Will the turkeys vote for Christmas?

Will the turkeys vote for Christmas?

So the choice is now clear: a Tory manifesto that is uncosted and promises at least another eight years of grim austerity – or a Labour alternative that is fully costed and offers us all hope.

Hardly a difficult decision to make.

Yet if the opinion polls are to be believed, despite a surge in support for Labour, the Conservatives are still on course to win.

Theresa May clearly believes those polls. How else to explain the fact that she has decided to dump on pensioners, the one demographic that always votes and has therefore been largely protected from government cuts?

By removing the triple lock on pensions, means-testing the winter fuel allowance and leaving us all to fund our own care in the future – the “dementia tax” – she can at least make one truthful boast: we ARE now all in it together.

I say all, but I am really just talking about the majority of the population that May likes to patronise as “ordinary’ people.

We “ordinary” people can look forward to more of the same – and worse – if the Tories get back in on June 8.

And that is the big mystery.

Seven years of austerity, many thousands of jobs cut, the biggest squeeze on pay for 70 years, the removal of safety nets that allowed sick and vulnerable people to survive…and now the “triple whammy” attack on pensioners. But many still say they intend to vote Tory.

What kind of con trick is being played on the people of Britain?

The nation’s debt has doubled as living standards have fallen – yet many “ordinary” people seem more concerned about the threat to the wealthy.

You will no doubt have heard this: “But if we put up the top rates of tax, the best-paid people will leave the country.”

Like we should care!

Where do they think all these well-paid people are going to go? Do they imagine they will all give up those well-paid jobs in a hissy fit and move to somewhere they don’t speak the language, can’t get a job, and where, most likely, tax rates are higher than in the UK?

People who struggle to make ends meet have been convinced that they should be worried about what will happen to poor businesses if corporation tax goes up.

But just remember this: if Labour get in and raise corporation tax, as promised, we would still have the lowest corporation tax of any of the world’s richest G7 countries.

So stop worrying about the rich – they can look after themselves. And you can bet the last pound coin in your purse that they will. They always do.

It’s time to get selfish for a moment.

Worried about paying more income tax? Well, vote Labour and unless you earn more than £80,000 a year, you WON’T pay more. That’s 95% of you.

Don’t worry about the other 5% – they can afford it.

Had enough of austerity? Haven’t we all? And Labour is offering a route out of it.

What are the Tories offering? More of the same. George Osborne told us in 2010 that if we accepted his austerity plans, the books would be balanced by 2015. They weren’t. Now the Tories are telling us we must wait until 2025 for that.

That’s another eight years of belt-tightening. Another eight years of rising national debt before we can even think of paying it off. That’s if you believe them… and based on past experience, why should you?

Tories are also promising to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Well, I say “promising” – that is actually an “aim”, according to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. Which is odd, as they promised that in 2010 and again in 2015. Last year, net immigration was 273,000, so how likely is “tens of thousands”?

And that assumes it would be a good idea – WHICH IT ISN’T.

A Global Future report – backed by British employers – said this week that we need at least 200,000  immigrants a year to avoid the “catastrophic economic consequences” linked to Brexit.

Putting that another way, cutting immigration – just to attract Ukip voters – is yet another way the Tories aim to make YOUR life worse. Without the contribution immigrants make to our economy we will all be worse off.

As our young children will be when their free school meals are removed – a policy described by school food campaigner Jamie Oliver as “a disgrace”.

And coming back to those pensioners who are being hit this time round, taking the winter fuel allowance from the better-off might sound like a good idea on the face of it. But there are no details attached and the Resolution Foundation has estimated that the only way to do this and save money would mean robbing 10 MILLION pensioners.

That’s a lot of pensioners being given a reason NOT to vote Tory.

All in all, it’s a pretty grim manifesto containing little that would encourage anyone to vote Conservative – unless you really think fox-hunting should be brought back.

I’ve even seen a conspiracy theory that May actually wants to lose the election, though that seems a bit far-fetched. More likely, she is so over-confident that she feels she doesn’t even have to bother making an effort.

Putting it more bluntly, she is just taking the piss – at your expense.

So why should anyone who is not already wealthy want to vote Tory?

Beats me, when Labour offers a vision that is so much brighter and more positive.

Voting Tory at this election conjures up an image of turkeys voting for Christmas.

I doubt any foxes will be voting Conservative – but if you are thinking of doing so, I would suggest thinking very hard about WHY before heading to the polling station.

Seven Tory myths – and how to bust them

Seven Tory myths – and how to bust them

The Conservatives have always been a party of myth-builders and, of course, most of the British print media have been happy to help them. Those myths have become ingrained – so it is not uncommon to hear them repeated on doorsteps and in conversations with friends.

I recently suggested on Facebook that some people had become brainwashed into believing the Tory lies about Jeremy Corbyn – and received indignant protests from friends claiming they had arrived at their views all by themselves. But when I asked them HOW they were so certain of “facts” they repeated and where their evidence came from, they were completely stumped.

Of course, there are many things the Tories and their friends would like everyone to believe, but here are seven of the myths you will probably come across.

And, more importantly, some myth-busting facts you might like to use in any argument.

 

  1. Only the Tories can be trusted with the economy

We’ve all heard this one: “Labour crashed the economy.” This was the myth that was fostered by George Osborne after the 2010 general election in the vacuum that existed while Labour elected a new leader.

Many of us spent the whole of that parliament and the 2015 election campaign waiting for Labour to fight back, but as Alex Nunns points out in The Candidate, his excellent book about Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, party strategists believed that was an argument that was irretrievably lost.

Now it is impossible for Labour to propose a new policy without everyone demanding: “Ah, but how much will it cost? More borrowing?” As though Labour was the party of borrowing.

But hang on… David Cameron’s government borrowed more in the first three years after 2010 than Labour had borrowed in THIRTEEN years in government.

The Tories have borrowed more since 2010 than every Labour government put together.

Labour rebuilt schools and hospitals and got Britain out of the global banking crisis. What’s the Tories’ excuse?

Of course, borrowing isn’t all bad. Despite what Osborne tried to make us think, national economies are not like domestic economies. Nations – and businesses – need to borrow to invest, and interest rates are at a historically low rate. But what have the austerity Tories invested in over the past seven years?

Ah, but the Tories have reduced the deficit, haven’t they? The debt is shrinking, isn’t it?

No! This was Osborne’s sleight of hand, telling everyone he had reduced the deficit. But the deficit isn’t the debt – it’s just the difference between income and expenditure. So a reduced deficit means the national debt is still growing, and – depending on which measure you adopt – the national debt has doubled since the Tories came to power. Like I said, what’s THEIR excuse?

And if anyone asks how Labour can afford its manifesto promises, bear this in mind: just as in 2105, Labour has asked for the manifestos of all the parties to be scrutinised by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

The Tories have refused. Draw your own conclusions from that.

 

2. The Tories are strong on defence

Conservatives can be trusted with defending our nation, while Jeremy Corbyn just wants to disband the army, right?

Wrong.

The Tories are so weak on defence that our army is now the smallest it has been since we were fighting Napoleon. That’s because they have been laying off soldiers as part of the “austerity” spending cuts.

Yes, but Theresa May has said she will unilaterally launch a nuclear strike, hasn’t she?

And that is true. But first of all, we couldn’t do that without the say-so of the Americans – and who believes anyway that launching a nuclear strike would make us safer?

May enthusiastically barked “Yes” when asked in the Commons if she would launch a nuclear strike even if it led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. But she hasn’t told us in what circumstances she would do that – and she can’t, because using our nuclear weapons would be a catastrophic disaster for this country.

Even former Tory defence secretary Michael Portillo said: “Our independent nuclear deterrent is not independent and does not constitute a deterrent against anybody that we regard as an enemy. It is a waste of money and it is a diversion of funds that might otherwise be spent on perfectly useful and useable weapons and troops. But some people have not caught up with this reality.”

If you are still a fan of Trident renewal, it is in the Labour manifesto. That could be reviewed by a future Labour government, which might take the view that it is better to spend tens of billions on something useful  – including some proper defence – than on a Cold War-era vanity project that will never be used.

And consider this: do you think the people of Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, or any of the other nearly-200 countries round the world that have NOT wasted billions on nuclear weapons lie awake at night worrying about it?

 

3. The Tories are the party of Brexit

Remember one thing: it was the Tories who called a referendum to make sure that Britain remained in the EU. The Conservative government campaigned to stay in.

Harold Wilson once said you should never call a referendum unless you can be sure of the result. It is a measure of how useless the Tories are that they called one and lost it.

Whether you were for or against Brexit, we are now all beginning to pay the price, with the end of our low-inflation economy. Inflation has risen for three months and is now at 2.7% – as a direct result of Brexit.

And if you believe that Brexit is proof of the Prime Minister’s strength, just remember that she was against it, saying that remaining in the EU was vital to British interests. Yet she is so weak that – instead of working towards what is best for Britain – she has given in to pressure from her party’s right wing and handed negotiations over to the most zealous pro-Brexit fanatics on the Tory benches.

 

4. The Tories are sound on security

Conservatives have always played on the “party of law and order” myth. But what sort of party that really believes that would cut 20,000 police officers?

That is what the Tories have done since 2010 in the name of austerity.

And that means that we are all less safe, with fewer officers on patrol and police forces unable to protect us and investigate certain crimes. Victims of violent crime face long waits for a 999 response.

Party of law and order? More like the party that lets criminals get away with it.

Labour, on the other hand, plans to recruit another 10,000 police officers.

And what about cyber-security, one of the greatest threats of the 21st century?

Well, we saw what happened in the recent computer attack. Even though the government was fully aware of the risk, it did nothing. The NHS was being run on computer software – Windows XP – that is so old that it hasn’t been supported by Microsoft for THREE YEARS.

And if you think that was bad, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon refused to deny that our nuclear submarines are running the same software.

Strong on security? Are they having a laugh?

 

5. You can trust the Tories on education

This is a simple one. Go to www.schoolcuts.org.uk and type in the name of your local school and it will tell you exactly how much funding has been cut – per pupil – in your area. For example, the secondary school attended by my neighbours’ children will be getting £497 less for every child.

We all know that the Tories don’t believe in experts (Michael Gove famously referred to anyone who actually knew anything about education as “the blob” when he was education secretary), but you don’t need to be an expert to know that less money is unlikely to equal better schooling.

Funnily enough, it seems there is still plenty of money for Tory pet project free schools – even though many have been judged to be poor value for money and some have even closed – and no doubt for new grammar schools.

It would be impossible to measure the quantity of cold water poured on the grammar school plan since May first mentioned it, but she seems determined to press ahead with it – against all the evidence.

 

6. The NHS is safe with the Tories

David Cameron kept banging on about this, cynically using his disabled son to demonstrate how much he valued the NHS. But actions are more important than words.

Tory ministers have admitted that the NHS budget per person will be cut in real terms next year.

Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt keep telling us the NHS is getting an extra £10 billion. Even Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who is a GP and chair of the cross-party health committee, said that was “incorrect” – but that hasn’t stopped May and Hunt repeating their mantra.

They fully understand that if you repeat a lie enough times, people will come to believe it. The fact is that the NHS has been asked to find £22 billion in savings by 2020.

Ask any GP, any nurse, any hospital doctor…the answer will be the same. The system is close to breaking point.

And it is not the fault of the system. It is the fault of the funding.

Harry Leslie Smith, 94, saw his sister die of TB in a workhouse in the 1920s because ordinary people couldn’t afford doctors. He says that under the Tories we are seeing “the NHS stripped down like a derelict house is by criminals for copper wiring”.

In 2010, when Cameron’s government took power, spending on the NHS in terms of GDP share was 8.8%. After seven years of the Tories, it is now 6.6%.

EU average health spending is about 10% so we are lagging behind most other developed countries.

If we spent as much on our healthcare as they do, the NHS really would be the envy of the world.

Labour is planning to invest £37 billion in the NHS – and it is fully costed.

 

7. The Tories are the party of the centre

Tony Blair always tells us that elections can only be won from the centre, but the Conservatives have proved that is not true. Few would say Cameron and May have led anything but a government of the right.

Where IS the centre anyway? If this centre really exists, it is a shifting ground. Blair certainly moved HIS centre well to the right.

The press have brainwashed voters into thinking Corbyn is “hard left” or “far left”.

The headline in London’s Evening Standard (edited by George Osborne) said of Labour’s manifesto launch: “Comrade Corbyn flies the red flag.”

Of course, Labour members have always called each other “comrade” and The Red Flag is the anthem of the Labour Party, but those subtleties will be lost on most people, who will receive the intended message: Corbyn is a dangerous extremist. It’s “reds under the bed” all over again.

Yet when people see Labour’s actually policies, they are popular. Of course, they are – they aim to improve the lives of everyone in this country without increasing taxes for 95% of the population.

The manifesto is certainly no more leftwing than, say, the programme of Harold Wilson’s Labour governments. The proposals would raise no eyebrows in most European countries, where they would be regarded as centrist social democratic.

But they DO rip up the neoliberal consensus that has blighted this country and the lives of our people over the past nearly 40 years – and that should be a cause for celebration.

 

Of course, there are other myths. Theresa May is busy now trying to promote herself as the champion of British working people. Now that really IS a lie…but will she make it stick?

There is a lot of work to be done over the next three weeks. As Owen Jones says in The Guardian:  “Nobody can pretend Labour isn’t in a very difficult position indeed.” But putting everyone right on these seven big Tory myths would make a useful start.

Making a mockery of BBC journalism

Making a mockery of BBC journalism

The BBC used to be known as Auntie. Now you might as well call the corporation’s news output a non-stop Tory election broadcast.

Anyone who has watched the BBC News during the election campaign can see for themselves how “Auntie” now interprets her statutory requirement of impartiality.

I usually write from my perspective as a therapist, but today I am putting on my journalist’s hat.

I have worked for 40 years in the regional and national press. I have held senior positions on a Labour-supporting paper, a Tory-supporting paper and the impartial national news agency.

So I know what impartiality looks like – and it doesn’t look like BBC News.

I’m pretty sure there was a time when the BBC would turn up at an election event and simply report what happened.

Now it seems to be a requirement that political staff give their “analysis” of what they have seen (or would like to have seen). And it doesn’t help that BBC political journalists are encouraged to use Twitter to express their “personality”.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg gets the most flak for this, but she is not alone. John Humphrys, Nick Robinson, John Pienaar…they all get in on the act.

They would claim that they are even-handed, that they treat politicians of all parties to the same scrutiny. But it is simply not true.

Last night I watched the BBC’s 10pm news with mounting astonishment. I foolishly believed that Kuenssberg had improved a bit since I complained to the BBC about her in January last year.

But no. It seems any report on the activities of the Labour Party has to be treated with a specially snide and sneery incredulity.

It’s not about asking tough questions, as she does for all party leaders. It’s about conveying to viewers that she doesn’t take Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party seriously, and neither should they.

It’s about focussing on the trivial to take the spotlight away from the serious,

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concentrating on the personal to divert attention from what really matters. It’s a sleight of hand.

Without social media I wouldn’t have had any idea of the crowds that have been turning up to Corbyn’s speeches.

The BBC’s idea of balance is to show Theresa May’s appearance in an almost-empty room talking to glum-looking guests, then Corbyn’s speech in close-up, hiding the huge crowds that have turned out to see him.

Last night’s Kuenssberg report was followed up by a totally pointless vox pop from York, dismissing Labour’s manifesto. It started with John Pienaar (whom I always regarded as being an intelligent type) allowing a passer-by to display his ignorance on immigration, and finished with Pienaar emerging from a sweetshop with a lolly.

What is this, Newsround?

You might also have noticed one key feature of any report of Labour proposals: an obsession with how they will be paid for.

Funny how nobody seems that interested in what the Tories have done with your three-quarters of a trillion pounds.

When they came to power in 2010, the national debt was £979 billion. This has now risen to £1,731 billion.

Labour rebuilt schools and hospitals and got us out of the global banking crisis. After seven years of austerity, what is the Tories’ excuse? Yet it is Labour’s spending plans that apparently require the BBC’s forensic microscope.

You might wonder who sets this agenda – and I will tell you. Kuenssberg takes her cue from the national press. Right from the start, she adopted the line of the Murdoch and Rothermere press: that Corbyn is a joke who doesn’t need to be taken seriously.

It is not surprising – political correspondents work closely together. But the BBC should rise above that pack mentality.

Ed Miliband had a tough time with the press but I’m pretty sure he received from the BBC at least some of the respect that is due to the leader of the opposition. Kuenssberg simply picked up on the mocking approach to Corbyn of the Mail and the Sun and adopted it for the 10pm news.

Of course, you might think that is reasonable. You might think that Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere (as well as Richard Desmond and the Barclay brothers) have your best interests at heart. And if you believe that, then you might think the BBC is right to mock the leader of the opposition and his party.

Or you might think as I do: that it is very dangerous in a democratic society for our national broadcaster to slide so far in that direction.

And if you do agree with me, you know what to do. Tell the BBC what you think.

Start posting – and keep sharing

Start posting – and keep sharing

Some of my Facebook friends have been a bit apologetic lately. They’ll say they are sorry for posting something political. Or they’ll post something about the election and promise not to make a habit of it.

Well, I’ve got a message for them: I WANT to see you posting about politics on Facebook.

I enjoy kitten videos, football banter and a good joke as much as the next person and wouldn’t want to see them disappear from my Facebook feed. But right now there is one thing that is more important even than any of those.

There are four weeks left to save our country. That might sound a bit over-dramatic, but it really is time to spell it out.

I WANT to read about politics on Facebook. Because the future of the health service, education, the economy, housing and security are all important to me, and I’d like to think they are important to you.

I know that not everyone is obsessed with politics and the election. Most of the people I know would probably be surprised to hear that our local Labour candidate has been out knocking on doors and met people who didn’t even know there was an election on.

Well, those people NEED to know. They probably think it doesn’t matter who wins the election as nothing will change much.

But they are wrong.

As I mentioned in my last post, Theresa May did say at least one true thing when she said this was the most important general election in her lifetime. This could be the most important general election in everyone’s lifetime, because so much hangs in the balance.

That’s why I WANT to see people talking about it on Facebook. And if any of my friends disagree with me, I’m happy to debate with them. That is one of the many areas where the prime minister and I part company.

Unlike her, I think it is healthy to have a debate, and Facebook is a great place to do that.

Social media is increasingly important in modern politics – especially as it becomes harder and harder for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to get a fair hearing. And I read the other day that Facebook is better than Twitter for talking politics as you are more likely to connect with people who don’t necessarily share your views.

Judging by MY Twitter feed, I’d say that was pretty much correct. I don’t meet many Tories on there.

But Facebook is different. That’s a place where you can connect with all sorts of people, giving you an excellent opportunity to convince them.

So my message is brief (like this blog): get on Facebook and put your views out there.

If you care about this country as much as I do, if you believe in decent healthcare, top-class education, a strong economy, proper well-paid jobs, the way we leave the EU and more police on the streets, tell your friends.

There are just four weeks left. It’s not long.

Then, once we’ve got rid of Theresa May, we can get back to the cute kittens.

Get angry… but get fighting

Get angry… but get fighting

Less than five weeks to save our country…but I believe there is still hope.

Last night I went to the launch of our local Labour candidate’s general election campaign. It was a friendly and inspiring meeting at the Trades Club – and there was no shortage of optimism.

There were two speeches that stood out.

Youthful candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn, fighting Calder Valley for Labour for the second time, gave a rousing speech, comparing his vision to that of the sitting Tory MP – a man who voted to cut flood defence spending only weeks after businesses in his constituency were devastated by flooding.

Shadow minister Jon Trickett – the man in charge of Labour’s manifesto, who has been leading transition talks with civil servants to prepare a post-election Queen’s Speech legislation programme – won a standing ovation for his call to action.

He spoke of his Yorkshire constituents whose life chances have been stolen by this Tory government.

 

Excellent speeches, both of them, but theirs weren’t the two that stood out.

One of those was from a teacher who was almost in tears as she described the state of the education service: professionals driven out of schools by the pressure, special needs provision reduced, class sizes growing. Ever more cuts – more than £400 per head less for every child in our area – yet always money to be found for Tory pet projects such as free schools and grammars.

The second of those speeches was from a local doctor who has been a GP for 27 years and was in despair at the state of the NHS. She revealed the strains of working in an underfunded service and how it was threatening the health of GPs and forcing them to retire early.

She spoke angrily of reduced hospital beds and the expected 95% bed occupancy – more than any other country. “Except, perhaps, Syria.”

The A&E department in Huddersfield – and this is replicated around the country – is closing, which will pile further pressure on hospitals in the region that are already at breaking point.

She finished with an ominous, and frightening, prediction:

 

“If the Tories win this election, in five years there will be no NHS.”

This wasn’t some alarmist career politician speaking. This was a quietly-spoken doctor who had dedicated her life to helping others… but what does she know?

She’s just an expert.

And we know what the Tories think of experts. They’ve had enough of them.

That’s because experts speak the truth – and they reveal some very uncomfortable truths for the Tories.

I went home from that meeting feeling enthused. But I also felt angry. Very angry. And you should be too.

I’m angry that we have allowed this to happen. I’m angry that the Tories are doing this to our country – and that so many people are letting them.

In the local elections we have seen the people who complain about reduced services re-elect the very people who slashed them.

That’s why I am determined to do what I can to get Josh elected, and to make every effort to replace the heartless and incompetent Theresa May with a prime minister who cares enough to stop my country – our country – going down the pan.

Maybe you follow Harry Leslie Smith on Twitter, or you might have heard his excellent Harry’s Last Stand podcasts.

Harry is 94 and he grew up in poverty in Barnsley. As a small child, he saw his big sister die of TB because his family couldn’t afford medical care. He is convinced we will see the return of those days unless this Tory government is kicked out now.

Harry says he is not a historian, but “at 94, I am history, and I fear its repetition”.

I share his fears and you should too.

To those of us who grew up in the post-war welfare state years – living in a Britain that so many young men and women had died to create – it is almost unimaginable. But you had better start imagining it.

And then: get angry. But don’t just get angry… it’s time to get even. And that means fighting back.

We know now that the fight just got that much harder, as the racists and xenophobes return from Ukip to the Tories.

 

But there is still all to fight for.

Today I read that 95% of students have registered to vote, and that Labour now has a massive 660,000 members. There is still hope.

There is still much to do to get more young voters registered and fighting for their futures.

But there is still hope.

The one true thing Theresa May has said is that this is the most important election in her lifetime. She’s right there.

With less than five weeks to go, we have an almighty fight ahead of us. But it can be won.

It must be won. The alternative is unthinkable.

Weak and unstable… the eyes have it

Weak and unstable… the eyes have it

Strong and stable… strong and stable… strong and stable… strong and stable… strong and stable…

Don’t look into my eyes. Look into HERS.

If you have caught any of Theresa May’s rare public appearances this week, you can’t have failed to notice that pretty much every sentence she utters includes these words.

And it’s not just May. Every Tory MP who got up to ask a soft question at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons included either or both of those words.

If you are getting a sense of déjà vu, that is unsurprising. It’s not long since every Tory was parroting George Osborne’s catchphrase “long-term economic plan”.

 

This is, of course, no coincidence.

It doesn’t take a hypnotherapist – which I am, incidentally – to spot that the Tories are trying to lull the electorate into a trance-like state where they actually begin to believe that May’s government is strong and stable.

It’s all the work of Australian mercenary election Svengali Lynton Crosby, who has been whispering again into the ears of top Tories.

It’s not long since I wrote about the “illusion of truth effect”. This is the name psychologists give to the phenomenon that if you keep hearing a lie, you will eventually end up believing it to be a fact.

This is much the same thing. And it is just as much a lie.

Strong and stable? Theresa May is so weak that even though she was campaigning less than a year ago to avoid a Brexit that she described as being damaging to Britain’s interests, she has now handed the negotiations over our country’s future to a handful of anti-EU zealots on the hard right of her party.

Her government was so unstable that she was at risk of being bumped over to the opposition benches after 14 police forces handed files to the CPS that could result in up to 20 Tory MPs losing their seats.

They still face the prospect of being charged over their 2015 election expenses, even while fighting another election campaign.

 

Look at May’s body language.

Strong? Weak and nervous, more like. No wonder she is too scared to appear on a TV debate with the other party leaders.

Her strategists have clearly decided it would be better to face down the “frit” slurs than for her to be shown up for the feeble public speaker she is.

She claims she “debates” with Jeremy Corbyn every Wednesday at PMQs (the same argument used by David Cameron, who was desperate for TV debates when he was in opposition but suddenly got cold feet once he was in No 10). But PMQs are not “debates”. Corbyn asks questions and May replies with pathetic scripted insults that bear no relation to the question asked.

May’s refusal to join in proper debate, where she might have to say something that hasn’t been prepared for her in advance by one of her unfunny joke-writers, isn’t just weak. It shows contempt for the electorate.

As a hypnotherapist, I understand the power of repetition. I use it myself when working with clients.

But there is one golden rule when it comes to hypnotic suggestion: it has to be plausible.

Strong and stable? How implausible is that?

Don’t look into my eyes. Look into HERS.

And see just how weak and shifty she looks.

Wipe the smile off her face – and get YOUR future back

Wipe the smile off her face – and get YOUR future back

This is aimed at the young people of Britain. It begins with an apology and, like all good marketing pitches and therapeutic interventions, ends with a call to action.

First, the apology. You have been let down by your parents’ and grandparents’ generations. They – we, though some of us have tried to stop it – have gradually dismantled much of what made this country great. And in doing so, they have poisoned your future.

They have told you there is no alternative to a country where the public services that my generation took for granted as we grew up are rapidly consigned to the bin, where the NHS and education are starved of funds, where inequality continues to grow, where secure well-paid jobs become harder and harder to find, where pensions (yes, even you will one day need something to live on when you get older) are stolen from you.

Good education for everyone? Can’t afford it. NHS? Can’t afford it. Support for when you can’t work because of sickness or unemployment? Can’t afford it. Quality public transport? Can’t afford it.

That’s what they have been telling us for the past 38 years.

BUT IT IS A LIE.

There IS an alternative, and we used to have it. After the Second World War, the British people became more prosperous with every passing decade. By the late 1970s, society in the UK had never been so equal.

Then Margaret Thatcher came along and changed everything. She was the one who said of her ugly neoliberal policies: “There is no alternative.” Maybe you have even accepted that because you have seen no alternative in your lifetime.

That view, pushed so hard by successive governments (yes, even Labour governments, to their shame) has robbed you of so much.

So I apologise. Not because all of us accepted that new belief, but because collectively we have stolen your futures from you.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There is an alternative – and it is in your hands right now. Theresa May handed you that power this week.

She arrogantly believes she will walk to victory in the general election on June 8. She believes this will then give her a mandate to impose every ugly policy her nasty right-wing friends have ever dreamt up. And probably even a few they haven’t yet thought of.

Can she be stopped? Of course she can.

Many will tell you it is a foregone conclusion, that there is no real opposition. They are wrong.

YOU have the power to stop her.

At the last general election in 2015, only 43% of 18-24-year-olds voted. Among those that did, there was a huge swing away from the Tories to Labour. But nearly twice as many over-65s voted.

If that happens again this year, it means that people who have already lived most of their lives (and remember that many of them enjoyed benefits they have stolen from you) get to decide YOUR future.

Is that really what you want?

If not, it is time to fight back – and that couldn’t be easier.

Voting takes no time at all. To be honest, I always find it a bit of an anticlimax…you are in and out of the polling station in minutes. But what you do in there (simply marking a pencil cross on a ballot paper) is the most important thing you can do this year to safeguard your future.

All you need to vote is to be registered. Maybe you already are, but if you aren’t, you can do so HERE. As it says on the website, it takes just five minutes.

You have until May 22 to do it, so that is plenty of time. But don’t put it off – do it now.

Of course, voting is only part of it. Your vote is valuable, but you have the ability to get others to vote too.

Share the message. Share this blog!

It’s YOUR future that is on the line on June 8. You can guarantee that if Theresa May’s Conservatives win, this country will get worse – for a start, the dismantling of the NHS will speed up, and they will make it even easier for unscrupulous bosses to take advantage of you, denying you fair pay and employment protection.

So share the message that there IS an alternative. Tell everyone at school, at college, at work. Don’t forget to tell your parents too! Beating the well-organised and richly-funded Tories isn’t going to be easy. Their friends in the media will tell you lies. They don’t want you to vote – no doubt they are hoping you will all be too bored to bother to vote against them.

But if we all get together, if we build a mass movement, if we convince others of the vital importance of voting, then we can do it.

Remember 2015 when the Tories and the papers laughed at Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour Party leadership?

He started that election as a no-hoper, and the Tories want you to believe he is still a no-hoper. But don’t listen to their lies. Listen to his message – he is offering hope.

For your sake, and for the sake of everyone who deserves a better future than the one Theresa May is threatening, let’s wipe any remaining smiles off those Tory faces.

Imagine the look on Theresa May’s face on June 9 if she loses the election.

Can we make that happen? Yes, we can. YOU can. Get involved – make it happen.