All hope is not lost

As young and idealistic member of the Labour Party, the past two years have been difficult. Not only did we face a humiliating defeat in the 2015 general election, we have since been plunged into an ongoing existential crisis resulting in two leadership elections, unfilled seats in the Shadow Cabinet, daily negative press and what at times feels like a civil war between Labour factions.

The constant rumours of secret plots and leadership contests are exhausting and Labour’s polling is enough to make anyone groan with their head in their hands. Just this week a meagre 38% of Labour voters said they believe Jeremy Corbyn would make a better prime minister than Theresa May. None of which provides me with hope for the 2020 elections.

However, it seems that all hope is not lost. Labour is having a good week. Speaking just three weeks before local elections in England, Labour have been behind three announcements which focus on clear, well thought through policy.

Free school meals, raising the minimum wage and a crackdown on big companies who withhold payments for SMEs are just the start to what is being called an “Easter policy blitz.” These three policy announcements have not provoked any backbench criticism nor have they been overshadowed by an embarrassing and avoidable bungling in delivery (lest we forget Corbyn’s much-scrutinised tax return).

Clearly delivered and broadly covered by the media, day one of this policy spree saw the Labour Party promise free meals for all primary schoolchildren with proceeds from VAT imposed on private school fees. The announcement even allowed Corbyn to have a photo opportunity baking cakes with smiling school children – a classic PR move. Day two saw the Labour Party reemphasise their pledge to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour thereby benefiting nearly 6 million workers. More excitingly was Labour’s following policy in which Corbyn said, if elected, the party would “declare war” on corporations that fail to pay suppliers on time. Basing his argument on data from current Experian credit reports, Corbyn exposed the “national scandal” of large businesses holding onto money that doesn’t belong to them. Here lies a policy appealing to small and medium size business, thereby making an effort to address the “anti-business” image often painted for our socialist leader.

One of the ongoing criticisms of Corbyn’s leadership is that he promises radical polices but these empty words lack real detailed policy. In this week alone, and with more pledges to come in the next few weeks, I am beginning to feel positive that we are taking some steps to address this. Now on the door step we will be armed with ideas of substance, desperately needed if we are to turn the tide of disappointment in the forthcoming local elections.

This week’s policy announcements have shown what I hope is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Here is to hoping it is not in fact a train plummeting towards us ready to push the Labour Party further into the wilderness.

Natasha Silkin, Account Executive