Prime Minister Theresa May has been in the office just for nine months. She was not at ease with the governance feeling that her mandate to rule was borrowed. She wanted to be strong enough to go to negotiate over Brexit in Brussels. For that matter she felt that only her own mandate could give her enough strength necessary to negotiate over her own terms and conditions. Thus she chose to appeal to the right wing of her own party as well as anti-immigrant part of the UK population. But this aspect of her thinking is deeply unpopular with the British business and with much of the country. Thus she has gambled taking into account the gains of Tories in the last general elections and the losses of Labour party.
The polls of these elections would be about a week away when these lines would be published. Election manifestos of the three main stream parties are already launched. Lib Dams promised a vote on Brexit and to raise £1billion by legalising cannabis. Labour chose Bradford and Conservative, Halifax, to launch their manifestos.
Labour kicked off by pledging to abolish tuition fees and nationalise mail, rail and energy firms. Theresa May’s slogan “join me on this journey” to a land where old people worth more than £100,000 will pay for their social care. Moreover, about 900,000 children who are either eligible for the pupil premium supplement or classed as being in ordinary working families will lose the right to a free hot lunch. Tory candidates expressed their private concern about their party’s plan to make people pay for their old-age home care through their estates. The campaign is going on full swing. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested hustings to the incumbent prime minister but she avoided to face his opponent publically on the electronic screens.
There is a remarkable rebound in Tory manifesto as it strikes against the rock hard progressive manifesto of the Labour party. Going through it, one feels that what Labour has offered to the toiling masses of the UK groaning under the Tory rule since 2010, Conservatives have changed their usual course of conservatism in the shape of Mayism by claiming: “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and Ideology not just as needless but dangerous”.
Is this a new technique to woo voters? Is this an evolutionary aspect of the Toryism? Mrs May breaks away from David Cameron on one hand and from Thatcherism on the other, yet she reacts violently by saying that there is no such thing as Mayism. We are left with no other conclusion than the one that the secret of winning election by the Tories lies in the fact that the Party is immensely fluid and changes colours like chameleon, according to the need of the hour.
After the launching of the manifestos of the two parties, the opinion polls swung in favour of the Labour Party. The first survey since the Conservative manifest was brought to light published by YouGov on 17 May brought the Conservatives down to 44 %, with the Labour up to 35%. The change in opinion is the direct result of the publication of manifestos of the two parties. In this way, Labour’s standing has gone up, the highest since the last general election. The credit goes to the Party’s offering to the public whose living standards have gradually been going down since the Tories came to power in 2010.
These are the indicators that point to the probability that there won’t be any such thing like landslide victory of the Tories. Now the percentage point difference between the two parties is just 9. If Labour continued to spread their message “For the Many, not for the few”, they may continue to improve their standing before the polling day, and the result could be anybody’s guess.
Mrs May’s election manifesto clearly said that people needing social care at home will have to pay for it until their value of their assets – including their homes – reached a floor of £100,000. The party also promised that a family home would never need to be sold in a person’s life time, with costs, initially uncapped, instead recouped after death. But later, while visiting North Wales, she announced that the social care costs would now be subject to an unspecified cap. She said that her social policy will limit winter fuel allowance to the poorest and take peoples’ properties into account in the means test for social care at home.
Soon after these announcements, Mrs May was accused of “chaos, confusion and indecision” as she made a U-turn on her plans to make people pay more for social care just days after these were first announced. Thus her announcement was dubbed as “dementia tax”.
A political scientist, Sir David Butler, who has covered every general election since 1950, used his new Twitter account to declare it unprecedented. Manifestos are documents indelible and sold as such to the voters, later becoming mandate in the exercise of powers. The U-turn made by Mrs May leaves her undefended and thus leaving her accusations of weakness of others as baseless.
A pertinent question about her credentials as a Brexit negotiator has been raised by Labour’s election co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne: If this is how they handle their own manifesto, how will they cope the Brexit negotiation?”
Theresa May has confessed publically that if she lost just six seats, she will lose majority and Corbyn will become Prime Minister.
The long and short of it is that these elections are an opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn to go to the country with his modern socialist manifesto he has always wished that the Labour party would put to the public. This election is going to be a defining moment in the contest between the left and the right of the party.
There is just one Labour MP in Scotland today that once was a stronghold of Labour party. We have yet to see during these elections if Labour could retrieve a few more seats in that country that was called a predominantly Labour province.