UK POLITICS: Did Someone Leak Labour’s Manifesto to Expose Corbyn or Protect His Radical Ideas?

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By Politicoscope May 11, 2017 12:33

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There are many rumours circulating as to who leaked Labour manifesto and why, but it seems there are two key possible motivations for making it public now.

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UK POLITICS: Did Someone Leak Labour’s Manifesto to Expose Corbyn or Protect His Radical Ideas?

Labour’s gathering to approve their draft manifesto was already set to be contentious. It will be even more heated now the document they are discussing has been leaked to two newspapers.

Jeremy Corbyn has pulled out of a poster launch. His press team denies suggestions his office leaked the draft policies as “outrageous”, but no one denies that only a small number of people within the Labour Party had access to this document.

Intriguingly, it was handed to the left-wing Mirror and the right-wing Telegraph. It’s as if someone wanted to see how both sides would react. The timing is everything.

Under what is called Clause V, Labour’s national executive committee and shadow cabinet meet with officers of the backbench party and the heads of the national policy forum to thrash out which policies from the draft make it through – but now, everyone has seen the draft.

There are many rumours circulating as to who leaked and why, but it seems there are two key possible motivations for making it public now.

One is to expose the leader. A Sky News source blamed a shadow cabinet minister who might have wished to reveal the full extent of Mr Corbyn’s proposals in order to show how radical they are ahead of any changes or watering down made by the party. In other words, this is Corbyn unedited.

The document was drawn up by former union official Andrew Fisher and Mr Corbyn’s head of strategy and communications Seumas Milne. It was always anticipated to be the most left-wing manifesto since Michael Foot’s in 1983, which was dubbed the longest suicide note in history.

One could argue that if you get hold of the suicide note early enough, it gives people time to talk them round.

However, this isn’t as radical a manifesto as it might have been. It isn’t pure Corbyn, and there is compromise in the document.

Trident renewal is included – a policy that the leader is opposed to. There is also a promise to continue spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Foot’s manifesto was much more radical. He called for unilateral disarmament as well as nationalisation of recently privatised industries such as British Telecom and British Aerospace. He also wanted to scrap the Lords and, controversially, leave the European Economic Community (very left wing at the time).

The second possible motivation is to put pressure on today’s decision makers to keep the radical policies. Another source suggested that the leader’s office itself leaked the document in order to “bounce people into positions ahead of Clause V”.

Mr Corbyn believes policies such as nationalising the railways and energy companies – as well as taxing wealthy individuals – will be popular with the electorate.

Now the policies are out there – making it harder for the National Executive to quash them. And it is easy to blame disgruntled MPs or head office staff workers for the leak – after all, they even gave it to The Telegraph!

Of course, there could be some other reason. It seems unlikely that this was part of the plan within Corbyn’s inner circle as the Labour Party’s campaign and manifesto launch next week has clearly been disrupted by this. It would seem like an act of self-harm for the leader’s office to leak it.

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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope May 11, 2017 12:33

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