Jeremy Corbyn will brush aside warnings that he risks a return to the divisions of the 1980s when he outlines plans to end “the years of political and economic austerity” to help create a high-skilled workforce in Britain.
As Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson found rare common ground over the weekend to warn of the dangers posed by a Corbyn victory, the leftwinger made it clear that he would focus on the future as he pledged a return to the “sound economics of public investment”.
Corbyn will unveil what his team is describing as his “Vision for Britain 2020” after Kinnock issued a strong warning that the “Trotskyite left and the Telegraph right” were seeking to infiltrate the leadership contest in Corbyn’s favour with “malign purposes”.
In an Observer article, the former Labour leader wrote: “In the leadership election, we are not choosing the chair of a discussion group who can preside over two years or more of fascinating debate while the Tories play hell with cuts in local services and public investment.”
Lord Mandelson, who helped Kinnock modernise the party as Labour’s communications director in the 1980s, criticised the Communication Workers Union general secretary, Dave Ward, for endorsing Corbyn on the grounds that he would be the “antidote” to the “virus” of Blairism.
Mandelson, whose relations with Kinnock have cooled in recent years, told the Sunday Times: “When people who have devoted almost all of their lives to the election of a Labour government are labelled a ‘virus’ in our party, we really are at risk of reliving the bitter divisions of the early 1980s, divisions that condemned us to years in the wilderness.”
The shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said Corbyn’s plans to fund infrastructure investment by printing money would “push up inflation, lending rates, squeeze out money for schools and hospitals and mean spending more on debt servicing”.
“You have got to have a credible Labour prime minister who understands this,” Leslie told the Independent. “Otherwise you have a decade or more of Tory rule.”
Corbyn, who said that he would seek an inclusive shadow cabinet if he won by reviving the tradition of elections to the shadow cabinet,intends to focus the remaining weeks of the campaign on his plan to end what he has called “variations of austerity” from the main parties.
A spokesperson for the Corbyn campaign said: “This week Jeremy will continue with his strategy of focusing on policy. He is expected to further flesh out his economic vision for Britain 2020, signposting the way a Labour government under his leadership intends to return all of our United Kingdom to the sound economics of public investment so as to bring an end to the years of political and economic austerity.
“Jeremy’s Vision for Britain 2020 under his leadership is to promote economic growth and create a world-leading, high-skilled prosperous workforce and create a fairer Britain for all.”
The leftwinger has embarked on a slight change of tactics, in which he will flesh out more of his policy plans this week, after mistakenly believing that the leadership contest would move down a gear in early August to allow Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper to take time out to be with their young children.
A Labour source outside the Corbyn campaign said that the idea for a change of gear was made by the leftwinger at the Local Government Association’s Labour leadership hustings in Harrogate in June. Corbyn, who has older children, reportedly suggested to Burnham and Cooper in a discussion in the “green room” at the conference centre that they would no doubt appreciate a break. Liz Kendall, who does not have children, is understood to have strongly endorsed the idea.
“The Liz and Jeremy campaigns have been exemplary,” one Labour source said as eyebrows were raised when Burnham told the Guardian on Saturday that he would outline his leadership manifesto this week. All sides stress that Burnham has not broken any agreement because no formal truce was agreed.
The shadow health secretary will announce plans to reverse the decline in access to legal aid for the low paid. He will appoint a commission, to be co-chaired by the shadow attorney general, Lord Bach, and the former chief executive of a local Citizens Advice Bureau, Yvonne Fovargue MP to advise on improving access to legal aid.
In his manifesto, Burnham will say: “I believe that it is the hallmark of a civilised society that everyone can access justice, defend their rights and receive help in navigating the legal system, regardless of their income. So under my leadership, a Labour government would commission an urgent review of civil legal aid and scrap the unfair system of employment tribunal fees to make sure that everyone can access quality legal advice on social welfare law problems.”
Kendall will address Labour supporters flocking to Corbyn by saying that he does not have a monopoly of hope as she pledges to tackle “five causes”: ending inequality from birth, eliminating low pay, building a caring society, sharing power with people, creating a future of hope for young people.
In an Independent article, Kendall writes: “After a traumatic defeat, it’s understandable that people want to reach out for a radical option that appears to offer hope for party and country alike. But Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have a monopoly on hope. And his solutions based on conventions of the past won’t help us win the national conversation in the years ahead.”
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