The Conservatives have overseen the highest fall in living standards since 1870. Striking doctors, disabled people pushed to the brink, rising homelessness, zero-hour contracts, a reliance on food banks – all have become sudden norms of British life under Tory rule.
Today, like every day since Corbyn became leader, there is much to oppose. Osborne’s budget saw a further ideological war and reshaping of Britain that’s defined this Tory Government.
In announcing further cuts that will affect the most vulnerable, Osborne has stripped people of their independence – vital life lines to social engagement. Through a progressive course of cuts and gruelling term changes, the Government has caused stress, anxiety and despair across Britain. Harrowing tales of under-funded services, and people dehumanised is against everything we strive to achieve as a society; as a nation.
While Osborne today announced plans for a further £3.5bn of savings in 2019/20, he also gifted businesses with a corporation tax falling to 17 per cent from April 2020. To have such breaks for the world’s richest alongside cuts to the most vulnerable shows how little Osborne cares about the deep inequalities between Britons.
With the bleak national picture of NHS privatisation, doubling of debt and stifled wages all underpinned by a fresh dose of cuts, the narrative of Corbyn as antidote should already be written. Within the hopes and desires of the British people is an energy waiting to be tapped into.
That the Conservatives are failing on one of their biggest promises should make Corbyn’s attacks sustained, targeted and vicious. John McDonnell wrote today that the deficit remains around £70bn over the original target. Meanwhile debt has risen from 53.5 per cent to more than 80 per cent of GDP under Osborne.
The fact that much of the Conservative argument is based on a record of mass failures should be exposed, highlighted and drummed into the British people constantly.
A snapshot of British life shows a troubled scene crying out for new direction. Take travel. The TUC released figures earlier this year highlighting a typical British commute cost 17 per cent of one’s salary, compared to 6 per cent in Spain and Italy.
On housing, the largely unregulated private rented sector continues to grow, with many living in overpriced, unfit dwellings. On top of this we have student fees that favour the elite, and zero-hour contracts that trap the poor.
Now is the time for Corbyn to join up these troubled dots with one clear message. But Corbyn – though strong-minded and principled – often picks at detail expertly, without pushing the big picture needed to sell a new vision of Britain so vital to inspiring success.
At PMQs, Corbyn has often frustrated with his style and approach. Too often he jumps from question to question, creating a fragmented attack. In regularly ‘seeking assurance’ as opposed to laying planned, continued blows he allows Cameron to blurt out comfortable party lines without being challenged.
But today’s appearance saw a fired-up Corbyn drum home Tory shortcomings on housing policy in a performance both stirring and bold. It’s this clear, passionate language that’s regularly needed for gains.
These days, Cameron’s pre-2010 facade of a homely, bread-baking Smiths fan are long gone. In the moments when Corbyn and Labour have struck home they’ve revealed a sweating, flustered Cameron so distant from those calm, ‘compassionate’ media images.
Corbyn needs to remove Cameron’s shiny, polished mask on a weekly basis – exposing that red, panting face so at odds with the nation.
While Corbyn battles on in Parliament, a whole underground movement rattles on around us. The Jeremy Corbyn for PM event, which hit Croydon last week and Newcastle last night, hopes to keep his leadership campaign buzz up until election.
We don’t yet know the significance of this underground movement. We do know, however, that almost 400,000 new members have joined the Party in almost a year. Such an army will be vital in Corbyn’s first real test in May– up against a Conservative Party with a vastly heftier financial arsenal.
Despite this impressive surge of underground activity, Corbyn needs to reach out way beyond town halls, churches and function rooms. He needs to relate the crucial issues he attacks into a bigger picture directly relatable to the public. Only then will his tireless scrutiny and spirited campaigning create that mass movement needed for success.
These storm clouds won’t shift without it.