It has been quite a few weeks in the latest British General Election. The really interesting story is how the Conservative Party’s lead in the opinion polls keeps dropping. At the outset of the announcement of a General Election in the middle of April the Tories stood a top what looked like an insurmountable opinion poll lead. The opinion poll companies put them somewhere in the range of 18-22%. This would have given the Conservative Party its biggest landslide majority in the House of Commons since the 1980s. Even as matters stand now the Conservatives are still on course to win the election and with a larger majority than at the 2015 General Election.
Yet their opinion poll lead rather than holding up or growing ahead of Election Day set for Thursday June 8th is actually declining as the campaign wears on. With so much of the mainstream press in Britain backing Theresa May’s Tory Party and the overwhelmingly hostile campaign of nearly all the newspapers and members of his own Parliamentary Party, Mr. Corbyn, had been pronounced by many in the London media and indeed within his party in the House of Commons as a dead man walking with no hope of slashing the Tory lead let alone consistently week on week bring it down by 3-4%. Now the Tories once mighty lead has fallen by nearly 10 % in the space of three weeks or so. At this rate come election day it may even be tied between Labour and the Conservatives or a few points separating them.
How has this happened. Well, it would appear that while most of Mr. Corbyn’s Parliamentary Party were plotting his downfall with various journalists he and the Labour Leadership have been developing rich policy work across a range of public policy areas in need of drastic reform. Since the formal launch of the campaign all we have had from Theresa May and her Conservatives is one vacuous slogan: «Strong and Stable leadership.» Nothing on the NHS and the funding crisis it and schools in Britain are facing. Nothing on plans to update and improve Britain’s appalling infrastructure; nothing to help bring down the cost of living holding shark landlords and extortionate rents to account. Nothing on the job creation of the future. Basically on all the important domestic policies which affect people’s lives, Theresa May and the Conservative Party have said and presented nothing.
When she and her colleagues have finally started discussing their actual policies and governing vision for Britain it is actually start to frighten some of what were thought to be some of the most reliable of the Tory horses – Pensioners. Pensioners and those nearing retirement were greeted with the Tory prospect that a «dementia tax» would be introduced which would see elderly people receiving social care and having to fund the entire cost, until they reached their last £100,000 of assets. They are quite a large voting bloc and overwhelmingly backed Brexit against the wishes of future generations who will actually be alive when those who voted for Brexit are long gone.
The average UK house price stands at £215,847, so the «dementia tax» would affect many middle-class voters. It is being compared to Margaret Thatcher’s flagship policy of her third term – the «Community Charge» or Poll Tax which proved so unpopular in the country that it fuelled a massive rebellion that ended her near 16 year leadership of the Conservative Party. So, perhaps British voters are finally, finally just starting (and here I emphasize just starting) to finally wake up and realize that the Tories are a deeply divisive, sinister party who offer nothing for those who need it the most and are a tiny clique of a party that represents the interests a very privileged, powerful, wealthy minority whose number one political agenda is to protect and preserve their privileges and vested interests while ensuring the perpetuation of economic and social inequality which suits the preservation and enhancement of their established wealth and with it power to the detriment of the country as a whole. There have also been Mrs. May’s lukewarm attitude towards preserving the «triple lock» on pensions and the possibility that VAT already at a staggering 20% may go up after the next Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party have been rolling out what appear to be well thought out; costed and popular policies with key constituencies across the UK. Many people have started to say that Jeremy Corbyn’s message on the home front or his foreign policy views make a great deal of sense and he is not the Stalinist madman that the likes of the Daily Mail and the Sun have made him out to be while Mrs. May’s vacuous, meaningless slogan «strong and stable leadership» is starting to wear very thin with little policy meat on the bones to back it up and what there is such as the «dementia tax» are thoroughly nasty, horrible policies. Mrs. May; her inadequate team and the party she leads may find come polling day they squandered one of the largest opinion poll leads in the shortest space of time imaginable. If by June 9th we are back to the situation of 2010 where no one party commands an overall working majority in the House of Commons there could very well be the possibility of a Labour/Liberal/SNP alliance forming a Coalition Government with the Greens thrown in for good measure. What delicious irony it would be if the only exit Mrs. May gets to preside over is her own exit from No. 10 Downing Street in the days after June 8th.