General election 2019: The Labour manifesto Corbyn has always wanted

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

image source, Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn always promised something different.

He was chosen by his party in 2015 largely because he was such a contrast to the other candidates who seemed, fairly or unfairly, somehow to merge into one.

If his 2017 general election manifesto was exciting for those on the left of the Labour Party, today's publication might feel like their dreams have come true.

Indeed, as the Labour leader went through his programme for the country at the party's manifesto launch today there was a sense that finally, after more than four years of being in charge, when he has often been tangled up in the party's own internal wars, he's been able to say what he really wants to do, and how he would really seek to achieve it.

This isn't a souped-up version of Ed Miliband in 2015, it's not really a more full throttle version of 2017.

This is Labour's 2017 election manifesto with rocket boosters - several huge nationalisations, higher taxes for the wealthy and business, a rewiring of the rules on the economy, a huge expansion in the role of the state almost everywhere you look.

This is big government.

This has, of course, always been how Jeremy Corbyn and the hugely influential Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell think the country should be run.

That's why for so long they were the rebels in their own party.

There is nothing new for them in the broad principles they have laid out today.

What they are gambling on, and many in their own party are really sceptical of, is whether a 21st century version of the beliefs they have stood by for so long can find favour with the country at large.

Certainly the country faces big challenges.

Clearly, many public services are stretched after years of a squeeze on public spending.

There is no question that Jeremy Corbyn's transformation of the Labour Party has shifted the whole political compass round to the left.

But that doesn't mean Labour can be confident at all that it means the country is hungry for a total reboot of the kind the party is promising.

Polls at this stage suggest that most people are not that enthusiastic about change in such a dramatic way.

Voters might like the idea of what one senior Labour figure simply described as 'lots of free stuff'.

Perhaps the manifesto today could be the start of a breakthrough in this campaign.

But there are doubts tonight about whether the plans are realistic, and whether the public would be willing in anything like enough numbers to put their trust in Mr Corbyn to make it happen.

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