We are frequently informed by
Ministry of Propaganda mainstream media that Labour’s policies are “unworkable” or “unpopular”, that the Labour Party has swung too far left and the people reject out of hand the suggestion that, for example, the train service be renationalised, or that free broadband for all be provided.
In many ways it’s something of a marvel that so many have been convinced that receiving free healthcare, free internet and free education at no extra cost to themselves is somehow a bad idea. Yet despite this attack on Labour policy, the ideas remain universally popular and one of the reasons that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has received the largest campaign of personal attacks and slander seen in the modern history of British politics. If you can’t play the ball, play the man.
But just how popular are Labour’s policies? Let us take a look.
Renationalising the Railways
In a June 2018 survey by The Independent and carried out by BMG Research, an overwhelming 64% of people stated in that they supported the renationalisation of the railways, with only 19% saying they opposed it.
56% of those surveyed branded privatisation a failure, with 15% saying it was a success.
The data shows that even Conservative and UKIP voters backed the policy.
Free School Meals
Labour has pledged that all primary school children will receive free school meals and once again the policy has widespread support across voting lines, with Tory voters backing the suggestion alongside Labour.
A 2013 YouGov poll showed that 53% of the British public believed children should be provided with meals at no charge to the parents during the first three years of school. Labour’s plan extends that to all primary pupils.
Taxing Billionaires and Corporations
£82.9bn a year will be raised by stopping tax avoidance, raising taxes on corporations and increases to tax on those earning over £80,000. Corporation tax will be raised back to 26% from 19% following years of Tory cuts that have benefited multinationals and oligarchs.
Here is where we start to see a difference between the opinions of the Tories and Labour and of course it’s all about the money.
A November 2019 poll by YouGov shows that over three-quarters of all voters want to raise taxes on the rich with over half (51%) saying there should be no billionaires at all and only 35% saying that they deserve their wealth. Quite staggering for a country we are told is inherently opposed to socialism and Marxism.
The same survey showed overwhelming support for tax hikes on the superrich, including again from Conservatives.
Health Care For All
Labour has promised free dental checks, free hospital parking, free prescriptions and a £26bn funding boost for the NHS. Quite a contrast to Boris Johnson’s willingness to put the NHS on the table in Brexit trade talks with Donald Trump.
A 2018 poll conducted by YouGov for the #NHSat70 showed that 59% of Britons were happy with the NHS and the public widely supported free healthcare for all, including dental treatment and hospital parking. The only policy not supported at large was peculiarly free prescriptions, perhaps as a concern about the costing to the NHS under the defunded system of the Tories. The policy is the only one here that was not supported by the public at large.
The same survey also revealed that people saw the NHS as under threat and likely to get worse over the coming years while under a Conservative government.
Scrapping Universal Credit
The British public have opposed universal credit since day one.
In a 2018 survey by YouGov, 38% of voters opposed the introduction of the new welfare system compared with 27% who supported it, with a large majority also believing the system was unfair.
Scrapping Tuition Fees
One of the most shameful moments of the Tony Blair New Labour years was the imposition of tuition fees after Blair promised not to do so, one of the first lies of many. The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition raised fees to £9,000 a year in 2010, leading to protests and even violence. 76% of all institutions charge the full amount.
A BMG poll in 2017 for The Independent found that the £9,000 fees were backed by just 18% of the British public and two-thirds of respondees wanted to see tuition fees either reduced or removed altogether.
Free Broadband For All
One of the surprise policies of the election season was Labour’s pledge to provide free superfast broadband to all UK homes and businesses by 2030.
A snap poll on the policy by YouGov once again revealed that the policy was universally popular with six in ten supporting the plan, 62% agreeing with only 22% opposed. A slim majority of 32% to 31% believe that the policy should include the nationalisation of BT’s broadband infrastructure.
Recognising Palestine and a New Foreign Policy
Labour has been critical of British foreign policy stretching back through the Tory government and into the days of New Labour, pledging a new ethical foreign policy and an end to colonial war in the Middle East. They have pledged to introduce a War Powers Act to ensure that no prime minister can bypass Parliament to commit to conventional military action and immediately suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and to Israel for arms used in violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians.
Labour has further pledged to recognise the state of Palestine, an issue that has perhaps caused more controversy than any other during the Corbyn years. The opposition has attempted to portray activists support for Palestine as “antisemitism” as they try and quell rising feeling and support for the Palestinian people. Despite what the press and Israel supporters would have you believe, Britain recognising Palestine is highly favoured amongst the British public as is the recognition that post-9/11 foreign policy has been a disaster.
A September 2017 YouGov survey revealed that an astonishing 53% of Britons believe in recognising Palestine as opposed to a mere 14% who do not. 57% believe that British foreign policy in the Middle East has been a failure and 58% believe that those policies have destabilised the region.