Labour manifesto: Corbyn's policies take stride to left

Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour's manifesto Image copyright PA

Jeremy Corbyn stunned his party hierarchy by becoming its leader. Now he has shown how he hopes to change the country.

It is his manifesto, very much his manifesto, with some senior members of the shadow cabinet still in the dark about the precise details about the big decisions on tax this morning.

And his manifesto represents a break from the political direction of travel that has dominated British politics for years - moves towards higher, not lower tax, a bigger, not smaller state, a move from what Labour had considered the centre ground.

One senior Labour figure told me you wouldn't expect him to do anything other than paint on a big canvas.

But it's the public who will decide if the picture is to their taste next month. Mr Corbyn's team hopes the problems and pressures of 2017 Britain have recast the electorate, and it is eager for something different.

Jeremy Corbyn told me today how the crowds that are greeting him in many places on the campaign trail energise him, and he hopes that new voter registrations, particularly among people like those who packed Bradford University to hear him today will make a big difference.

He faces significant obstacles though to close the gap in the polls, not withstanding the very obvious feeling of excitement he inspires among some voters.

Moving to the left is a gamble. Ed Miliband took a couple of dainty steps to the left and lost the last election. Jeremy Corbyn is taking a significant stride.

Second, sometimes the party still seems confused about exactly what it wants to do - whether Mr Corbyn's own misunderstandings over the party's policy on benefits today, (when IS a freeze, really a freeze?) and his party's own very public disagreements over not just policy, but his simple ability to do the job.

Traditionally, the public punishes parties at the polls who fight amongst themselves. And in any argument, which is after all what an election essentially is, albeit a big one, clarity is important.

Noises off do not help. And tonight, with Len McCluskey - one of his biggest backers - suggesting Labour can't win, Jeremy Corbyn needs a lot more than cheering crowds to turn this around.

Related Topics