Photo: Chris Beckett
Jeremy Corbyn welcomes the snap election with open arms. As the Labour leader relishes the opportunity to refresh the nation with straight talking, honest politics, May hides from televised debates.
In the immediate aftermath of Theresa May’s General Election announcement, the BBC were quick to initiate the slant from which Jeremy Corbyn will be portrayed over the coming weeks: out of his depth. This is emblematic of the persistent obsession with which the mainstream media has sought to undermine the Labour leader for the past two years – something which has been glaringly exposed in the findings of Dr. Bart Cammaerts.
The relentlessly antagonistic coverage of Corbyn includes the consistent ridicule of his ideas, lifestyle and looks; and yet, hilariously, there is already the suggestion that the Labour leader is unequipped for the intense campaign pressure set to come his way. Putting these constant character assassinations to one side, Corbyn’s recent policy projections – such as universal free school meals and a £10 minimum wage – indicate that he has been steadily laying the groundwork for a snap election that took the majority of us by surprise.
In recent months, the PM’s muddled leadership has been juxtaposed considerably by Corbyn’s brand of frank clarity, thus Downing Street’s confirmation of no televised debate participation on May’s part, if disappointing, is hardly surprising. Their approach is one dimensional. For the Conservatives, this is the Brexit election. May’s announcement speech said as much, as she outlined her intention to campaign for a hard Brexit:
That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world
On the other hand, Corbyn will lead a positive, multifaceted campaign intent on raising living standards, protecting schools, the NHS and reversing austerity. This stark contrast in tone is particularly telling when looked through a historical lens. Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell offer a rejuvenated, progressive ethos epitomised by Old Labour heavyweights from the great Tony Benn to party veteran Dennis Skinner.
Any Britain I can claim to have any sense of affinity for is of this. Is of suffragettes, miner strikes and the spirit of Red Clydeside. Not the other Britain, an ugly nation of red, white and blue xenepohbia that must profess itself “great” to convince the rest of the world of its superiority, akin to how Mrs. May must add a “compassionate” prefix to her ideology in order to convince us of her humanity.
In times like these, the values of Old Labour, or Real Labour, are revitalised. Jeremy Corbyn’s task of uniting an infamously divided British political left is undoubtedly huge, but in the words of the late Jo Cox: “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”. The British electorate should consider this on June 8th or ironically, the working classes who voted to leave the European Union will be most affected by the recklessness of a hard Brexit.