Can Theresa May survive?

Theresa May is determined to grab the worst Prime Minister ever crown from her predecessor, at least if her incompetence over the Grenfell tragedy is anything to go by. Her initial visit to the site to meet emergency service workers but pointedly not surviving residents was incredibly cold, and incredibly damaging. For millions, May’s behaviour sums up the contempt she and her ilk have for working class people, and those in particular forced to get by with social security support. On top of all that, more failures have come out that impact and reinforce the reception of Grenfell as an episode in the class war. We learn the Tories were slapping each others’ backs for diluting fire safety regulations earlier this year. While Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council could have been investing more in service provision, it turns out they’ve doled out council tax rebates while local authorities in poorer parts of the country winced under the cosh of cuts. And lastly, according to the recently-defenestrated Nick Clegg, he met resistance on social housing from Dave and Osborne because it only “creates Labour voters”. No wonder people are bloody angry. Continue reading

Labour has a six-point lead against a weak minority government propped up by extremists – we just need another election 

The first poll after the General Election has put Labour ahead by six points, while Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were tied on ‘who would make the best prime minister’. Survation, who along with YouGov were one of the closest pollsters to predicting the result, had Labour on 45% (+5), Conservatives on 39% (-3), Lib Dems on 7% (-) with UKIP on 3% (+1). The fieldwork was completed on Saturday. YouGov’s poll on who would make best Prime Minister had May on 39% (-4), with Corbyn also on 39% (+7), with the fieldwork done on Friday and Saturday.

Corbyn – having been widely-expected by the commentariat to fall below 200 seats on Thursday – is now in a position of having achieved an astonishing against-all-odds result, and now leading May by six points in the polls – a result that would give Labour a clear majority were there to be another election.  Continue reading

The polls are inconclusive – but they do show a chance of a big upset tomorrow

The story of the General Election for the past few weeks has been twofold: the formerly insurmountable image of “Team May” with the Iron Lady 2.0 gradually stumbling from blunder to blunder, while an insurgent Corbyn slowly becoming that ‘people-powered movement’ we have been building for the past two years. That story has been reflected in a series of opinion polls that show, wherever the starting point, whatever the methodology, the Tories lead has been squeezed.

The unfortunate flip side and stark reality to that story, is that Labour began from an impossibly poor starting point, and that May, even in the most unfavourable of polls, apparently remains popular with a sufficient chunk of the British electorate (especially the chunk that tends to turn out and vote) to give her a sizeable lead going into tomorrow’s vote.  Continue reading

Tories want to drive living standards lower. Corbyn wants to end austerity

This article first appeared on Socialist Economic Bulletin.

During the current crisis the UK has experienced the longest-ever recorded fall in living standards. The biggest part of that fall is not the cuts to government spending, even though these have had severe effects. Instead the largest factor contributing to the fall in living standards is the decline in real wages. The Resolution Foundation calls this decade the worst for falling pay in over 200 years.

This fall has now resumed once more because of the combination of stagnation in wage growth and rising prices. The rise in prices is a Brexit effect, after the sharp devaluation of the pound following the referendum result in June 2016. It is ridiculous for Theresa May to suggest the falling pound and therefore the fall in real wages, is not the result of the Brexit vote. Continue reading