Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s the Conservatives were permanently in office. Margaret Thatcher’s milk snatching, poll tax-enacting government, who were decimating the industrial powerhouses in the North of England and South Wales, were nasty. Very nasty.
Unemployment was a price worth paying and according to her “there was no such thing as society”. If you wanted a job you had to “get on your bike and find one”.
The Conservatives were the enemies of working people; they were the party of the rich, the banker, the gutter press media mogul, the offshore tax avoiding millionaire, and we all knew it.
Fast forward to 2019 and many working class people are saying they will ignore the evidence of ten years of failed disastrous Tory policies and brutal austerity. A crumbling NHS, welfare deaths, bedroom tax, zero hours contracts, crumbling public services, the Windrush scandal and Grenfell tragedy, a rise in food banks and every single rotten Tory failure in every area of our lives for most of a decade, from a rise in public debt to the stagnation of wages and instead fall for a soundbite.
And why? Because the EU referendum weaponised the issue. It became a wedge, pitting communities against each other, it sold a lie of ‘freedom’ and ‘prosperity’ which is counter to every public report on record that covers the numerous ways Brexit will be bad for our economy, freedom of movement and rights. It has tapped into the worst fears and prejudice of this country and been fuelled by the tabloid press and nationalist rhetoric of Farage. The truth is we are better off in the EU, we are stronger as a country because of migration, the NHS wouldn’t exist without it.
Our culture wouldn’t be as vibrant without it. If our services can’t cope it’s not the faut of immigration its the fault of ten years of austerity, if you don’t have a job to go to, if your area is deprived, if you can’t see a doctor, none of these issues are the fault of immigrants or refugees. These are directly connected to this government’s swingeing and devastating cuts to services, sure start centres, community centres, libraries, hospitals, police, while inequality yawns, four million children in poverty and the super rich get richer on the back of Tory tax breaks.
This wasn’t a necessity it was a political choice, the debt largely caused by a world banking crash not opulent Labour spending.
When I look into the eyes of homeless people and I see despair, when I hear about those pushed to poverty and tears queuing at food banks, when I read about the deaths caused by welfare cuts, I despair and think surely we are better than this? I have personally experienced the lack of mental health services and the grind of the benefits process, I have seen how PIP assessments dehumanize, degrade and humiliate, how you are put through the kinds of stress pressure and scrutiny that could drive even a well person to the edge, just to get the benefits that allow you to be able to live, to eat and function.
I have heard from nurses and doctors who say the NHS won’t survive five more Tory years. Forget the spin and echo chambers. That’s what’s at stake in this election. Do you believe in empathy, kindness society and humanity or do you not? Do you swallow the lies, the fear mongering, the false promises.
Brexit won’t “get done” next year or for decades to come and if it does it will be dreadful anyway. Why havent they “unleashed” public spending in the last ten years?! Brexit will only benefit the super rich, and usher in a Trump trade deal, emasculate us in the world and strip us of our human rights and freedom of movement. It’s a fantasy that was fed by inequality, an issue exacerbated over a decade by a Tory government who made a political and ideological choice that has torn at the fabric of society.
I’ve previously had some criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership but forget the presidential style personality politics for a moment. We don’t live in the United States. What I don’t doubt is that he is a man who cares, who has fought injustice and poverty his entire political career with sincerity in his heart. Most of all this is just some of what Labour will do, if you trust them with your vote.
Labour will scrap Universal Credit. They will immediately stop moving people onto UC and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect.
They want to cut the substantial majority of our emissions by 2030, creating one million new, green jobs and 870,000 climate apprenticeships.
They will bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership
They will bring in a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers – with equal rights at work from day one on the job.
Labour will give the NHS the funding it needs, end privatisation, and never let our health service be up for grabs in any trade negotiation. They’ll expand our NHS to offer free prescriptions for all and free basic dentistry, building on its founding principles.
They will end the social care crisis that has left 1.5 million elderly people without the care they need. Labour will fund free personal care for older people and extra care packages.
The Tories don’t care about you, and Boris Johnson the buffoon only cares about power and prestige. He believes he is born to rule because that’s the kind of Etonian privilege he comes from, but he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a cheat, a disaster zone who lied through his teeth to win a referendum and for what? To further his own political ambitions. He is a vicious self-interested man, whose reckless statements as foreign secretary endangered the life of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and left her in a prison. He has developed a bumbling act to distract from the fact that he lies and his promises are only a drop in the ocean compared to what they have taken away.
He wants to emasculate this country because it benefits him and his friends. I may be wasting my time here, maybe none of this may make you pause for thought or rethink your vote. But be in no doubt if he is returned for another five years of Tory rule, expect him to stamp on your face repeatedly in the pursuit of himself and the Conservatives ambitions every day.
Vote Labour today and if not Labour vote tactically and for whichever party can keep the Tories out in your constituency, vote for society, vote for the NHS, vote for hope, vote for a future, vote for the many not the few. With another Scottish referendum on the horizon the UK may not survive five more Tory years.