Socialist Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his “radical”, retro class warfare manifesto that pledged mass renationalisation of utilities, the development of a “humane” immigration system, and plans to extend voting rights to 16-year-olds and foreign nationals.
Speaking from Birmingham City University on Thursday, the Labour leader set out his plans for massive public spending using 1970s-style class war language, pitting the wealthy “them” against the impoverished “us”.
Claiming that “bankers, billionaires, and establishment” figures do not want Britons to have the raft of ‘free’ — ultimately taxpayer-funded — programmes by Labour, Corbyn claimed to be on the receiving end of attacks from the “rich and powerful” and that the “billionaire-owned media makes things up about us”.
“[It is] a manifesto that will bring real change… that the political establishment has blocked for a generation. But you can’t have it. At least, that’s what the most powerful people in Britain and their supporters want you to believe,” he said.
Pledging to tax the rich, Corbyn promised that under a Labour government, “rail, mail, water, and energy” would be renationalised and come into “public ownership” and promised “the very fastest, full-fibre broadband for free” for everyone in the country.
He offered more free services by telling students that Labour “will bring back maintenance grants” and will “make life-long education a right”.
“And yes, we will scrap university tuition fees,” Mr Corbyn said to rapturous applause at the university venue.
In order to pay for all of this and more, Mr Corbyn announced £82.9 billion in tax rises. The party’s funding document outlines that will include increasing corporation tax, increasing income tax on higher earners, a “new national levy” on second homes, “impos[ing] VAT on private school fees”, and getting rid of the Married Persons Allowance.
Further to the party voting in September to ban private schools by forcing them into government ownership and seizing their assets, the manifesto said that the Labour Party would “ask the Social Justice Commission to advise on integrating private schools and creating a comprehensive education system”.
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“Instead, our system will be built on human rights and aimed at meeting the skills and labour shortages that exist in our economy and public services,” the document continued, explaining that the party will increase the flow of low-skilled labour from outside of the EU by restoring the “overseas domestic workers’ visa”.
The manifesto implied that freedom of movement from the EU could continue “subject to negotiations” if the UK leaves the bloc under a Labour government, “but we recognise the social and economic benefits that free movement has brought both in terms of EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad – and we will seek to protect those rights”.
Labour also pledged chain migration of the unskilled for all migrants, writing: “In accordance with our values and domestic laws, we will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike. We will end the deportation of family members of people entitled to be here and end the minimum income requirements which separate families.”
“Labour rules out a no-deal Brexit,” the manifesto explicitly says and outlines that Corbyn will seek a renegotiated soft Brexit deal with the EU and will put that option against Remain in a second referendum.
The deal would be based on a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, “close alignment with the Single Market”, and would align workers’ rights and environmental protection laws with EU standards — a Brexit in name only.
In the party’s most radical pledge, Labour promises to “oversee the largest extension of the franchise in generations, reducing the voting age to 16, giving full voting rights to all UK residents, making sure everyone who is entitled to vote can do so by introducing a system of automatic voter registration, and abandoning plans to introduce voter ID which has been shown to harm democratic rights”.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 18, 2019