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The Masterstroke

The Masterstroke

It’s becoming a familiar feeling in British politics - waiting for the exit poll on election night, and then waiting to see if it’s right.

Everything we were told about this campaign pointed to a Tory landslide. Would Labour save more than 150 seats? More than 200? We all knew that Corbyn would be in his element once the campaign started, but the media kept telling us that the huge rallies and superstar welcomes pointed to 1983. While they sneered at the larger young audiences listening to Corbyn, chanting his name, something incredible was happening across the country and on social media. 

The masterstroke Corbyn pulled in the campaign was to be himself. It was to put forward the policies which he has campaign for, alongside John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. Whatever happens in the future it's impossible to imagine Labour returning to the Ed Balls model of accepting austerity, tuition fees or wholesale private ownership. 

The Tory campaign may have been disastrous with U-turns, negativity and poor strategising, but the Labour result wasn't a given. Winning Canterbury for the first time ever, Kensington where the average property price is £1.4million, and key marginals Ed Miliband never got close to doesn't happen by chance. Corbyn motivated swathes of the electorate normally turned off by politics. 

The Parliamentary Labour Party has, on the whole, accepted Corbyn's role in the result and his continued leadership. The first sign of the scale of the change in opinion came when Chukka Umunna said he wanted to rejoin the shadow cabinet. 

While some have argued Labour could have done even better with a united party, part of Corbyn's appeal comes from the fact that he has battled the establishment at every turn. He may not have won back so many disaffected UKIP voters across the north and Midlands if he had been wholly supported by the likes of Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair.

There is no time to enjoy the result though. There are still huge challenges in getting Labour to 326 seats. With another General Election likely by the end of 2018 we must stay on a full election footing, keep knocking on doors, keep going to your nearest Tory seat, keep putting the Corbyn platform forward. The election proved there are no 'no-go' areas for Corbyn's Labour Party.

Something big is happening in British politics. The SNP has reached its peak and is in retreat, the Tories have had their heartlands breached and the young have roared back in the face of those who said they were too apathetic to challenge relentless austerity.

There are many factors in the result, but one is unquestionable - the policies, commitment, leadership and charisma of Jeremy Corbyn.

 

John McDonnell calls for one million people to take to the streets on Saturday July 1st

John McDonnell calls for one million people to take to the streets on Saturday July 1st

Did the Labour machine deliberately move resources away from winnable seats?

Did the Labour machine deliberately move resources away from winnable seats?