The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 19th May 2017

Corbyn draws the crowds

by Daphne Liddle

WHILE the Tory party has been stage-managing encounters between Theresa May and the voting public — using committed Tory hacks to play the role of the general public, Jeremy Corbyn has been attracting rallies of many thousands of supporters wherever he goes.

In Leeds on Monday he drew a huge crowd when he made a speech outside the Brudenell Social Club in a student area with a slim Liberal Democrat majority.

The crowd packed all the space available and people were climbing trees and railings in the park opposite just to get a glimpse of Corbyn.

His biggest cheer came when he promised to tax the big corporations “a little more”, though someone on the crowd shouted: “It should be a lot more.”

The next day in Bradford Corbyn officially launched Labour’s manifesto for the coming election — again to a big crowd.

The manifesto had already been leaked the previous week so most of its contents were already known — there had been just a few tweaks added within the last week.

The unions welcomed its contents. Len McCluskey, general secretary of the giant union Unite, said: “What Labour is doing today is what Labour does best — offering real change for the many in this country. Labour will invest in our people and build a Britain that we can all be proud of.

“For those who want to see our children given a chance, to see that work really pays, that our elderly and vulnerable are no longer degraded by government policy, then the answer is to vote Labour.

“For too long, working people have been at the sharp end of Conservative cuts and disastrous economic mismanagement — and they will be again if that party takes power on 8th June.

“The reality of Conservative rule is that for those not protected by power and wealth, life gets tougher.

“In every aspect of life — from an affordable home to a safe NHS, from a decent education for all our kids to a living wage and a decent job — the story of the Tory party is that our communities suffer.

“The Labour party will put a halt to this. Under Labour, working people and their communities will stand tall again.”

The civil service union PCS, which is not affiliated to Labour, said that pledges in the Labour party election manifesto published today (16th May) to end the public sector pay cap, repeal anti-trade union legislation and strengthen employment rights stand in stark contrast to the Conservatives’ bogus claims on workers’ rights.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ““Labour’s pledges to end the public sector pay cap, improve collective bargaining, repeal anti-trade union legislation and strengthen employment rights stand in stark contrast to the Conservatives’ bogus claims on workers’ rights.

“Labour’s manifesto sets out a clear commitment to many long-standing PCS industrial issues and demands, including an end to the privatisation of public services, renationalisation of public utilities and raising the pay of civil and public service workers.

“Tax reforms we have long campaigned for — including the ‘Robin Hood tax’ — offer the opportunity to ensure that those with the greatest wealth contribute more. Coupled with much-needed investment in HMRC to go after those who evade and avoid tax, these reforms will provide essential and much-needed investment in our public services.

“Plans to reform social security, including scrapping the hated Bedroom Tax, ending benefit sanctions and reinstating housing benefit for those under 21 are most welcome and signal a shift away from the policy of demonising claimants doggedly pursued by the Tories.

“Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have always shown great support for PCS campaigns and our members, and their pledges are in stark contrast to what the Tories have to offer. We have been clear that our message to our members is that another Tory government would be the worst possible outcome.”

And the RMT transport union — another union not affiliated to Labour, also welcomed the manifesto. General secretary Mick Cash said: “Labour’s commitment to British state ownership of our rail, power and water, as opposed to the foreign state-backed exploitation of our essential services supported by the Tories, shows that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is clearly fighting to protect our national interests.

“Labour’s manifesto recognises the dangers of Driver Only Operation and commits to safe and accessible railways for all. The manifesto represents a massive boost for public transport after more than two decades of Tory privatisation and RMT welcomes this departure from the failed, profiteering model that has dragged Britain into the slow lane.”