I’ve Never Voted with Hope Before. Jeremy Corbyn Has Changed That – George Monbiot | The Guardian UK

I’ve Never Voted with Hope Before. Jeremy Corbyn Has Changed That

The Labour leader’s improved performance and raft of popular policies have given me an unfamiliar feeling as I prepare to go to the polls: OPTIMISM

George Monbiot | The Guardian UK

How they mocked …. My claim, in a Guardian video a month ago, that Labour could turn this election around, was received with hilarity. “Fantasy Island”, “pure pie in the sky”, “delusional”, “magical thinking”, “grow up” were among the gentler comments.

The election campaign, almost everyone agreed, would be a victory lap for the Conservatives. The only question was whether Theresa May would gain a massive majority or a spectacular one. Now the braying voices falter.

Could it really happen? No prediction, in these volatile times, should carry much weight.

But this we can say: a Labour win is no longer an impossible dream. It is certainly a dream, for those of us who have been waiting, longer than my adult life, for a government beholden only to the people, rather than to the City or the owners of newspapers. But it is now a plausible one. And why not?      

On policy after policy, the Labour manifesto accords with what people say they want. It offers a strong and stable National Health Service, in which privatisation is reversed, clinical budgets rise and staff are properly paid. It promises more investment in schools, smaller class sizes, and an end to the stifling micromanagement driving teachers out of the profession. It will restore free education at universities. It will ensure that railways, water, energy and the postal service are owned for the benefit of everyone, rather than only the bosses and shareholders. It will smoke out tax avoidance, and bring the banks under control.

While Theresa May will use Brexit as a wrecking ball to be swung at workers’ rights, environmental laws and other regulations the Conservative party has long wanted to destroy, Labour has promised to enhance these public protections:

It will ban zero-hours contracts, prevent companies from forcing their staff into bogus self-employment, and give all workers – whether temporary or permanent – equal rights. The unemployed will be treated with respect. Both carers and people with disabilities will be properly supported. Those who need homes will find them, and tenants will be protected from the new generation of rack-renting slumlords.

Who, apart from the richest beneficiaries of the current regime, would not wish to live in such a nation?

Despite so Many Years of Protest, Corbyn’s Greatest Strength Lies in Proposition, Rather Than Opposition

The great impediment was supposed to be Jeremy Corbyn. It is true that he failed to shine in opposition, missing golden opportunities to expose the government and contest its policies. For those of us who were willing him to take the battle to the government, these shortcomings were intensely frustrating.

But how different he has looked since Labour did what it should have done 18 months ago: Propose a Coherent Political Programme of Its Own.

Despite so many years of protest, Corbyn’s greatest strength lies in proposition rather than in opposition: his gentle style is better suited to explaining his own vision than to contesting his opponent’s.

The more exposure he receives, the better he looks – while the cameras expose May as charmless, cheerless and, above all, frit.

She won’t stand up to anyone who wields power. She will say nothing against Donald Trump, even when he peddles blatant falsehoods in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in this nation, exploiting our grief to support his disgusting prejudices; even when he pulls out of the global agreement on climate change.

She is even more sycophantic towards this revolting man than Tony Blair was to George W Bush.

She won’t confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism or Yemen or anything else. Far from it: both as home secretary and as prime minister she appears to have suppressed a report into the foreign funding of jihadi groups in the UK that is said to focus on the role of the Saudi Kingdom. When there is a conflict between our security and selling weapons to a despotic regime, brutality wins.

She won’t stand up to the polluters lavishly funding the Conservative party, whose role explains both her weakness on climate change and her miserable failure to address our air pollution crisis.

She won’t stand up to the fanatics in her party who call for the hardest of possible Brexits.

She won’t stand up on television to debate these policies because she knows that the more we see, the less we like.

The party machine’s attempt to build a personality cult around her fell at an obvious hurdle: First, you need a  personality.

Who, in this fissile age, would wish for a prime minister with no discernible convictions, no perceivable moral core?

Who, when we need courage in government more than at any time in the recent past, wants a prime minister who rolls over to everyone from the Daily Mail to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud?

Who, as we face negotiations with the European Union that will determine the future of this nation – negotiations that demand the utmost delicacy and care – wants a government peopled with buffoons, blusterers and bullies?

For many years, political enthusiasm in the UK was snuffed out by a joyless, lifeless managerialism practised by both the Conservatives and Labour.

Its purpose was to reconcile a semblance of democracy with the demands of banks, corporations, USA power and the offshored rich. The greed and intolerance of the press barons and their fellow tax exiles weighed more heavily with government than either political principles or the aspirations of the powerless.

There were real differences between the parties, but these narrowed as Labour embraced the neoliberalism of its opponents. The major parties became ever less willing to change social outcomes. As hope was stifled, turnout in elections plummeted. But this week, the point of voting is undeniable. The choice with which you are faced on Thursday carries more weight and meaning than it has done for decades.

By the time I walk out of the polling booth, I will have voted for four parties in 10 years: the Greens, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and, at last, Labour. In every case, I have sought an escape from the unelected powers that govern this nation. Until now, I have voted with resignation, sometimes edging into despair. This week, for the first time in my life, I will vote in HOPE.

The election now hangs on whether the young people who claim they will vote Labour are prepared to act on this intention. We know that older Conservative voters will make good their promise: they always do.

Will the young electors, who will lose most from another five years of unresponsive government, walk a couple of hundred metres to their polling stations?

Or will they let this unprecedented chance to change the nation slip through their fingers? The world belongs to those who step up.

Those dreams we have entertained for so long: we can realise them. Those visions of a better life that seemed impossible a month ago: they now depend on turnout and turnout alone.

That unfamiliar, tingling sensation that’s been troubling you of late? It’s called HOPE. Don’t let them take it away from you.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On June 7, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    “HOPE” and “OPTIMISM” – George Monbiot said it all.

    “No prediction, in these volatile times, should carry much weight.” – Certainly not after BREXIT, then Donald Trump.

    LOOK: People are fed up with the status quo – here and over there!

    The voters see this massive, lumbering, overloaded apple cart going by and they just want to upend it …. If the apples are left to rot, or if they are picked up; or for that matter, who is around to pick them up – are just questions – who cares.

    In the military, they say ‘if you can’t pick up the cadence – check your step!”

    I say, timing is everything – this is homestretch and Jeremy Corbyn has found his stride.

    “On policy after policy, the Labour manifesto accords with what people say they want.”

    Corbyn’s Greatest Strength Lies in Proposition, Rather Than Opposition: –

    Corbyn is just better at explaining – his gentle style is better suited to explaining his own vision rather than criticising his opponent’s.

    Monbiot wrote: The election now hangs on whether the young people who claim they will vote Labour are prepared to act on this intention. We know that older Conservative voters will make good their promise: they always do.

    Will the young electors, who will lose most from another five years of unresponsive government, walk a couple of hundred metres to their polling stations?

    Or will they let this unprecedented chance to change the nation slip through their fingers? The world belongs to those who step up.

    Young People, this is war!

    When survivors of the last World War were asked ‘what have you learnt from all this?’ – Their answer was ‘Don’t be a bystander!’

    I say, VOTE Jeremy Corbyn – You need to Step Up!

  • Clyde Duncan  On June 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    However True the Exit Poll, This is Already Jeremy Corbyn’s Night

    Gaby Hinsliff | The Guardian UK

    Mocked and derided from the start, the Labour leader has transcended expectations. He understood that voters want to be inspired rather than lectured

    And just like that, the world turned upside down.

    Just a few short weeks ago Theresa May set out to grind her divided opposition into dust with a snap election whose express purpose was to deliver a crushing majority. Few would have bet against her doing so.

    Even three weeks ago, when her 20-point lead started to narrow, she still gave every impression of cruising towards a comfortable victory. Hours before the exit poll, gloomy Labour MPs were still predicting a bloodbath. Gossip about putative leadership candidates’ campaigns was starting to spread. Resignations were expected.

    Well, forget all that.

    If tonight’s exit poll forecasting ‘NO overall Conservative majority’ is right – and the crucial cautionary note is that in 2015 its predecessor did underestimate the scale of David Cameron’s victory – then tonight is Jeremy Corbyn’s night, and May could yet become the shortest-lived British prime minister in half a century.

    Imagine how they’ll be poring over this exit poll in Paris, Brussels and Berlin

    At best she can expect to be returned as prime minister on a slender majority, facing the full wrath of a party that was confidently expecting nothing less than a demolition of Corbyn, and a free pass to do as it liked.

    At worst, she will have thrown away her predecessor’s hard-won majority for nothing – one imagines crockery is currently being thrown with some violence chez Cameron – and she won’t even have the lifeline of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats to fall back on, since Tim Farron has made it clear he isn’t going down that road again.

    This was an election nobody really wanted, fought for reasons that are barely any clearer now it’s over, and it looks as if voters may well have called her bluff. But if so, we are sailing into uncharted waters now.

    Whoever forms the next government will still arguably have a mandate for Brexit, thanks to the referendum. If the Lib Dems do experience only a modest recovery, winning the 14 seats predicted, that suggests there isn’t much appetite for a re-run.

    But what kind of Brexit must be completely up for grabs. This is no mandate for the hard, uncompromising version May sketched out; after all, Corbyn campaigned on a soft Brexit platform stressing continued access to the single market, and Ukip is expected to lose its only seat. Plenty of wiggle room there for Remainers in parliament. And imagine how they’ll be poring over this exit poll in Paris, Brussels and Berlin.

    But the real story tonight is a human one, and it’s that of Jeremy Corbyn.

    Mocked, derided and discounted from the start, he has utterly transcended what were admittedly low expectations; and even if he doesn’t win the election, he must have secured a victory over the sceptics in his own party. It looks very much as if he has earned the right to stay on as leader, and this time with the full-throated backing of his MPs.

    For if the exit polls are right, the “surge” identified in the final weeks cannot simply have been confined to a few university towns. Vindication, perhaps, for the idea that the young and the politically marginalised can be engaged with big, bold ideas.

    And vindication almost certainly for the idea that millions of people across the west are more hungry for change than political elites understand.

    So much for the long-established rule that political parties get nowhere unless they’re trusted on the economy (on which the Tories still lead Labour).

    So much for what we thought we knew about slick campaigning and soundbites – or indeed about the power of the right-wing media, which Corbynites were convinced would scupper them. Who’s afraid of the Sun and the Daily Mail now?

    The night is still young, and much remains unexplained. There may well still be bad news to come in pockets of Yorkshire or the Midlands, where Labour MPs have been unrelentingly gloomy about their chances until now. It remains true that there is only so far a leader can get while continuing to ignore the mathematical reality of the first-past-the-post system, under which parties essentially win outright majorities only by persuading voters in marginal seats to change party.

    But as things stand, this is undoubtedly Corbyn’s night.

    He has demonstrated that passion and energy matter, as much if not more than basic competence; that voters want to be inspired more than to be lectured.

    And once again he has proved the lesson that Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron and Brexit should surely by now have taught us: that this is no longer the world we knew.

    Change is coming, if not already here.

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