Corbyn’s power play: the five big ideas

Split: A recent Survation poll puts support for Labour at 41% and the Conservatives at 37%.

Is he prime minister material? Today, Jeremy Corbyn will address the Labour Party conference in a pitch to be Britain’s next leader. Here are five trump cards which could win over voters.

1/ Nationalisation: Taking industries into public ownership has long been a key policy for Corbyn. The idea has decisive public support too. A YouGov poll found that 60% of people support nationalising railways and 59% want the same for water companies (in both cases only 25% oppose).

2/ Spending: A Labour government would also raise some taxes and increase public spending. Once again, this has wide support. According to 2017 figures, 60% of people support tax increases (in order to boost spending on NHS, education and social benefits).

3/ Europe: Yesterday, Labour members backed a motion declaring that Labour must campaign for a second referendum if two things happen. One: Theresa May’s Brexit plan is voted down by Parliament. Two: a general election is not called following this defeat.

4/ Attacking big business: On Monday, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, slammed corporations for avoiding taxes. This chimes with public opinion. In a 2015 poll, 74% of people agreed that “most of the biggest businesses in the world have dodged taxes, damaged the environment or bought special favours from politicians.”

5/ Empowering workers: A policy from this year’s conference is to force UK companies to give 10% of their shares to workers. Polling found that 54% of the public support the idea.

Would Jeremy Corbyn be a good prime minister?

Jez he can?

No, some say. It is easy to pander to public opinion when you are not in power. Things change when you are in office, and Corbyn is not equipped to make the hard decisions that statesmanship requires.

Nonsense, others respond. After years of austerity and shambolic leadership, Britain faces a crippling decline in living standards and a bleak future for the young and old. We need fresh revolutionary thinking. We need Jeremy Corbyn.

You Decide

  1. Would Jeremy Corbyn make a good prime minister?

Activities

  1. What are the three social or political issues that mean the most to you? Write them down in ascending order. Share and discuss with your class. Do you think that modern politicians care about the same issues as you? Why/why not?

Some People Say...

“We can create a new kind of politics: kinder, more respectful, but courageous, too.”

Jeremy Corbyn

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
As it stands, there are no plans for a second referendum on Brexit and Labour is not campaigning for one (indeed some within the party believe it is a bad idea).
What do we not know?
Who would win if a general election were to be called. Recent polling by The Times found that 19% of people would happily vote for Boris Johnson, while 21% would happily vote for Corbyn.

Word Watch

Public ownership
When a government owns and operates a company or industry.
Figures
From the National Centre for Social Research.
Voted down
Whatever deal Theresa May manages to secure with the EU must also be ratified in Parliament. Labour MPs will likely vote down May’s Brexit proposals as they currently stand. It would then only take a handful of rebel Tory MPs to reject the deal.
Shares
Units of ownership which private companies are split into.

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