Corbyn says he needs to ‘get message out there’ to defeat Ukip in 2017. The voters hear you, Jeremy – but they’re not interested
Jeremy Corbyn unveils his plans for a New Year drive to take the fight to UKIP in Labour’s heartlands, but, Ukip has already vowed to take the fight to Labour, and under Paul Nuttall, there is a view that Ukip will wipe the Labour Party out of existence entirely.
The far Left-wing Communist Marxist Labour Party Leader who has been linked to some despicable organisations says the party will be stepping up its campaign to counter the “extremely negative messages” from UKIP ???.
Many now feel that 2017 will be the year of battle between Ukip and Labour, and only one will survive.
One doubts that Gerard Manley Hopkins is regular bedtime reading for most Labour MPs. But these lines should be their watchword – if Labour moderates thought that 2016 was bad, just wait for 2017.
The year ends with support for the party slumped to around 25 per cent, giving an average Tory lead in the polls in double figures, but Ukip is sure to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Jeremy Corbyn’s threat to destroy them.
Ukip will now surely enjoy completely annihilating the Labour Party from influence and existence within British politics forever.
The first six months of 2016 were dominated by an EU referendum campaign in which Jeremy Corbyn took the concept of “dialling it in” to stunning extremes.
Thanks to his performance, half of all Labour voters thought that the party’s position was to leave the EU. And when a third of them voted for Brexit, the nation realised that Jeremy Corbyn, and the Labour Party as a whole were a lost cause and do not have a clue concerning the general feeling amongst the common people.
The British people want ‘OUT’ of the EU, no ifs no buts.
The borders must be closed and we must take back control of our own laws and destiny.
Jeremy Corbyn For Mass Immigration
But Mr Corbyn is refusing to shift his stance on free movement of people – a growing demand of Labour MPs and his trade union backers.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, he accepts Labour has a had turbulent 2016 because of the leadership contest and needs to do more “to get our message out there.”
As part of the fightback, Labour is planning a series of economic policy conferences in the first months of 2017 to push the party’s agenda and blunt UKIP’s appeal.
“I will challenge UKIP on the basis that UKIP attacks minorities who run our health service, offers to privatise the health service but doesn’t offer to build any houses, doesn’t offer to deal with the issues facing communities and doesn’t do anything to challenge the appalling underfunding of local government, particularly in the poorest areas,” he says.
Mr Corbyn faces his first big test in the Copeland by-election caused by the resignation of Labour MP Jamie Reed.
Labour is set for a three-way battle with UKIP and the Tories in the Cumbrian seat which it held by only 2,564 votes in 2015.
Mr Corbyn recognises the threat posed by UKIP in Labour’s heartlands. He says the anti-European party is “working very hard on an extremely negative message” and are “always blaming the most vulnerable people for the causes of all the problems in society.”
He adds: “I simply say this: UKIP would privatise health care in the same way that Trump is a product of that whole philosophy of the individual fending for themselves.
In reality it is public provision that does provide decent housing, decent education and public investment that will help provide decent jobs.”
The result of the EU referendum has prompted a string of Labour MPs in the north such as Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper to call for an end to freedom of movement – the right for any EU citizen to live and work in another EU country.
Mr Corbyn argues the way to deal with immigration is to stop bosses exploiting workers and undercutting wages.
Asked if there should be changes to free movement, he replies: “It’s very hard to see how you can be part of the single market without one of the conditions being the right of free movement of people. There is an issue about balance of living standards and working conditions across Europe.”
It is put to him that shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has called for the rules on free movement to change.
This was his response: “I know he said that but the issue has to be what conditions are going to be for market access and decision is going to have to be made at that point.
I would argue strongly: end the undercutting, end the exploitation and that would make a big difference.”
However the Labour leader says the party will not block Article 50 and rules out a second referendum.
“I don’t think there is any appetite for a second referendum and I don’t think it’s a good idea to say ‘you’ve had a referendum, you got the result wrong, you have to do it over again.’ It’s not like homework, the referendum took place, it wasn’t the result we wanted but you have to respect the result,” he says.
Reflecting on 2016, Mr Corbyn says one of the highlights was meeting Barack Obama. He also points to the election of Donald Trump as evidence that “anything can happen” in politics.
The Labour leader is determined to draw a line under last summer’s attempted coup and leadership challenge.
He insists Labour is now in a better place.
“The leadership challenge did distract us from our campaigning work as a party. I have tried to reach out and appointed a Shadow Cabinet which is quite young but is reflective of the diversity in the party.
“And I have tried to reach out to the Parliamentary Party and I think actually the Parliamentary Party is in a better place than it was a few months ago and colleagues do understand the need for this campaigning work.”
He also rejected the idea, posed by his allies Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone, that he had 12 months in which to prove himself.
“I don’t know where these rather arbitrary dates come from. I am out there every day campaigning with our party to get our message across,” he said.
There was also a message for the hundreds of thousands of new members who signed up to support him in the leadership race.
Labour MPs have complained that many of these new recruits only joined to back Corbyn and are reluctant to take part in local campaigning.
Mr Corbyn said he wanted to see his supporters, including those in Momentum, do more.
“What I say to new members is ‘we are really pleased you’ve joined the party, you are really welcome in the party it is about campaigning work and convincing people of our cause of social and injustice in Britain and I hope they will get on board and I am doing a lot of events to try and mobilise people to do that,” he said.
He also has no remorse about taking the party to the left.
Across Western Europe, traditional centre-left parties are in decline. Mr Corbyn says that will continue unless they offer a genuine alternative.
“The social democratic model across Europe got very involved post 2008 in managing the enormity of the financial crisis.
“In those countries where the Labour equivalent has offered an economic alternative of something different such as Portugal and Norway they have done quite well.
“You have got to challenge the received wisdom of economics that you deal with a financial crisis by cutting public expenditure.
“If you go down the road of cutting corporation tax and public expenditure and saying you all have to suffer, the reality is in Britain it has led to greater inequality. It has to be a clear message there comes a time when you say inequality is the enemy of everybody,” he says.