Labour’s battle for the “new” middle England could give them the keys to Number 10

Out with the old and in with the new. That’s Jeremy Corbyn’s new year message to the country as he embarks on what is undoubtedly going to be a pivotal year in British politics.

The Labour leader said the party would stake out the “new centre ground in British politics”, saying the prospect of a “new Britain” was “closer than ever” and that he is leading a “government in waiting”.

It’s a far cry from Prime Minister Theresa May’s message, in which she said Britons will feel “renewed confidence and pride” in 2018.

According to the latest statistics the UK is forecast to have the worst wage performance out of all 32 OECD countries this year. With public services crumbling and inflation continuing to bite there really is little to be cheery about for Brits, a reality that is likely to be compounded by several years more painful Brexit negotiations.

Which is why Corbyn is right to identify a “new” middle England if his policies are to appeal to the majority of the electorate.

Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997 is frequently accredited to the “New” Labour leader’s ability to appeal to the middle ground, but few would debate that the makeup of this demographic has changed noticeably since he took control – largely for the worse.

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Disturbing figures released at the end of 2017 showed real pay is now down almost 5 per cent since financial crash, shrinking by 0.4 per cent in real terms last year alone.

The stagnating growth in wages comes as inflation soared to its highest rate in six years at the start of last month. Rail fares have today also increased in a move that is set to “price out” commuters from UK trains.

Those who work in public service jobs – typically defined as middle class workers – have found their living conditions deteriorate noticeably under successive Tory Governments.

A former schoolmate of Theresa May recently blasted the PM for forcing NHS nurses to use food banks, saying “we want to look after people” and “she should let us do that without having to rely on foodbanks to make ends meet.”

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