The long awaited Labour Party manifesto was finally published yesterday in the City of Bradford, a City with a large student and established immigrant population, two key demographics that Labour need to appeal to if they are to win the general election on June 8th.
As the atmosphere built, three supporters in turn took to the stage to give their personal testimonies of why they needed and wanted a Labour Government. The people who Jeremy Corbyn has made many references to in his weekly questions to the Prime Minster over the last two years suddenly came alive as real people.
Martin told the audience of his struggles with the health of his three children and his own demons and mental health challenges. Next up was Mohammed. His children were all at University and in debt. He hoped for £10 an hour and more bank holidays and family time.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was introduced on stage as ‘our next prime minister’ by a hard working single mum from Cleckheaton to the football style chants of ‘Corbyn, Corbyn’, from some of his most ardent supporters.
On stage, the Shadow Cabinet looked on nervously as their leader took to the platform, Diane Abbott seemed to be counting the chairs to make sure she had laid out enough for everyone to get a seat! The room was packed out and ready to hear how much of the leaked draft manifesto had made it into the final version.
Corbyn made his first mistake within seconds, he called Martin, Brian, but I put that down to nerves. He settled himself with a BAFTA style ‘thank you’ procession of people who have to their credit had to work hard over the last two years just to keep him as Leader, let alone prepare for a snap General Election.
Then came the shopping list, red meat to the socialists and communists who have been starved for almost thirty five years following their slaying at the hands of Thatcherism and New Labour. Now they were back, tax the rich, tax business, tax the rich again and again, tax them when they die, tax them when they sell anything, stick it to the bankers and their campaign mantra, for the many not the few? Oh no, even better, nationalisation, nationalisation, nationalisation. Free everything, for everybody and who is going to pay for it? Mexico? No, the rich? No, all of us!
“Opinion is changing and it’s moving towards Labour” Corbyn bellowed! The faces of the Shadow Cabinet told a different story, the only thing moving towards Labour is an electoral tsunami that is going to sweep most of the party away!
Holding up his own little red book and the promised sheet of paper with all the costings, which did not contain all the costings but mainly guesses, Corbyn ended his sermon to loud cheers and applause.
The socialists and communists that have taken over the Labour Party in recent times were in no mood for the media. Andy Bell from Channel 5 News was roundly booed and heckled for daring to ask Corbyn if he had anything to say about the effects of mass, uncontrolled, immigration.
Despite calls for respect from Mr Corbyn, The Daily Mirror’s political editor got a lashing from the audience when he asked why his personal ratings were so bad. Laura Kuenssberg from the BBC asked her question with a Labour supporter holding up a placard behind her that simply said “fake news”.
Then came the finale that sent the audience into raptures. An old boy, known very well in these parts of Yorkshire, a journalist on the Morning Star, asked comrade Corbyn what he was going to do about the bias media. He looked like he had the answer with his cap adorned with the red star of Russia, one of Uncle Joe’s gulags maybe?
Corbyn himself did not do too bad at the presentation of the manifesto – it was radical if nothing else and if Labour are a lamb to the slaughter in this election, Corbyn has decided to be a lion instead. The inevitable car crash of interviews followed and the brave and plucky, if not clueless, Shadow Cabinet, limped from one TV and Radio studio to another fumbling for pieces of paper and their calculators to try and get their sums right.
Twenty four hours on from the manifesto launch, the figures are being crawled all over and the policies announced are being unpicked one by one. I doubt that the credibility of the sums, let alone the policies will last until polling day.