LABOUR leader Corbyn was full of confidence as he opened his campaign to be re-elected as leader of the Labour Party yesterday. He said: ‘I’m proud of what we have achieved in the last ten months. Labour is stronger … we have won every parliamentary by-election we have faced … three of them with greatly increased majorities.
‘We overtook the Tories in the May elections. We won all four mayoral contests – in Liverpool and Salford, in London for the first time since 2004 and in Bristol for the first time ever. We also won Bristol Council for the first time since 2003. Our party membership has gone from below 200,000 just over a year ago … to over half a million today.’
In fact, over 180,000 people over 48 hours have just paid £25 to be classed as Labour supporters so that they could, in the main, vote for Corbyn. Labour with 380,000 new members and 640,000 members in all is many times bigger than the Tory party.
Admonishing Labour’s right-wing MPs he said: ‘Just over a year ago there were those in our party in parliament … who were unsure about whether to oppose a Bill … that threatened to take £12 billion from welfare … cash support for the less well-off, low-paid workers and the disabled.
‘Today we are clear … we are proud to defend the tax credits built up by Gordon Brown … and proud to defend our greatest creation … that is social security for all.’ He added: ‘And we did it again with Personal Independence Payments for disabled people in the Budget … we shamed the government into abandoning their plans to take £4 billion from disabled people … that helps them live independent lives … at a time when the government was giving yet more tax cuts to big business and the wealthiest.’
He claimed that these victories were ‘laying the ground for a kinder, gentler politics … that respects those unable to work … that treats disabled people with dignity …’ However, he did not advance a socialist programme. Instead, he said: ‘We should now work to build a transformed economy where no-one is left behind.’ He alleged: ‘The injustices that scar society today are not those of 1945 … Want, Squalor, Idleness, Disease and Ignorance …’ In other words a 1945-type socialist programme is not what is required!
‘Today what is holding people back above all are … Inequality… Neglect … Insecurity … Prejudice … and Discrimination … In my campaign I want to confront all five of those ills head on … setting out, not only how Labour will campaign against these injustices in opposition … but also spelling out some of the measures … the next Labour government will take to overcome them … and move decisively towards a society in which opportunity and prosperity is truly shared … in which no individual is held back … and no community left behind.’
He continued: ‘So Labour is calling time on the waiting game … and I am making the commitment today that the next Labour government … will require all employers with more than 21 staff … to publish equality pay audits … Because it is not only women who face workplace discrimination … but disabled workers … the youngest and oldest workers … black and ethnic minority workers.’
He added: ‘We are calling time on discrimination … and, as we know from the minimum wage, proper enforcement matters and makes the difference … So we are also committing to fund the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to monitor employers’ equality pay audits to take action where required to eradicate discrimination; and … to fine employers that do not provide them.’
He added: ‘Over the next couple of months, our campaign will set out how we plan to defeat the Tories … and elect a Labour government that will act to tame the forces holding people back: … of Inequality … Neglect … Insecurity … Prejudice … and Discrimination …’ His minimum programme is not a socialist programme.
But within the velvet glove there was the hint of at least a couple of knuckles, as he said that boundary changes would lead to the re-selection of most MPs before 2020, and that all MPs should face reselection at the end of a parliament.
Corbyn was essentially offering the right wing a peace programme. They will fling it back in his face. They hate the masses of workers that have joined the Labour Party and want to get rid of them as soon as possible, so that normal business can continue with the Tories.