By Rob Sewell
With now only one week to go until polling day, no one can predict what will happen. Given the large number of undecided voters, everything is up for grabs – including a Corbyn government.
Similarly to the same point in the 2017 election, the polls are narrowing. Recent surveys show that Labour are gaining ground.
One polling company, ICM, puts the Tory lead at 7 percentage points, with Labour on 35 per cent and Boris Johnson’s party on 42 per cent. Most notably, a separate survey by BMG Research gives the Tories an even slimmer lead of just six points, with the Tories down two points to 39 and Labour up five points to 33. This is hung parliament territory.
Things have never been so volatile. “There is far more going on below the waterline of what is probably the most consequential British election since the second world war,” states the Financial Times.
An indication of this was the 300,000 applications in 24 hours on voter registration deadline day – the busiest on record. The total number of new registrations was significantly higher than the 2.3 million who signed up during the same period in 2017. With a majority likely to be young, this certainly plays to Labour’s favour.
Importantly, there is still much progress that can be made in seven more days of campaigning. After all, a week is a long time in politics, as Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously remarked.
Tory lead now below 10pts according to the Britain Elects poll tracker:
CON: 42.4% (+0.1)
LAB: 32.8% (+1.4)
LDEM: 13.1% (-1.0)
BREX: 3.4% (-0.4)
GRN: 3.0% (-0.2)
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) December 5, 2019
After an initial hesitation, the establishment has swung behind Boris Johnson. While they have reservations about him – his lack of integrity, his opportunism, his selfish ambition, his lies – they fear a left-wing Labour government even more.
Nevertheless, the ruling class do not trust Johnson. They are alarmed at the idea of a majority Tory government heading for a possible no-deal Brexit by the end of next year. This would be a complete disaster.
Ideally, they were hoping that a Liberal Democrat surge would give Johnson only a slim parliamentary majority, with a sizeable Lib Dem group that could act as a brake on the Tories. But with Liberal support crashing, that hope has gone out of the window.
The establishment are engaged in a ruthless and disgusting campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn. The Orthodox Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, attacked Labour with an astonishing and false claim that “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a Labour victory.
Mirvis was backed up by the Archbishop of Canterbury (a former oil executive), British Hindu leaders, and the Muslim Council of Britain: an unholy alliance keen to peddle their conservative ideology. All are eager defenders of the status quo – namely capitalism and the Tory Party.
Britain has not seen anything like this since the notorious Zinoviev letter red scare campaign in the 1924 general election, which led to the defeat of the Labour government.
The ruling class is extremely anxious about Labour’s left-wing manifesto, which challenges their rigged system, their privileges and their wealth. Corbyn warned that his attack on billionaire tax-dodgers, polluters, and landlords would garner a hysterical response from such quarters. And so it has.
The billionaire establishment has been joined in this anti-Corbyn hysteria by the agents of big business inside the Labour Party: the likes of Tony Blair and the right-wingers within the PLP, as well as all those turncoats who deserted the party.
Workers should turn their back on this rotten conspiracy. These arch defenders of capitalism have nothing to offer except more austerity, attacks and hardship. They lie through their teeth to protect their profit system.
Given the political uncertainty, the days ahead will be crucial. Labour is gaining ground. The opinion polls are deliberately underestimating Labour’s support. We can certainly win this election.
On the doorstep, Brexit has become less and less of an issue. Class issues have instead resurfaced. With the Liberal Democrats falling, the situation is becoming increasingly polarised. The election has come down to a straight fight between Labour and the Tories – between the Corbyn movement and multi-millionaire Boris Johnson.
As the finishing line draws nearer, Johnson and his team are becoming increasingly terrified of slipping up. The PM was even forced to run away to Salisbury this week, manufacturing an excuse to escape from London and avoid contact with the toxic Trump, who was visiting the UK this week for a NATO summit.
Tory strategists know that any association with the US President would be the mark of Cain, particularly given the recent revelations about attempts by Washington negotiators to gain access to the NHS on behalf of American big business.
It is clear that Johnson is running scared: refusing to be interviewed or turn up to televised debates; desperately politicising the recent London Bridge terrorist attack to score some cheap points; and resorting to a torrent of lies and smears in order to throw dust into the eyes of voters.
Unsurprisingly, the capitalist press has acted as a reliable mouthpiece for the Tories in this election, launching an endless barrage of attacks against Corbyn and Labour. And the BBC have played their part too, regurgitating the lies and giving Johnson an easy ride at every turn. But there is nothing new when it comes to such establishment bias.
While the slander and distortions have had a certain effect, Labour’s rallies, mass canvassing, and the radical manifesto have tended to cut across this. The ruling class’ smears have largely failed to break the strong class links between workers and the Labour Party.
“If the choice is between having Brexit with the Conservatives and Labour, I will vote Labour,” said Tommy Kennedy, a Leave supporter from Birkenhead. “The Tories have always destroyed the north of England.”
This will be the feeling in many northern towns, irrespective of Brexit. This is where the Tories can come unstuck. They are banking on picking up support in such areas, but it is not a foregone conclusion. Without such support, the Tories would struggle to gain a majority.
This election is too close to call. The strategists of capital are certainly not confident either. “Several investors who spoke to Financial Times FM, said that while a Labour majority looked unlikely, it could not be ruled out. A minority Labour government or coalition is also a possibility,” explained the big business paper.
We must intensify the fight for every single vote to secure a Corbyn Labour government. We have everything to fight for!
“Uncertainty doesn’t go away whatever outcome you get,” explained Oliver Blackbourn, a portfolio manager at Janus Henderson. We fully agree. Whatever the outcome, Britain is going to enter a period of even greater instability and turmoil.
If Johnson manages to scrape through, all hell will break loose, especially on the industrial front. Workers – and especially young people – will take to the streets. A Tory victory will provoke a period of intense radicalisation. And with a world slump looming, such a government would not last long.
A Corbyn government, on the other hand, will lift the spirits of millions. However, it will face sabotage from big business from the word go. Any threats or blackmail by the capitalists must be met head on.
We will rush to a Labour government’s defence. But we also warn that decisive action must be taken against the billionaires. Nothing will be solved unless capitalism is ended once and for all. These are the challenges that we – the Labour movement – must face up to.
To start, we must remove Johnson from power and secure a Labour victory! Boris out, Corbyn in! Fight for a socialist Labour government!