BFAWU General Election Statement
Despite saying that there were would be no snap General Election after she became Prime Minister, Theresa May (in classic Tory-style) has now performed a u-turn and set the date for June 8th. Don’t be fooled by people saying that this is a ‘brave’ decision. It isn’t. For starters, the Crown Prosecution Service is currently investigating thirty cases of alleged cheating and expenses fraud by the Conservatives during the 2015 election. Secondly, the government’s Brexit ‘negotiations’ look set for disaster, with the UK set to gain nothing other than a break-up of the country, as Scotland and Northern Ireland pursue independence. In addition to that, having injected poison into the NHS since 2010, the Conservatives are seeking to put it out of it’s misery by way of full privatisation. If that wasn’t enough, the government’s program of austerity will continue to ruin the lives of the vulnerable and those at the bottom end of the pay-scale. If an election was held in 2020, it’s likely that the public backlash against them would be immense. Theresa May is hoping that she can avoid all that and blindside the public by taking advantage of the polls and a mainly sycophantic mainstream media by winning a General Election now. That way, she can secure her position and have free reign to lay waste to the country and make the rich even richer in process, claiming that it’s the ‘will of the people’. The Prime Minister is showing neither courage, nor leadership. Like David Cameron before her, she’s playing political games to cover her own backside and protect her party. Make no mistake; barring the well-heeled end of society, the welfare of the British people is way down her list of priorities.
People need to pause for a second and think very carefully about this election. The media are already going out of their way to say that it’s as good as won for Theresa May and that it’ll be a landslide victory. They’ll roll out polls saying that the Tories are way ahead and that Labour has no chance of winning. Anyone with any degree of common-sense should know that polls aren’t a reflection of public opinion, they’re designed to shape and influence it and must therefore be disregarded. The reality is that the millions of decent, fair-minded people in this country have been presented with a golden opportunity to achieve genuine, positive change and equality on a scale not seen on these shores for generations. The political and media establishment will (for the most part), steer clear of Labour’s policies because they don’t want the public to know what they are. They’ll play the man instead of the ball by painting Jeremy Corbyn as an unelectable leader of a ‘chaotic’ party. After June 8th, it’s unlikely that the British people will ever have another chance to give neo-liberalism and the greedy establishment the kicking that it so richly deserves.
Look at the policies and judge for yourselves. A minimum wage of £10 an hour, investing in and safeguarding the NHS and social care, renationalising the railways, scrapping zero-hours contracts, free school dinners for all children, a program of building affordable homes, strengthening workers’ rights, protecting small businesses, security for pensioners and the elderly, support for carers, a foreign policy based on peace rather than conflict, scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’, scrapping the Work Capability Assessment and Brexit negotiations with people at the heart of it, are all policies worth getting behind and voting for. Contrast that with what the Tories are offering. Their main pitch will be Brexit and they will use the tried and tested formula of tapping into people’s fears, insecurities and prejudices in order to secure votes. They will offer nothing for the NHS, nothing for young people, nothing for the disabled and nothing for schools. They will however, offer plenty for the wealthy in this country by way of tax cuts and will go above and beyond in terms of attacking Trade Unions and their members, who make up more than six million of the country’s workforce. They will hedge their bets that fear, division and hate will see them through, as people vote in terms of which demographic Sky News, the Daily Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail say they should despise the most, be it immigrants or the unemployed, rather than what will have the biggest positive or negative impact on their lives. As always, they will take the country’s elctorate for fools.
Jeremy Corbyn is a rare breed. He’s an honest and decent man in politics who can’t be bought and who time and again has been on the right side of history, be it on wars in the Middle East, the NHS and the economy. He has no fear of standing by his principles and is neither irrational, nor impulsive. In terms of electability, Corbyn has been winning elections since 1983, often with increased majorities. The Labour Party that he inherited as leader was broken and demoralised after the 2015 election. Under his leadership and despite the savagery of the UK’s right-wing press and media, Labour has performed solidly in council, Parliamentary and mayoral elections, with membership figures that place it as one of the largest political parties in Europe. Corbyn has also nurtured young talent within the party, with the likes of Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Cat Smith doing an admirable job on the opposition front benches. The UK under Corbyn wouldn’t be a poodle for Donald Trump and the United States. The UK under Corbyn wouldn’t be a tax haven for the super-rich, nor would it be a prostitute for big business. The UK under Corbyn would be a society based on common values, social justice, peace and equality.
Don’t be fooled by the smears, don’t be conned by the Tories or those claiming to represent working class values. The working class has a party with working class values at its heart. Today’s Labour Party will bring back an economy that works for all with re-investment, good jobs and fair pay. Don’t give Theresa May the blank cheque book she craves for her scorched Earth policies and don’t let the establishment keep the status quo any longer. Most of all, don’t squander this opportunity on June the 8th. Be brave, be bold and vote Labour.
Ian Hodson (National President)