Weak May on the way out – and Brexiteers are getting desperate

Weak May on the way out – and Brexiteers are getting desperate

Right-wing Tories are in a panic. Why? Because they know that time is running out on their plan to destroy Britain.

They are desperate to get us out of the EU in the most brutal and catastrophic way. They want to sneak through “reforms” that weren’t in the election manifesto. They want to reduce the state still further until it is barely functioning.

And they want to do it quickly because they are terrified that they have very little time left in government.

Look at them – Boris Johnson, David Davis, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Peter Bone, and the rest of their unpleasant crew – all pushing hard to avoid any compromise that might salvage something from the Brexit disaster.

And the irony is that the harder they push, the less chance there is of them getting their way because their infighting is making Theresa May’s government weaker by the day.

Former foreign secretary William Hague wrote in the Daily Telegraph that if the Cabinet doesn’t get behind May after her Brexit speech in Florence “there will be no point Conservatives discussing who is going to be the Foreign Secretary, Chancellor or Prime Minister in the coming years, because Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister”.

We can only hope he is right.

But in the meantime every new day means we are 24 hours closer to our departure from the EU and the government still has no coherent plan or agreed position on the biggest economic threat to our country for decades.

As Rachel Sylvester – the respected Tory columnist who recently revealed that Johnson is regarded as a joke in international diplomatic circles – wrote in the Times: “In her speech in Florence on Friday, the prime minister is supposed to be unveiling her route map but even now, Whitehall sources say, the text is being rewritten and recalibrated as a weak and incompetent leader tries to balance the competing forces around her.

“Although she is said to be finally consulting colleagues, if it feels like anarchy it’s because there is no agreement…

“Crucially, and potentially catastrophically for the prime minister, the government’s position on Brexit has still not been agreed by senior ministers. In fact, there has been no substantive cabinet discussion on our future relationship with the EU, nor any agreement around the top table about the trade-offs that should be made between access to the single market and immigration controls.

“That is not only astonishing but outrageous.”

“Outrageous” – that’s the verdict of a serious political columnist working for Rupert Murdoch’s Times. Note too her description of May: “a weak and incompetent leader”.

May’s “government” is collapsing even as I write.

You know a government is in trouble when the prime minister and the foreign secretary are staying in the same hotel in New York but aren’t speaking to each other.

And that collapse cannot come too soon for, be in no doubt, the right-wingers of her party want to do as much damage to this country as they can while they still have the chance.

Now they see their window of opportunity shrinking, alarmed Tories who arrogantly saw it as their right to govern in perpetuity are ripping themselves apart.

Actually, I cut Hague’s quote short above. His paragraph on Corbyn being prime minister ended with the words “completely ruining this country”.

But more and more people are now realising that our country is already being ruined, and it isn’t by Corbyn.

It is being ruined by the feebleness of a government led by “weak and incompetent” May that is being pushed around by any rebellious Tory who thinks he can advance his own self-interest.

The sooner we get them all out and bring in a Labour government that represents the interests of the British people, the better.

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The back-stabbers emerge again…

The back-stabbers emerge again…

It didn’t take long, did it? The Corbyn-haters were stunned into silence for a short while by the general election, but now they are back and starting to make some noise again.

Some have admitted they were wrong when they predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would be wiped out by Theresa May.

Businessman and former Labour donor Michael Foster stood against Corbyn in Islington North, telling the Sunday Times beforehand: “There are a lot of things a political party looks for in a leader. Jeremy Corbyn possesses none of them. Because of him, Labour faces annihilation at the polls.”

After polling just 208 votes – to Corbyn’s 40,086 – the man who once described the leader’s supporters as stormtroopers had the good grace to say: “I tip my hat to him and I told him personally that he had succeeded where others would have failed and that the Labour success was his and his alone.”

Furness MP John Woodcock, one of Corbyn’s fiercest critics, predicted a “historic and catastrophic defeat” but admitted afterwards that he “got it totally wrong” and apologised for “two years of pitched battles and bad blood”.

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, who was openly contemptuous of the leadership during the campaign, said after doubling his own majority: “I take my hat off to the campaign (Corbyn) has run and for getting this result which is better than anyone could have expected.

“If I think what my mood was seven weeks ago, this feels like a completely unreal dream.”

Not everyone has been so gracious. Tony Blair has admitted he was wrong – but he has neither apologised nor offered his backing to Corbyn.

At least he is now being honest. Before the election Blair and his supporters hid their dislike for Corbyn behind claims that they were simply fearful for the future of the Labour Party. Now they have lost that fig-leaf, they are having to come clean.

What they really hate is what Corbyn stands for – and they can’t stand the idea of a Labour government led by him.

Less than two months after the election – a shock result for many, but not for those who could see what was happening with our own eyes – there are already attempts to rewrite history.

A quick scan of below-the-line comments on Corbyn stories brings up claims that he should have won easily given the lousy Tory campaign, that the circumstances of the election were massively favourable to Labour, and that a more centrist leader would be prime minister by now.

 

All tosh. 

Let’s recap on the facts, as some people seem to have very short memories.

First of all, Labour lost the election. We’ll get that one out of the way, as this is something Corbyn-haters keep repeating as if the rest of us were deluded enough to believe otherwise. But…

Labour began the election campaign 24 points behind the Tories in some polls. In late April, the Telegraph reported that May’s popularity score of 61% was the highest recorded by Ipsos Mori since it started asking the question in 1979. A separate YouGov poll on the same day put Corbyn’s net favourability rating at minus 42 – his all-time low.

These were the “favourable circumstances”: May held an apparently unassailable lead – the reason she called the election in the first place.

Yes, the Tories fought a poor campaign, but it was a low-key campaign that they clearly believed would be enough to get them comfortably over the line with the increased majority they expected.

During the campaign, May falsely claimed that if she lost six seats, Corbyn would be prime minister. She did lose six seats and he isn’t.

But look at it this way: if she had lost six MORE seats, her deal with the DUP wouldn’t have been enough to give her a working majority.

Just six more seats and Labour would have been in a position to force a new election at a time of their choosing.

As a football fan, I know the popular reaction to “if only” arguments: “If only my auntie had a dick, she’d be my uncle.”

But that could so easily have happened. The Tories held six of their seats with majorities of less than 315, and five SNP and Plaid Cymru seats were just as tight.

So what of the actual numbers? Despite the predictions of a wipe-out, Labour gained 30 seats. But look at the statistics behind that headline figure.

Labour got 40% of the vote. That compares to 30.4% under Ed Miliband in 2015 (just two years earlier), 29% under Gordon Brown in 2010 – and, most impressively, 35.2% in 2005, when Tony Blair easily won his third election.

 

Then look at the actual votes.

Corbyn’s Labour Party won 12,877,869 votes. Which by any standard is a LOT more than Miliband’s 9,347,304, Brown’s 8,606,527, Blair’s 9,552,436 in 2005 – or even his 10,724,953 in 2001 that gave Labour an enormous majority of 166.

Put simply, Corbyn easily outpolled two of Blair’s huge wins, despite the former prime minister’s insistence that his was the only way.

Does anyone seriously believe that Owen Smith would have done better than Corbyn? Never in a million years.

That is why Corbyn is now the undisputed leader of the party after two years of attempts by his own parliamentary colleagues to force him out.

And that is also why it is important now to resist any attempts to rewrite history. The main reasons for Labour’s increased vote are clear to see: the leadership of Corbyn and a popular left-leaning manifesto.

Labour are now favourites to win the next election, which is an extraordinary turnaround from three months ago when many, such as Neil Kinnock, thought they would never again see another Labour government. But it is not won yet.

None of us knows when that next election might be, but what we do know is that now is the time for unity. Now is the time to stop bickering and get behind the leader. Now is the time to counter the terrified Tories’ pathetic efforts to smear Corbyn.

This is the time to ignore those who reject the message of recent history – and fight for that better future that we all know is not only possible but now within reach.

Time to put Charlie Gard first

Time to put Charlie Gard first

The case of Charlie Gard – to state the obvious – is tragic and complicated, medically, legally and ethically. There is no possible happy ending to this story – but there does have to be an ending.

Of course, no one would want to be in Charlie’s parents’ situation and it is too easy for those of us who have never been there to pass judgment on them and their care for their son.

But while the particular circumstances of this (and every) case might be unique, sadly parents are caught in this dilemma every day and in every country of the world.

Watching the BBC news, I was alarmed to see his parents presenting a petition to sway medical and legal opinion…not because it is wrong for people to offer support, but because we all know, if we are honest, that the bulk of those signatures will be a purely emotional response, probably in total ignorance of the facts (useful guide to those here). Just because so many well-meaning people would like things to turn out well doesn’t mean that they will.

I’m sure there isn’t a person on this Earth who wouldn’t like to be able to wave a magic wand and make Charlie better. And I’m sure too that Connie Yates and Chris Gard believe they have their son’s best interests at heart. But there is no magic wand and he is never going to get better. That is not my opinion – the doctor who says he wants to treat him in the US says so too. Even he – a doctor who has never dealt with a case like Charlie’s – admits the brain damage is irreversible. It seems the best that can be offered is therapy. Certainly not a cure.

Charlie’s mother says she is convinced that if he had this US “experimental” treatment (which Great Ormond Street could have given him, but decided wouldn’t help), he could live a normal life. One hesitates to use the word “deluded” in such tragic circumstances (and if I do, it in no way implies criticism), but this brings to mind those not-so-rare cases of bereaved parents who defiantly insist their baby is still alive while holding the cold body of their child in their arms.

Charlie’s parents seem incapable of seeing the truth.

What has struck me when hearing Ms Yates speak is that she sounds very mentally fragile. Understandably, perhaps, given what she is going through. But, speaking as a therapist, it is clear that she and her partner are going to need a lot of help once the initial media storm has died down.

They are certainly not helped by the interventions of politicians, religious leaders and doctors who want to use this case for their own purposes.

Seeing a publicity-seeking US evangelical pastor praying openly in the street further lays bare the nature of the battle that is now being fought – a battle that goes WAY beyond the wellbeing of one very damaged baby.

To those who bring their “pro-life” religious agenda to this intensely personal case, I would remind them: Charlie is being kept alive by human scientific and medical intervention. If they really believe Charlie is “a gift from god”, as I have seen him described, perhaps they would be happy to see how long he survives if handed over to the care of god instead of the doctors? I’m sure all compassionate Christians would want to end Charlie’s ordeal, not prolong it.

The parents want to take Charlie to America, but it has been pointed out that there is a major difference in philosophy between UK and US healthcare: the former puts the interest of the patient first, while the latter will continue with medical interventions until there is no funding left to do so (put more crudely: keep going as long as there is money to be made). This might be unfair, I don’t know. But one does have to wonder if this American doctor would be quite so interested without the £1.3 million that has been raised by crowdfunding.

Ironically, Great Ormond Street doctors have been called “Nazis” by many on social media for wanting to “kill” Charlie by denying him his right to be used as a medical experiment. These are the doctors who have spent so much time keeping him alive – yet we remember Nazi doctors not for the care they gave to children but for the futile experiments they carried out on them.

A friend reminded me today of the case of Charlotte Wyatt, who was born very premature in 2003 and whose parents fought a similar court battle to keep her alive.

My friend said: “The parents won the legal battle but soon separated and gave their daughter up for adoption because they couldn’t cope with having a child who would never be able to do anything for herself. She has the mind of a 12-week-old baby and needs constant 24-hour care, which costs tens of thousands of pounds every year.

“You see, it was never about poor Charlotte, it was about two angry parents who didn’t want to be advised or told what to do. I believe Charlotte is still alive, being looked after by foster parents, care workers and medical professionals.”

I would hesitate to apply the word “selfish” to two distressed parents who are desperately doing all they can in what they see as their son’s best interests.

But it really is time to put Charlie first.

Even if he did survive, he wouldn’t be “baby Charlie” for much longer. Even if his parents really were prepared to devote themselves 24 hours a day to his care, that wouldn’t be enough. And even if it was enough, they won’t be around to do it forever.

I shall leave the last word to a friend and former colleague, Lisa Salmon, who once had to make that difficult decision herself: “When our first baby was on a life support machine and the doctors told us he wouldn’t be able to breathe unaided and was brain-damaged, we didn’t question their judgment and the machine was switched off and he died in our arms.

“Much as we would have loved him to stay with us, we knew there was no prospect of a good life for him.

“I think Charlie’s parents are putting their own desperate need not to let him go above what’s best for him. I think we did what was best for our son, and they should face the horrible reality of the situation and do what’s best for Charlie, which is to just let him drift away peacefully.”

Tory attacks just make Corbyn stronger

Tory attacks just make Corbyn stronger

The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn used to be vicious. Now they are just laughable.

His critics once thought they could prevent him becoming popular with a constant barrage of half-truths and outright lies.

Now they know they have failed – but they have no other tactic.

Corbyn appeared on the main stage at Glastonbury on Saturday and spoke to a massive and warmly receptive crowd. Many said he was the man of the festival, with his name chanted all over the site and his face appearing on more T-shirts than any band.

This was a red-rag provocation to all those who once claimed that Corbyn’s problem was that he could never be popular.

How could all their insults, their derision, their half-baked newspaper attacks have failed? This wasn’t supposed to happen.

Immediately we saw people who have never even been to Glastonbury complaining that it was supposed to be a music festival, not a political one – ignoring nearly 50 years of radical left activity there.

Many complained that Corbyn’s appearance on the main stage was a breach of political impartiality, as though Michael Eavis’s privately-run festival was in some way subject to election-period broadcasting rules.

Some even went so far as to point out that Theresa May hadn’t been invited, which led to one of the best jokes of the festival when it was pointed out that she could appear on stage and have her name chanted too – as long as she changed her name to Boo.

Desperately looking for some other way to take the shine off Corbyn’s triumphant appearance, the Tory trolls, closely followed by the party’s attack-dog media, hit on the idea of suggesting he should have been somewhere else.

Yes! Why wasn’t he in Liverpool where apparently something called Armed Forces Day was being celebrated?

You know…Armed Forces Day?

No, I didn’t either, but I Googled it and apparently this centuries-old British tradition has been going since 2009.

The Daily Express headlined its story: “CORBYN’S SHAME: Labour leader blasted for shunning war heroes for Glastonbury love-in.”

Needless to say, the only people doing any “blasting” were a couple of Tory MPs (who were no doubt contacted specially to be offered a chance to “blast” Corbyn).

The Sun’s online headline was: “Jeremy Corbyn turns his back on British Troops as he snubs Armed Forces Day events to ramble on stage at Glastonbury.”

This on top of three critical paragraphs that led into an otherwise curiously sympathetic story about Corbyn’s day at Glastonbury. It was almost as if someone at the Sun had taken a straight report from someone who was actually there and looked for a way to twist it into an anti-Corbyn story.

Which, of course, is no doubt what happened. After 40 years in the media, I don’t have to guess how things work – I KNOW how they work.

Corbyn had tweeted his support for our armed forces that morning but that wasn’t good enough for the Express and Sun, of course.

Both those newspapers made the point that May had been in Liverpool for the armed forces event, but failed to mention one important fact: she was booed and heckled during her appearance there.

You’d think the Tory media might have learnt by now. Their attacks on Corbyn have failed and produce ever-diminishing returns.

In fact, it is pretty clear now that they are counter-productive. As one Twitter user put it: “When I read Tory-owned newspapers, Corbyn sounded like a terrible man. When I heard Corbyn himself, I knew newspapers lied.

Trouble is, those newspapers know no other way.

They believed that if they dropped piles of manure on Corbyn, people would believe he stank…and it worked for a time.

But then many people realised they were being lied to – and they didn’t like it.

So what next for the Tory press?

Will they keep on hammering away at the same old themes in the hope that someone is listening? What is the alternative?

Their owners, and the wealthy whose interests they represent, are terrified of a Corbyn-led government. There is no way Murdoch could switch his support to Corbyn, as he once did to Tony Blair.

So they carry on with their now-laughable but increasingly unheeded attacks – and I say keep them coming!

The more they attack Corbyn, the stronger and more popular he becomes.

The latest opinion polls display a total turnaround in the last three months. May is now as unpopular as Corbyn allegedly was then, and Labour hold a five-point lead over the Tories.

The Tory press might be desperate – but their desperation is working against them and serves only to make a Corbyn Labour government more likely. Quite possibly, a certainty.

You couldn’t make it up, as one Tory newspaper commentator used to say.

Strong week… and a brighter future

Strong week… and a brighter future

They were the seven days that shook the world. Or, at least, the British political world as viewed by the “experts”.

For those of us who had championed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the start, it was a sweet moment when the clock struck 10pm and David Dimbleby read out the findings of the 2017 general election exit poll.

After two years of being abused and ridiculed for backing a man who was “unelectable”, we were finally vindicated.

Of course, it would have been even better to win outright but, despite the churlishness of Labour MP Chris Leslie (and the laughable claim by a former Tony Blair adviser that the election had been “easily winnable”), this was a result of historic proportions.

Literally. This was the biggest increase in any party’s general election vote since Clement

Attlee’s landslide victory in 1945. It was the first time Labour had made a net gain of seats since Blair’s first win in 1997.

Labour got 40% of the vote. To put that in context, Blair comfortably won the 2005 general election with a 35% share.

John McDonnell reckons that Labour would have overtaken Theresa May’s Tories with just two more weeks of campaigning.

May was expecting a huge majority and told us she was the only leader who could safely negotiate Brexit but, a week later, she is still struggling to do a deal with a fringe party that will give her a workable government.

It was an extraordinary achievement for Labour.

But just think how much greater the achievement might have been if the MPs who gave Corbyn a standing ovation when he returned to the Commons had got behind him from the start.

Labour were still leading the Tories by one point at the local elections in May last year. The post-referendum coup by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) not only wiped out that lead, but meant the party began this year’s campaign at least 20 points behind.

I have written before about how we therapists use a technique known as priming. It is very simple: if you suggest to someone that something will happen, then it is much more likely that something will actually happen.

Imagine the collective effect on the electorate of being told repeatedly that Corbyn was unelectable – not just by the Tories and their friends in the media but also by his own party colleagues.

Blair, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell and any number of MPs were given the freedom of the media to dismiss Corbyn as a no-hoper who would destroy the party.

His PLP enemies kept saying this was an issue that came up on the doorsteps. Of course it did – and they had encouraged it.

When I went knocking on doors during the election campaign, I did hear a small number of people saying they wouldn’t vote for a party led by Corbyn. Why? They didn’t really know. They just knew it. People are influenced by what they hear – and what they heard from so many Labour MPs was that they shouldn’t vote Labour.

Add to that all the anti-Labour messages that were gleefully passed on by an ever-grateful Tory press (and even the BBC):

:: The Tories would win a huge majority (as much as 150, according to one Daily Telegraph story – though even that would have been less than Labour’s 1997 majority of 179).

:: Labour were going to be wiped out and their vote share could even drop into the teens.

:: The Lib Dems were going to pick up huge numbers of Labour votes with their EU stance.

:: Labour was going to be crushed by the Tories in Wales.

:: Labour would win nothing in Scotland.

None of this happened.

And the funny thing is that none of the experts saw this failing to happen – even though it was in plain sight.

While Theresa May crept around the country from one stage-managed set-up to another, Corbyn was out there in full view, talking to ever bigger crowds.

TV viewers might have struggled to see this, as the broadcasters’ interpretation of “impartiality” rules meant they gave equal weight to Corbyn speaking to a crowd of 20,000 people chanting his name as they did to May talking to 30 party members in a locked warehouse.

But those of us who witnessed it could see something big was going on. When Corbyn visited my home town, on a weekday lunchtime, he had to deliver his speech twice – once

JCHebdenBridge

indoors, then again from a balcony outside – because there were far too many people to get in the hall. Crowds lined both sides of the river, and some people even waded in to hear him speak.

And it wasn’t just Corbyn. The election campaign made stars of other shadow ministers such as Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner.

This was pretty much unprecedented in modern politics. Yet even then most of the press failed to spot what was happening.

The reason?

Because they didn’t want to see it. And they didn’t want to see it because that wasn’t the story they wanted to write. Their agenda was the one described above: a Tory landslide, the crushing of Labour, and the humiliation of Jeremy Corbyn.

I have been a journalist for 40 years, and I know how these things work. Only this time it didn’t work the way it was supposed to.

May’s Tories won the biggest number of seats but this did not feel like a victory for her most enthusiastic press backers. John Prescott tweeted on election night that he heard Rupert Murdoch had stormed out of the Sun’s party when he heard the exit poll.

Murdoch famously likes backing winners, and on the night of June 8, Theresa May did NOT look like a winner.

The decline in the political influence of the national press has been predicted for some time, but this election was almost certainly the first in which social media were more important than the traditional media.

Interestingly, a poll by Survation (one of the companies that accurately predicted the election result) suggested two days afterwards that Labour already held a SIX-POINT lead.

And this is priming in action again. Many people didn’t vote Labour because they had

popularity

been convinced that Corbyn was unelectable and that Labour were going to be heavily defeated.

When they saw this demonstrably wasn’t the case, and that the “strong and stable” May had been proved to be just weak, they switched their support.

And that could make future elections more interesting. We have no idea when the next one will come, but it’s quite conceivable that it could be before the end of the year.

If Labour are still in the lead and looking popular, what is Murdoch to do?

He was able to back Labour in 1997 because – whether or not there was a pact between them – he knew Blair would do nothing to damage his business interests. But he certainly wouldn’t have the same expectation of a Corbyn government.

So would he continue to back the Tories, knowing they were likely to lose?

It would be very painful for him…especially if he knew his once-mighty papers had lost their ability to influence the voters.

One thing is certain. The neoliberal consensus of the past 38 years has been smashed and the British political scene is now irrevocably changed – by a man who was derided as being weak and having no electoral appeal.

The experts might not have seen this coming, but those of us who joined or rejoined the Labour Party in the last two years did.

Seven days have passed since the election, and Britain already looks a very different place. With a leader who is now regarded as electable after all, the Labour Party has everything to play for.

Hope or lies… it’s your choice

Hope or lies… it’s your choice

It’s make-your-mind-up time… and it’s a simple choice: the positivity and hope of Labour or the lies and negativity of the Conservatives.

For many of us, it’s hard to believe there can still be any doubt. After the dishonest shambles of this Tory general election campaign, how could anyone even consider voting for them?

This is the party that called the election out of the blue – then seemed surprised by it. While Labour was quick out of the blocks, announcing popular policies on a daily basis, the Tories were dithering around, struggling to find anything to suggest that might appeal to anyone.

It is quite clear now that Theresa May put all her faith in opinion polls, allowing her vanity to believe what they told her about her popularity and Jeremy Corbyn’s unpopularity. Those figures, we now know, were based on her keeping her head down and doing as little as possible – first as home secretary, then as prime minister – and on two years of media smearing of her opponent.

Many of us believed that as soon as she was put under a spotlight and everyone saw her for what she really was, that popularity would begin to erode.

 

And so it has.

May has been shown up for what she really is: an empty vessel with nothing to say and no ideas.

Her election strategists imagined that all they needed to do was go through the motions of an election campaign, shielding May from the public and any encounters with opposition politicians. They clearly thought the media would do such a job on Corbyn that it was unnecessary even to bother putting together a proper manifesto.

It is hard to avoid comparing them to the generals who ordered British soldiers to walk across no-man’s-land on the Somme in 1916 – wrongly believing the Germans had already been defeated and would offer no resistance.

They were totally, and fatally, wrong. And Tory “election genius” Lynton Crosby was just as wrong.

If Theresa May thought she could stroll to victory without a shot being fired, she under-estimated the British people.

She now has a permanent shell-shocked look, as though she knows she has made a terrible error and wishes she could just return to her trench and keep her head down. She knows she has been wounded, perhaps fatally.

Of course, we do not yet know what the election result will be. May might yet increase

Maymeme

her majority. But even if she does, she will know she has been in a fight… and that she wasn’t really the winner.

Opinions polls have suggested a tight result is possible but a big question mark hangs over their accuracy.

Since the 2015 debacle, when the polls turned out to be completely wrong, polling companies have changed their methods to adjust for “shy” Tory voters. Logic suggests that this might now weight the numbers in the opposite direction, giving the Conservatives artificially high figures, but we will have to see.

What is indisputable is that the numbers have shifted dramatically: veteran psephologist Sir David Butler says he has never seen such a change in any election he has studied since 1945.

Anything could still happen…and that is why this has turned into such a fascinating contest.

Even though many of us think it is no contest at all.

May and her foreign secretary Boris Johnson have demeaned their positions by lying, deliberately, about Corbyn and Labour. They should be ashamed.

The Conservative Party has constantly lied, publishing tweets about Labour’s plans that are simply made up.

As for the Tories’ media attack dogs, they have continued their dishonest campaign, building up to a last-minute frenzy of ridiculous smears.

They don’t seem to have learnt: the more they have attempted to smear Corbyn, the stronger he has become. It brings to mind that old definition of insanity – continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different result.

As for Labour, they have fought a positive and honest campaign. Corbyn has stuck to his principles of not resorting to negativity and insults. He has answered questions put to him by interviewers – something that is almost unheard-of these days. He has clearly grown in stature and confidence.

In scenes that recall the “Corbyn-mania” of the 2015 Labour leadership election, he has spoken to huge crowds while May has been sneaked into near-empty halls to speak to small numbers of selected Tory members.

Whatever happens in the election, Corbyn has shown he is a winner.

 

How can there still be any doubt?

Voting for the Tories makes no sense unless you are the owner of the Daily Mail or a billionaire tax exile, or both. Ordinary people voting Tory is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

On the other hand, a vote for Labour is a vote for hope, a vote for a better future for all of us, and a vote that makes sense.

Labour CAN win, but only if everyone goes to the polling station and makes this the highest general election turnout for years.

Don’t depend on others to save the country for you.

Get out there – and VOTE LABOUR.

Get off your ‘lazy arses’ and vote!

Get off your ‘lazy arses’ and vote!

“Under-30s love Corbyn but they don’t care enough to get off their lazy arses to vote for him!”

This message from a Tory candidate and MP of 10 years, reported anonymously by Huffington Post, could not be more provocative – or more inspirational.

You don’t need a great deal of faith in opinion polls to know the first part of what he said is true. Labour’s lead over the Tories among the under-25s is an astonishing 57%, according to YouGov last week.

But is he right about the second part?

Younger voters have traditionally been less enthusiastic than their parents and grandparents about actually going into the polling booths.

The result is that opinion poll companies – attempting to recover from their debacle at the 2015 general election – have now heavily weighted their results to discount much of the youth vote.

Last Friday’s poll in London’s Evening Standard gave the Tories a five-point lead over Labour, at 45 to 40, even though the raw survey data put Labour in the lead by 42 to 40.

So the big question is: will the younger voters repeat what happened two years ago and not turn up? Will they share memes and videos on social media but then fail to “get off their lazy arses”?

This is the big question that could decide whether Theresa May gets the increased majority she was expecting when she called this snap election – or whether Jeremy Corbyn, the man who two years ago was the 200-1 outsider even to become Labour leader, walks into No 10 on Friday.

Until recently, that prospect was almost unthinkable. Certainly, the Tories, the media and much of the parliamentary Labour Party thought it was a laughable idea.

 

They are not laughing now.

And that Tory candidate put his finger on the reason why: young people love Jeremy Corbyn.

I saw this enthusiasm first-hand when Corbyn visited my home town. There was a massive crush to hear him speak (so much so that he had to repeat his speech outside to all those – including some who waded across the river – who couldn’t get into the hall).

Among the crowd were loads of excited teenagers, some of them too young even to vote. One woman told me she hoped the TV cameras wouldn’t catch sight of her son as he and his mates were so desperate to see Corbyn that they had bunked off school.

Hard to believe this enthusiasm for a leader who is not so far off 70 years old.

Of course, young people kind of liked Ed Miliband too, but not enough for them all to do something about it.

 

This time it seems they are taking action.

Everyone recognised early on that younger voters held the key to this election, so all the major parties pushed hard to get as many as possible registered to vote before the May 22 deadline.

All the major parties, that is, except the Tories. They made no effort at all to encourage a voter registration drive – and that’s all you need to know about what they fear more than anything else.

What they fear is what actually happened: a quarter of a million under-25s registered online to vote on the last possible day. Two million under-34s registered in the five weeks leading up to the deadline.

Those voters have the power to change the future of this country for the better, so if you are one of them, here is my appeal to you.

Vote! Get your friends to vote! Don’t let any of them say they can’t be bothered.

Voting is very simple and it takes no time at all. You just go to your local polling station (you don’t even need your polling card), your name will be ticked off the list and they will give you a ballot paper.

Take it into the booth, put a cross next to the candidate of your choice with the pencil provided, fold it and drop it into the box. That’s it.

 

But why not make a day of it?

Hold an all-day general election party if necessary to get all your friends voting. Then stay up to watch the results.

And while you are about it, talk your parents and grandparents into voting this government out too. If they aren’t sure, win them over with your enthusiasm, as my daughters did to me.

This is a special and all too rare opportunity.

For too long people have got out of voting by saying the parties and the leaders “are all the same”. This time they definitely aren’t. This time there is a genuine alternative to the politics of misery that have been forced on us for the past 40 years.

Vote for hope. Vote for a better future. Vote for free university education. Even vote for Corbyn’s Labour Party because you like grime or because Kerrang! put him on the front cover. But whatever you vote for…just vote!