Labour increased its vote share more than any other party leader since 1945 under Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 election. The Labour party’s ranks have swelled to 450,000 to support him. Corbyn is now the preferred Prime Minister according to the public, and Labour have opened up a 6-point lead over the Conservatives. Some (including myself) are saying a Labour majority is now inevitable whenever the next election comes.
With a strong manifesto based on ending austerity, huge sums of public investment, renationalisation and ending tuition fees, Labour has set out an attractive vision for the future. However, to secure a future majority Labour shouldn’t rest on its laurels, here’s the policy that could push Labour past the finishing line next election.
The economy was a sticking point for the 2017 manifesto, Labour was attacked for promising everyone everything at the cost of someone else. The Conservatives still manage to cling onto the mantle of economic competence even today, here’s how we shake that up.
Firstly, let us take a page from the Liberal Democrats and add a penny to income tax. Under the Lib Dem plans, an extra penny on basic income tax rates, higher tax rates and additional sources of income taxes would fund a £6bn-a-year cash injection into the NHS. Labour should not be afraid to borrow well intended policy, there is a clear thirst from the public to fund our NHS, even if that meant every tax payer contributing a little more. This policy also takes away from the idea that Labour will bash big business to pay for all their promises, adding perceived pragmatism to the policy set.
Big on Labour’s agenda should be small business, the 2017 manifesto went some way to supporting small business with proposals to force larger business to pay for goods on time, and offering potential assistance to offset the costs of a £10/hr minimum wage. The championing of small business should become the centre piece of the Labour economic plan, next to large investment programmes. Labour should seek to offset some of the insurmountable advantages enjoyed by large corporations be it by; lowering taxes for small business, offering increased aid to employ or provide apprenticeships, and possibly offering Government-backed start-up loans with favourable repayment rates. The message needs to be that Labour is there to support ambitious entrepreneurs who will be the engine of future growth.
The environment is rarely discussed during election time, there is little in the way of evidence to suggest it is a top concern amongst the wider public however Labour should be keen to harness the growing movement around a greener future. Young people (under 50) are increasingly aware of the dangers surrounding Global Warming, air pollution, and the plastic waste epidemic.
In today’s World, the green sector is cost competitive, ready to go toe-to-toe with their polluting cousins. Even better the green agenda if harnessed is ready to create a boon of secure well-paid jobs for all levels of workers. From research and development institutions, to manufacturing, to instillation – future renewable markets will benefit everyone. A Labour government could make huge strides in renewables with a combination of private-sector incentives and public funding.
Following the thought of creating well-paid blue-collar jobs through direct public investment (be is green economy or otherwise) isn’t it about time the UK started to offer more formal education pathways into skilled labour careers? Not everyone wants to go to University nor should we encourage it, instead Labour should propose we adopt a German-style approach where those who want to become mechanics are helped just as much as those wanting to become academics. A change that in the longer term will help restore the UK’s manufacturing economy.
Labour should also stick to their proposals to scrap tuition fees and restore maintenance grants, for a plethora of moral and economic reasons out of the scope of this article.
Overall a bolstered education policy would provide hope for every young person seeking a career and it would be a voter winner with the older generation (traditionally non-Labour voters) who are aware of the value of skilled manual labour.
Finally, we come to democracy. Both main parties have been hesitant to bolster the democratic process in our country, most likely due to the fear that their electoral chances could be permanently weakened should the status quo change. Since the rise and fall of UKIP and the generations of younger people who yearn a new kind of politics, proportional representation has appeared on the agenda. The idea that over 10% of the population can vote for a party yet receive less than 1% of the parliamentary representation needs to be consigned to the past. The implementation of PR has gained wide public support, and will act to expand the influence of progressive politics. The UK has a majority of centre-left voters who have the potential to kick far-right ideology into the long grass if given the appropriate democratic voting system.
Thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s determination, the hard work of MPs and supporters up and down the country Labour now has a chance to introduce real democratic socialism to the UK. We would all benefit from making society work for the many and not the few, however to get there the manifesto can be improved in terms of policy and the framing of economic arguments. Be the next election this autumn or in 2022, Labour is now a party ready to form government with the right ideas behind them perhaps it will be Corbyn enjoying the famed 100+ majority Theresa May can now only dream of.