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20 April 2017

To win the election, Jeremy Corbyn is taking lessons from Vote Leave

The Labour leader kicked off his campaign with a speech that riffed on the Brexit campaign's best lines. 

By Stephen Bush

According to YouGov, the percentage of people who expect a Labour victory on 8 June is smaller than the number who believe that the Moon landings were faked.

So Jeremy Corbyn had a tall order in front of him to make the prospect of anything other than a Tory victory seem remote. His response? An address in which he riffed off the “big argument” contained within his Easter policy blitz: that Labour will do something for everyone funded by those with the most.

Allies of Corbyn’s often point out that for all much of the political elite longs for a new party speaking to the “liberal centre”, the missing product in the British political marketplace is the message that Vote Leave appropriated, but the resulting government is not that keen on: more money for public services and opposition to the European Union in general and immigration in particular. Two of those three are natural fits for Corbyn, a Eurosceptic of long vintage, but the third is more difficult.

Some in the leader’s office believe they have an offer that can work as well. “You have to have something that speaks to that anger,” one aide says, “So I think you can be in a good place on immigration if you are saying: but we will send bankers to jail.”

That’s why Philip Green, who runs the Arcadia group of stores, was named-and-shamed as someone with something to fear from a Labour government. Team Corbyn hope that if they can do with “elites” what the right has done with “immigrants”, they will not only learn from Vote Leave – but emulate their shock victory. 

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