Nicholas Goldberg: In the election struggle between ‘kitchen-table issues’ and the fate of democracy, which side won?
In the election struggle between ‘kitchen-table issues’ and the fate of democracy, which side won?
In a strange election campaign, with much of the debate centring on the issues rather than the personalities, it is time for the issues to triumph. Even the personality of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appears to have had little impact upon voters. So, instead, the two dominant issues in the campaign are now the cost of living and immigration – a struggle between kitchen-table issues and the fate of democracy.
The cost of living issue is of course an obvious one to many, as it affects the basic standards of living of those on low incomes – the average person earning £11,000 pounds a year or less.
Since 2010, the cost of buying a home has gone up by 50 per cent, with the average house price in the local authority area increasing by £5,000. The cost of a weekly or fortnightly holiday has also risen, meaning that more people are spending the equivalent of a week’s wages on a holiday than they were in 2006. Meanwhile, in the past seven years, the cost of transport for a family in work has increased by 20 per cent.
The ‘kitchen-table issues’ about which Jeremy Corbyn is often hauled up are of course about the basic living standards of the working class.
Over the past year, according to recent data from the ONS, the number of people claiming benefits is at a record high, with the number of unemployed rising by 2.3 million during the year to July. The number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) rose by 100,000 and the number of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by 2 million.
The number claiming income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is up by a massive 16 per cent on the year before