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Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
The man, the myth, the legend. Who is the man behind the allotment and what does the leader of the opposition stand for?
At 69 years old, Jeremy Corbyn has been in British political office since he was 25 and an MP for Islington North since 1983. He has always been an outstanding local politician and outspoken activist for the working classes, minorities and oppressed groups.
With a background in activism, Jeremy Corbyn has historically been on the front line fighting against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, violence against Palestinians, apartheid and fascist regimes worldwide. He has also been widely supported by the major UK trade unions such as Unite and UNISON for his consistently strong stance on grassroots worker’s rights throughout his time in office.
Whilst his track record is pretty impressive, Jeremy has still made his fair share of enemies along the way. In fact, his principals are often the very things that get him into trouble. Right-wing members of the party often voice their dislike for him due to his leftist and socialist policies. Corbyn has also gone against the party whip over 500 times since becoming an MP proving his dedication to these principals. However, he’s obviously doing something right though as he won a record 59.5% of the leadership vote in 2015 (3 times that of any other candidate).
Often the subject of harsh media criticism, there is sometimes a fair deal of confusion as to what his actual policies are. So, here is a brief outline of his main policies (taken from the 2017 Labour party manifesto).
Education and young people
- Free tuition fees for all university and college students – regardless of age
- Free school meals and reduced class sizes for primary and secondary students
- Tax on private school fees
- Welcome international students
- Compulsory onsite councillors in all schools
- Votes for 16- and 17-year olds
Minorities and oppressed groups
- Welcome more refugees into the UK from war-torn countries
- Shut down inhumane detention centres for asylum seekers such as Yarl’s Wood
- Increase funding to areas experiencing increased immigration
- Increased funding to local councils to help those in the social care system
- Increased benefits for carers
- Stronger stance on racial, religious and sexist discrimination
- Introduce legislation banning discrimination towards LGBT individuals
- Living wage of £10 an hour
- Increased paternity pay and time off
- Regulation to force companies to take the interests of workers into account as they would their shareholders
- Fairer benefits and testing for those unable to work due to reasons such as disabilities
- Better council funding to tackle homelessness
- Increased taxes for the top 5% of earners
- Cracking down on tax evasion
- Increased corporation tax (as we currently have the lowest rates of any developed economy)
- Increased funding to improve the NHS
- Pay rises for nurses
- Increased funding for mental health services – with a focus on young people
- Caps on rent and utility costs to make housing affordable
- Nationalisation of rail, energy and water companies
- Increased funding to build new affordable homes
- Free public WiFi
- Fairly share this investment between different regions of the country (not just London and the South)
- State-funded research and investment into sustainable energy sources
- Stronger public transport networks with caps on fares
- Dedication to meet climate targets set out by the UN and the EU
- Ban fracking
- Commitment to protect UK wildlife and green spaces
As you can see, not only are his policies pretty comprehensive in his duty to the many not the few, but they are also fully funded shown by his commitment to fairly tax the richest in our society.
Some may criticise him as a radical left-winger – what they are forgetting is that most of these policies are already in place across Europe.
Turns out the man behind the allotment is just a wholesome old bloke committed to making Britain a fairer society for all – who also makes cracking homemade jam.