Corbyn promises “real change” at Labour’s election campaign launch

Sienna Rodgers

Jeremy Corbyn will promise that “real change is coming” in his first major speech of the Labour Party’s general election campaign on Thursday morning in south London.

Speaking in the key seat of Battersea, which saw Labour’s Marsha de Cordova elected by a slim majority in 2017, the opposition leader is set to deliver a blistering attack on a “corrupt” and “rigged system”.

Drawing on the theme of ‘for the many not the few’, he will name members of “the elite” – from the Duke of Westminster, a “dodgy landlord”, to “bad boss” Mike Ashley and “billionaire media baron” Rupert Murdoch.

Setting those figures against the wider public, Corbyn will say: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind.”

He is expected to talk about the challenges for Labour during the campaign in the run-up to December 12th, arguing that the elite is “afraid” and for that reason will “fight harder and dirtier than ever before”.

But Labour has people power, Corbyn is going to declare, and the main opposition party will therefore be able to conduct the country’s “biggest” and “most confident” campaign ever with a “message of hope and change”.

“We put our faith in the British people’s spirit and commitment to community. It’s your country,” the Labour leader will tell party members and supporters at the launch event.

“That’s why we stand with you. We stand for the many. Boris Johnson’s born-to-rule Conservatives protect the privileged few. They’ve slashed taxes for the richest and vital services and support for everyone else.

“But real change is coming. We will end the Conservatives’ great rip-off by putting rail, mail and water into public ownership so they work for everyone, not just Tory donors and shareholders in tax havens.

“We will invest in every nation and region, rebuild our public services and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.

“This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind.”

Drawing a dividing line between those with privilege and those without it, reflecting the Labour conference slogan ‘people before privilege’, Corbyn will ask: “You know what really scares the elite?

“What they’re actually afraid of is paying their taxes. So in this election they’ll fight harder and dirtier than ever before. They’ll throw everything at us because they know we’re not afraid to take them on.

“So we’re going after the tax dodgers. We’re going after the dodgy landlords. We’re going after the bad bosses. We’re going after the big polluters. Because we know whose side we’re on.

“Are you on the side of the tax dodgers, who are taking us all for a ride? People who think it’s ok to rip people off, hide their money in tax havens so they can have a new super yacht. Or the children with special educational needs who aren’t getting the support they deserve because of Tory and Lib Dem government cuts?

“Whose side are you on? The dodgy landlords, like the Duke of Westminster, Britain’s youngest billionaire, who tried to evict whole blocks of families, to make way for luxury apartments? Or the millions of tenants in Britain who struggle to pay their rent each month?

“Whose side are you on? The bad bosses like Mike Ashley, the billionaire who won’t pay his staff properly and is running Newcastle United into the ground? Or his exploited workforce, like the woman who was reportedly forced to give birth in a warehouse toilet because she was terrified of missing her shift?

“Whose side are you on? The big polluters like Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man who makes his money by polluting the environment? Or the children growing up in our cities with reduced lung capacity because of choking pollution?

“Whose side are you on? The greedy bankers like Crispin Odey, who makes millions betting against our country and on other people’s misery and donated huge sums to Johnson and the Conservative Party? Or are you on the side of working people, the people who create the wealth that’s then squirreled away in tax havens?

“And whose side are you on? The billionaire media barons like Rupert Murdoch, whose empire pumps out propaganda to support a rigged system. Or the overwhelming majority who want to live in a decent, fair, diverse and prosperous society?

“You know whose side Labour’s on. And we have something that the Rupert Murdochs, the Mike Ashleys, and the Boris Johnsons don’t have.

“We have people. Hundreds of thousands of people in every part of our country, who will make this the biggest people-powered campaign in history.

“When Labour wins, the nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the student wins, the office worker wins, the engineer wins. We all win.

“Boris Johnson thought he was being smart holding this election in a dark and cold December. He thinks you won’t go out to vote. He thinks you won’t go out to campaign.

“Well I say this: Labour will be out there in every city, town and village with the biggest and most confident campaign that our country has ever seen bringing a message of hope and change to every community.

“Even if the rivers freeze over, we’re going out to bring about real change for the many not the few. All we need to keep us warm is the thought of removing Boris Johnson’s Conservatives from government – and the chance to rebuild and transform our country.”

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