Theresa May

To The Left

 

To the left, to the left everything you own in a box to the left…

What does Beyonce have in common with Bernie and Jeremy? They all are not afraid of shifting people to the left.

To the left bernie & Jeremy

to the left beyonce

Whilst Beyonce was singing about sending a man packing “everything you own in the to box to the left”, Corbyn and Sanders have always had a different “left” on their minds which is moving the political landscape to the left.

With recent political events such as Brexit, Trump becoming President, the rise and fall of Le Pen in France it appears that politics has turned all the way right. However there is not one sole reason as to these events, issues such as Brexit are multi faceted and not everyone who voted to leave the EU would consider themselves as right-wingers. Political commentators have been discussing the emergence of right, but what about the left? There has been a talk of ‘the left being dead’, after the American elections last year and from the Tories winning with a majority in the general election 2015. There were questions as to why both Labour and the Democrats, who had enjoyed power for a period of time were losing support from their core members. Both parties had taken their core support for granted in recent elections.Bernie Sanders, ‘America’s Jeremy Corbyn’ and his equivalent ‘Britain’s Bernie’ both have tried to address these issues and to engage with those who their parties had left behind.

Is ‘Bernie’ Jeremy and is Bernie ‘Jeremy’ ?

Both Bernie and Jeremy have lead anti-establishment campaigns in the hope of convincing the the working class, the average Joe, minorities, the young and women; that their left-wing movement is the best political choice to make. There are striking similarities between the men, they both have opposed inequality and their theme is redistribution of wealth and income from the very few to the majority. Additionally, both men though old have been able to connect with the young (Sanders is 75 and Corbyn is 68) which is something that the other politicians on their election campaigns could not do. They both have offered policies that are appealing to the young e.g. Labour promising to abolish university tuition fees during the recent election and Sanders’ plan to make tuition and fees free at public colleges and universities.  They also both know how to run effective social media campaigns, you only have to look at how their supporters rallied around  #FeeltheBern and #JezWeCan. A difference to point out is that Sanders is not a party politician, he was the first independent to be elected in the US House of Representatives in 40 years and Corbyn has always been a party man (this can point be debated with his voting record with Labour).

During the general election, Bernie Sanders praised Corbyn’s campaign and his efforts to reshape Labour and the UK. He shared his commonalities with Corbyn and said,  “What has impressed me-and there is a real similarity between what has he done and what I did-is he has taken on the establishment of the Labour party, he has gone to the grassroots and he has tried to transform that party…and that is exactly what I am trying to do”. He further added that he was impressed by Corbyn’s willingness to speak about class issues that affect not only the UK and America but the world.

Have they moved ‘everyone to the left’ ?

Sanders and Corbyn have a lot in common as discussed above, but has their anti-establishment movement resonated with the majority? Have they shifted everyone to the left or will Bernie and Jeremy have to pack their political boxes to the left?

Let’s talk about Bernie.

To the left bernie

According to Morning Consult’s poll, Mr Sanders is here to stay. A poll released on July 11 Senator Bernie Sanders was the most popular politician in the Senate with a 75% approval rating. In like manner, Fox News conducted a poll in April and found Sanders was the highest favourable politician at 61%. In addition, PolitiFact supported the claim Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States even though he lost to Hillary Clinton. This evidence supports the argument that Bernie Sanders along with his views and policy proposals are liked and supported by the American people. In March, Bernie told a crowd in ‘Trump Country’ West Virginia that “healthcare was a right” and this was met with a round of applause. Bernie spoke to Trump supporters in a rural town hall on a number of topics like climate change, healthcare, free higher education and this was met with warm reception. This demonstrates the ‘Bernie effect’- he has been able to speak on issues that everyday people care about. This also supports the notion that the country is moving towards the left and more are open to progressive policies. In a June poll by USA Today found that only 12%  of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan. Sanders remarks at the NAACP convention that the Republican’s healthcare “…legislation is overwhelmingly opposed by the American people” reflects USA’s Today’s findings.

Though he is loved by his supporters, the love is not the same within the Democratic Party. Following Clinton’s loss to Trump, Bernie Sanders has lead the resistance in the Democratic Party by pushing for progressive reform in the party and rallying against the Republicans’ health care plan. Some within the party are critical of Sanders policies and have opposed his plans for example Bernie’s medicare plans. This fall out has lead to cases where there has been in fighting between the two factions within Democrats at state level. So, has everyone moved left in the Democratic Party? A majority of the Democrats in the Senate did back Bernie’s bill that would raise the federal minimum wage in contrast to $15 in contrast to in 2015 when he introduced it only 5 senators supported it. Leading Democrat Senators such as Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have all expressed their support for ‘Medicare-for-all’. This highlights the clear shift within the party, when only in 2016 last year Hillary Clinton said single-payer “will never, ever come to pass”. Polls have now showed that there is an increase of 19% of Democrats who want to see a single-payer system . In this poll by Pew Research Center 60% of Americans believe the federal government is responsible for covering healthcare for all. Even now 33% favour a single-payer system to health insurance, which is up 5% since January of this year and 12% since 2014.

To the left pew research center

There is now more support than ever for single health insurance run by the government rather than a mix of private companies and government initiatives. The Democrat party needs to now get behind Sanders and his new way of doing politics, otherwise they will be in disarray again in the upcoming mid-term elections and in 2020. Voters have taken a liken to Sanders’  sincere engagement in politics and how he reaches out to everyone. This is a strategy that all Democrats should seek to learn from to differentiate themselves from the Republicans.

There are claims that Bernie is to run again in 2020 however he has said that it is “too early” to talk about. Donald Trump, would lose in 2020 if Bernie Sanders was to run according to Public Policy Polling. Trump would lose to Bernie by a 52-39 margin (poll also showed Trump would lose Joe Biden by a greater margin and a 7 point margin margin by Elizabeth Warren). Just like Trump, Bernie is an outsider  to the ‘establishment’ as an independent senator. This is to his advantage as he has and will continue to gain popularity with those who feel underrepresented by the Democrats and the Republicans. Sanders’ popularity driven by activism, is another similarity shared with Jeremy Corbyn. The left is not dead in America folks, its a new left, a left that rejected Hillary and a left that focuses on those left behind. Its Bernie’s Left.

Let’s talk about Jeremy.

to the left jeremy

We know how Corbyn has faced criticism from his peers across other parties but also within Labour and at times his own Shadow Cabinet. Following the general election, his popularity has surged with a poll conducted shortly after the election showing Labour five points ahead of the Tories at 46%. It also showed Theresa May approval rating had gone down by minus 17 and in contrast Corbyn had gained 17 points. Jeremy Corbyn surprised all political commentators by gaining 34 seats including constituencies Kensington and Chelsea and Canterbury which were under the Tories previously.  The Labour leader benefited from the youth vote and his policies that connected with the general public. In a recent poll by the Evening Standard , Jeremy Corbyn has taken his best ever rating and overtaken Theresa May. Forty-four per cent of adults are satisfied with Corbyn compared to May’s 34% and  her government’s 28%. This poll highlights the strong dissatisfaction with May and is the lowest rating for any modern-day Prime Minister after an election. It also shows that Theresa May has become more unpopular than the early days of Corbyn’s Labour leadership. This all demonstrates that there has been a shift in the left but to what extent? Is it only because of the poor performance of May during the election campaign and dislike for the government’s policies for example its refusal to raise public sector wages? We will only truly know if there was to be another election and then can observe whether his popularity will translate into votes. Also, maybe we will see whether that has been a true shift to the left in Labour and the general public has taken place if May was to resign with a more popular Tory to replace her.

Bernie and Jeremy have not been afraid to move everyone to the left, whether its within the party they represent or the general public. It can clearly be seen that that there has been a strong shift towards their views with more supporting their policies and ideas. However politics is cyclical, all it takes is one event to shift the conversation back towards the right again. For now Bernie and Jeremy can keep their boxes in and press forward to the left.

 

Images: Channel 4 News/Youtube , Pew Research Center , BBC , CNN

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Out with the Old, In With the New

out with the old and in with the new 8

Cameron out, Theresa in.

The new Prime Minister has named her first cabinet: Phillip Hammond as chancellor, Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and the surprise of the day, Boris Johnson as the new Foreign Secretary.  Aside from Boris (this is debatable), there are no heavyweights in the new cabinet. No Osborne, No Nicky Morgan, and bye bye to Michael Gove who is rumoured to have clashed with May. Interestingly, Theresa has chosen to depart from the usual cabinet appointment method where the Prime Minister would include the heavyweights in his or her government. The reason behind this is that Prime Minister will have the full support of the party and it will unify the government. By not appointing the big beasts in her cabinet, Theresa May is making a statement that her appointments are different to the usual ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ in politics. Instead she will have the heavyweights as backbenchers, whether this will be something for her worry to about…we shall see. Most importantly Theresa May has placed Brexit backing MPs in positions that will be key to Brexit negotiations (as previously mentioned Boris as foreign secretary, David Davis as the Brexit minister and Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary). She also gave her former rival, Andrea Leadsom (who backed Brexit), the Environment Secretary job.

Compare it to Cameron’s Cabinet

The remainers vs brexiters, Theresa chose to include more of the brexiters in her cabinet to reflect the outcome of the referendum.

out with the old and in with the new 1

While many are celebrating Theresa May being the second female prime minister, some are criticising that it is still not good enough-it is an improvement of one.

out with the old and in with the new 2

The number of black and minoritiy ethnic MPs in the cabinet, like women it is an improvement of one and not reflective of the population in this country. Priti Patel, joins Sajid Javid in the Cabinet.

out with the old and in with the new 3

The old vs the young. Cameron’s cabinet commpared to Theresa May’s was younger with 13 out of 22 cabinet ministers in their 40s.

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Many have criticised Cameron’s government for being elitist this includes Nadine Dorries Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire. She described Cameron and George Osborne as “two arrogant posh boys” with “no passion to want to understand the lives of others”. It looks like Theresa May wants to move away from that.

out with the old and in with the new 4

So who is in?-the newbies, the people who got a promotion and the unlucky who got demoted.

Boris Johnson- BREXITER

The former London Mayor was considered as the frontrunner to takeover Cameron, only until Michael Gove backstabbed him and run for the Conservative Leadership. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Boris worked as a journalist before coming into politics and has written for the Times, the Spectator and the Telegraph. As much as Boris is a popular figure, he is also a controversial one. He was forced to apologise for his comments in 2002, referring to Africans as “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles” . He has also been scrutinised for insulting Turkey’s president, commenting on Obama’s ancestry and more. America, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Sweden…the list goes on and on but in short, the world thinks we have lost it in him being the Foreign Secretary when he has offended so many leaders, diplomats and countries.

A map of countries he has offended:

out with the old and in with the new 6

Phillip Hammond-REMAINER

The former foreign secretary is seen as the ultimate safe hands in government and someone Theresa May will be able to rely on. Mr Hammond has been a MP since 1997, joined the cabinet as Transport Secretary, then he became the Defence Secretary and he is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Amber Rudd-REMAINER

One of the Tories’ rising stars, Amber Rudd won a marginal seat from Labour back in 2010. After being on the backbenches, she was promoted by George Osborne serving as his Parliamentary Secretary and was appointed as the Energy Secretary in 2015 and is now the Home Secretary. Unlike many in her party, Amber Rudd is committed to tackling climate change and her appointment was respected by environment groups.

The others…

Many thought that Jeremy Hunt would not survive May’s reshuffle, however he lives to fight another day. Jeremy Hunt is to continue with his controversial reforms of the NHS and there may be more industrial action if he plans to go ahead and impose contracts on doctors. His next challenge is taking on the consultants. As for Liam Fox, this is a political revival for the Brexiter, from backbench to one of the most important positions that can be held currently as International Trade Secretary. He will be responsible for negotiating trade deals beyond Europe, an argument that the Brexit Camp said was a benefit of being outside the EU. Michael Fallon, remains as Defence Secretary and is one of the few that kept his job. Justine Greening has been promoted to Education Secretary (was International Development Secretary) and will be replacing Nicky Morgan. A bit of history made by May’s reshuffle, Liz Truss is the first female Justice Secretary and will be replacing Michael Gove. Chris Grayling, one of May’s biggest supporters is the new Transport Secretary and was previously the Leaders of the House of Commons and justice secretary. Greg Clark previously the communities secretary has now taken over the defunct Business, Industry and Skills (it is now Business, Energy and Industrial energy, Theresa May has merged the energy and business departments together). Patrick McLoughlin previously the transport secretary and is now the Conservative party chairman and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Alan Cairns and David Mundell remain unchanged. The newbies are Karen Bradley, James Brokenshire, Damian Green, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel. Sajid David, is one of the few left associated with Old Downing Street, he has moved down from Business Secretary to Communities and Local Government.

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So who is out?-Those who were shown the door, those who “resigned” and those who did not want the job no more

It has been called one of the most ruthless reshuffles in recent times with nine sackings and resignations. Theresa May sacked a number of Cameron’s closest allies which includes George Osborne, the former Chancellor and axed Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan and John Whittingdale. Stephen Crabb resigned from his role as Work and Pensions Secretary “in the best interests of my family” and Theresa Villiers the former Northern Ireland Secretary resigned.

Theresa May’s government

Theresa May’s cabinet has had a change of direction and its a big one. From sacking big names, to surprising us all of with Boris as the Foreign Secretary (Osborne was not a surprise) and abolishing the Energy and Climate Change department. Then merging energy with business and having veteran right-wingers Liam Fox and David Davis in Brexit related roles. One thing is for sure, Theresa wants us all to know that the Cameron era is in the past. She wanted us to know that she had a clear out, she has moved in and she has thrown out what she does not want or need. May’s appointments highlights that she is determined in repairing the damage caused by the referendum. Theresa’s cabinet gives us a hint of the government she wishes to lead: Tory unity, “Brexit means Brexit”, climate change sceptics and that Tories do go to state schools.

Images:  www.bbc.co.uk  www.independent.co.uk