This is the most remarkable election campaign in living memory, argues Veronica Fagan.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has dramatically narrowed the Tory lead. Yesterday The Guardian reported a YouGov poll which shows the Tories losing 20 seats and Labour gaining 28 with the headline ‘YouGov’s poll predicting a hung parliament is certainly brave’.
While this is the most optimistic showing so far, other polls taken since the Manchester atrocity have shown the Tory lead being squeezed, continuing the dynamic that was already happening.
Labour’s radical manifesto switched the debate onto politics – the future of the NHS, the dire state of our education services, the fact that austerity is a political choice made by the Tories.
Theresa May’s attempt to run a presidential campaign around her supposedly strong and stable leadership hit the buffers with her triple whammy over social care and pensions– blatantly attacking the very people on whom the Tories have relied for decades. Weak and wobbly May launched an entirely uncosted manifesto, and one which makes clear the Tories are still the Nasty Party. Her decision not to turn up for the TV debate at the centrepiece of an election that she called but send the hapless Home Secretary Amber Rudd further underlined her arrogance and did her no good.
Nor has the inevitable focus on security after the Manchester murders brought succour to the Tories. Their ignoring of warnings that the man who became the bomber was becoming radicalized, praising suicide bombers and their slashing of police numbers yet again underlines their arrogance and incompetence. Jeremy Corbyn’s high risk strategy of talking about the legacy of foreign wars in feeding the growth of Islamic fundamentalism has demonstrated his consistency. When Tory Michael Fallon can’t tell the difference between Corbyn and Boris Johnson, the point is further underlined for millions as the clip is shared across social media.
But with just a week of campaigning to go, there is everything left to play for. What each one of us does can make a real difference. Turnout, especially amongst young people, who overwhelming support Labour but are traditionally less likely to make it to the polling station, will be vital. Momentum has done an excellent job in organising teams to campaign in vital marginals .
Single issue campaigns and trade unions have been more visible in this campaign than in most previous elections. The NUT video for example was seen by 3.2 million people within 3 days of being launched. And campaigning on social media is more important than ever before – you can do your bit to get good news out about Labour’s successes and Tory gaffes.
What you can do
Many people are already campaigning with their local Labour Party – including people like Ian who aren’t Labour members as he explains here. If you aren’t already doing that make contact as soon as possible and find out what’s going on – you can search for your local constituency on line or sign up at the Labour Party site.
Find out what your trade union branch or local campaigns are doing and get involved. Write to your local papers
If you have limited mobility or caring responsibilities, or some time between work and pounding the streets use that time to help on social media. There is this brilliant video from the NUT for example. There is much more elsewhere on social media on the SR facebook and twitter pages – help by sharing – and sent us any good stories and memes you find elsewhere so we can publicise them further.
Feedback your own ideas and experiences to continue the discussion.