:
"It is these rules that have allowed a cosy cartel to rig the system in favour of a few powerful and wealthy individuals and corporations.