Analyzing the Corbynist manifesto

Analyzing the Corbynist manifesto


The Chaos and Leaked Manifesto: A Reflection on the UK Election Campaign

British election campaigns are often known for their carefully choreographed strategies, dividing the campaign into two parts: before and after the publication of party manifestos. However, the 2017 campaign has taken a surprising turn with a leaked version of the Labour Party’s manifesto causing chaos and dominating the news headlines.

The leaked manifesto, spanning a massive 20,000 words, outlines the party’s plans for renationalizing key industries such as railways, bus companies, and the Royal Mail, as well as scrapping tuition fees for students and increasing the powers of trade unions. It reflects the significant changes in the economy and the cultural shifts within the Labour Party since the notorious 1983 manifesto, which came to be known as “the longest suicide note in history.”

What sets this leaked manifesto apart is its focus on appealing to Jeremy Corbyn’s core constituencies: trade union members and public-sector workers. It caters to those who have embraced left-wing ideologies and make their living through state services. However, despite the potential to address the frustrations with public services, the manifesto seems to miss the mark by primarily targeting producers rather than consumers.

The leak of the manifesto itself raises concerns about the party’s ability to effectively manage even its own internal affairs. Labour’s internal dynamics are far from harmonious, with the party essentially acting as a battleground between two warring factions: the far-left faction led by Corbyn and McDonnell, and the so-called “moderate” Labour. The leaked manifesto can be seen as a deliberate attempt by the anti-Corbyn faction to undermine his leadership.

The battle between these two factions has intensified as the election approaches. Initially, moderates within the party hoped that a defeat would lead to Corbyn’s resignation and the reestablishment of their control. However, signals from the Corbyn camp suggest they have no intention of conceding defeat gracefully. Their aim is to hold on to power and change the rules for selecting a leader at the Labour Party conference in September.

Corbyn’s election strategy is indicative of this deeper battle over the 5% rule, which requires a candidate to be nominated by 15% of MPs and MEPs to appear on the ballot. The Corbynistas, determined to ensure the presence of a hard-left candidate, want to reduce this threshold to 5%. As a consequence, Corbyn has focused his campaigning efforts on safe Labour seats where his support base is concentrated, rather than on marginal seats crucial for avoiding a Conservative landslide.

Ironically, a significant defeat for Labour in the election could actually strengthen Corbyn’s grip on the party. With more moderates losing their seats, the proportion of hard-liners within the party would increase. Paradoxically, this could bolster his chances of implementing his desired changes to the Labour Party constitution.

Unexpectedly for Corbyn, Theresa May’s decision to call the snap election in June disrupted his plans to reshape the Labour Party. Corbyn was in the midst of transitioning the party’s focus from Parliament-centered activities to broader activism. This involved giving more power to grassroots members, allowing them to influence policies and organize protests and strikes. The possibility of a divided party emerging after the election, with some MPs breaking away to form a new party, has become a real concern.

In conclusion, the leaked manifesto has further highlighted the internal chaos and ongoing power struggle within the Labour Party. Despite the potential to address public frustration with public services, the leaked document’s emphasis on appeasing core supporters rather than targeting consumers poses a missed opportunity for Labour. As the election approaches, all eyes will be on the outcome and whether it will lead to a continuation of Corbyn’s leadership or the emergence of a significant divide within the party.

Read more: A draft of Labour’s manifesto confirms the party’s leftward shift