British election hangs on the edge

Contributed by Joe Montero

As the UK heads in for a general election, it is uncertain whether the Tories (Conservative Party) or Labour are going to come out on top. The pundits say that this has been the most confusing lead up to the vote that they have ever known.

Nevertheless, for the UK this is the most important election since World War Two. Not so much because it comes after the Brexit referendum, as it is because it comes at a time when there is a major revolt against the direction that governments have been taking the country. It has been so strong that Jeremy Corbyn has been able to rise on the wave and challenge the orthodoxy, not only of the Tories, but the welded in Labour elite.

Armed with grass roots support, Corbyn has launched a manifesto that within the British context is well out of the norm.  It suggests that the richest in British society must shoulder the burden of bring about fairness and opportunity for all. The detail entails a major turn away from neoliberalism and its austerity, to embrace government intervention as a major engine for change.

What is most remarkable, is that so many are rallying when the word gets out. And there have been major barriers in the way of this. The biggest is the highly monopolised big media, which has been running an anti-Corbyn campaign that dwarfs all past one eyed shows of prejudice. Outright lies and an effective blocking out of all other opinion has been the order of the day.  And this has been led by Rupert Murdoch and his outlets.

The supposedly independent and government owned BBC has worked hard to out to outdo Murdoch. Even the Guardian has joined in the relentless personal attacks, misinformation and warnings of disaster if Corbyn succeeds.

Meanwhile, the Corbyn team has been going around the country to talk to people face to face and this has drawn unprecedented crowds. But read a British newspaper of turn on British television and none of this is happening.Anb effective wall of censorship creates an immense barrier to getting the message through. Without it, the elction would rsult in a landslide for Corbyn and hisd team.

Social media has also been able to be used to at least partially circumvent the silence imposed by the media monopolies.  The question is whether this will be enough.

Despite this diffiuclty, polls suggest that Corbyn has a chance to create a monumental upset. This would show that perhaps a one-sided control of the means of communication, is not quite as all powerful as it is cracked up to be. Even if the conservatives manage to hang on, a respectable close call will still mean that the hype can never quite, cover up the hurt that is being imposed on many and that when this hurt starts to bite deeper, it becomes even harder to hide it.

Jeremy Corbyn may or may not defeat Theresa May, but the campaign has led to involving large numbers in activism, particularly the younger demographic that is Corbyn’s greatest support base. This will not go away after election day. Even a close run will ignite optimism and belief that there can be a difference. A legacy has been laid down and this can be built up.

There are global implications that apply to many countries, including Australia. Rising discontent against an imposed regime that is hurting many is not confined to the UK. It is possible to build a movement that unites millions in action to build an alternative.

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