In the spirit of even-handedness and due to the belief that political stances curve around to join closer to one another and therefore are rendered more alike, I shall examine hypocritical positions adopted by the conservatives or right. For this post, I shall focus on recent developments in the UK that happened this week. In Britain, there is less than a month to go before the public go to the polls for a General Election. The election was called by current Prime Minister, Theresa May and is a 'prime' political strategy for Mrs. May, who hopes to solidify her party's position as she heads into the arduous two-year process of negotiating Brexit with the EU. She hopes to expand on the Tory lead gained in 2015, and recent polls suggest that with a Tory lead of 46.6% over Labour's 29.1%, it is set to be a good summer for Mrs May, giving her a landslide that could put Margaret Thatcher's to shame. Meanwhile, for Labour, it hasn't been the best of days (May 11th), with Jeremy Corbyn's car driving over the foot of a BBC cameraman, following last night's leak of Labour's manifesto leaked online. Inevitably, the right wing press were salivating over picking Mr Corbyn's plan to pieces, declaring the Leader of the Opposition planned to: "take Britain back to the 70s." Herein lies their double standards.
If I had to label my political leanings in any way, I would say I lie somewhere between centre-left and traditional left on the political spectrum. However, I did support Brexit and remain a supporter, and I do see some merit in right-wing policies, such as wealth creation as opposed to increasing taxation. However, when Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto is outlining a Labour government's plans surfaced, many of them are favourable, fair and mainly allows working-class people a greater quality of life, something that has been missing under David Cameron's "ConDemNation." Corbyn's ideas are as follows:
- Spend an extra £8bn on social care over the next Parliament
- Refuse to make "false promises" on immigration
- Stress that any leader should be "extremely cautious" about using Trident nuclear weapons, which leader Jeremy Corbyn opposes
- Strengthen trade union rights - including increased unionisation across the workforce and repealing last year's Trade Union Act
- Scrap the public sector pay cap and reintroduce national pay bargaining
- Ban so-called "zero hours" contracts
- Increase income tax for the highest-earning 5% to raise an extra £6bn for the NHS
- Build at least 100,000 council and housing association houses a year
- Reserve 4,000 homes for rough sleepers
Much of these plans for government are welcome among the British people, with 68% of Britons supporting renationalising the Post Office, for example. However, many seem to lack any trust in Corbyn's ability to represent Britain in Brexit negotiations, or the members of his party he has to work with during talks. People also fear that Labour's stance on immigration will also put the UK's services under more strain, in a country many view as filling up too fast. His position on defence appears weak, as is his vagueness on the UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident, but it was repealing the Trade Union Act that got the right wing press flapping. Papers such as The Daily Mail and The Telegraph see this as a regressive move from the days of Labour Prime Ministers like Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. Although in the 70s, it was Tory measures under Edward Heath that introduced the Three-Day-Week for workers to save the electricity. Edward Heath's power saving methods prompted miners to strike across the country, effectively bringing the nation to its knees and crippling Heath's government. It was also Heath as Prime Minister that signed the UK into the then European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, 20 years before the Maastricht Treaty turned the EEC into the EU. Derision over Corbyn from the right-wing press smacks of selective senses when donning rose-tinted glasses to observe the past.
They wish to return to a time before our membership of the EU (the 70s), which is beneficial to their narrative when they desire to stoke nostalgia. Now, the 70s are something to be afraid of, when in fact, it was the actions of both parties governments that made the 70s a turbulent decade regarding energy, inflation and employment. "Labour Isn't Working!" Read an ominous election poster from the Conservatives under the eventually successful Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and for the UK to work, there needs to be a rational selection of policies from both wings of politics.