On Sunday 1 October, Theresa May spoke to a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference. And during the address, the PM paid an unguarded compliment to Jeremy Corbyn; one she probably thought would never see the light of day. But little did she know her speech was being filmed…
Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!
We thought there was a political consensus. Jeremy Corbyn has changed that. It’s our job to go out and make those arguments all over again.
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— Ned Simons (@nedsimons) October 1, 2017
May’s admission comes after Corbyn declared at the Labour Party conference that his party is now the “political mainstream”. But if the PM had been paying attention before the 8 June election, she may have realised that Labour was changing the “political consensus” way back then; as all the polling on the parties’ manifestos pointed to this.
The ‘political consensus’
As The Canary previously reported, a poll conducted by ComRes for The Daily Mirror surveyed [pdf, p1] 1,021 adults online on 11 May. It asked them about their opinions on Labour’s manifesto policies; how far left and right certain political figures and parties were; and broader thoughts on both Labour and the Conservatives.
The results [pdf, pp2-4] of support for Labour policies were as follows:
It also found that:
- 46% of people supported scrapping tuition fees, versus 37% opposed to it.
- 53% supported bringing back conductors on driver-only trains, versus 18% opposed to it.
- 49% of people supported the renationalisation of energy companies, versus 29% against it.
Labour: on point
Looking deeper into the research [pdf, p71], 44% of people would have rather voted for a party that wants social justice and stronger workers’ rights, as opposed to 38% for an economically “strong and stable” one; which was, essentially, Labour vs Conservative.
And while more people generally [pdf pp72-74] trusted the Tories when it came to economics, crime and justice, and defence, Labour was more popular on education, the NHS, and protecting jobs.
In separate polling by YouGov on 25 May, Labour was again winning the battle of the manifestos. Because it demonstrated the public turning against the Conservative manifesto, and towards Labour’s:
For the many
Since the general election, Labour has generally been ahead in the polls; albeit marginally at times. Corbyn’s party has led in 21 out of 28 opinion polls conducted since the general election, with the majority of recent polls giving Labour a three to four point lead.
If May is serious about ‘making the Tories’ arguments’ to the public all over again, she may need to change the record. Because the political momentum is now firmly with Corbyn, while the PM leads a party struggling to adjust to this apparent shift in public attitudes.
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