Whatever the result on 8 June, the fight continues to create the kind of society we want and need
There has maybe never been a clearer choice in a UK general election. The space between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May in terms of policy, attitude and their entire worldview is huge.
If May wins, we can expect a further ramping up of the kind of domestic policies that have caused so much damage over the last decade.
The austerity agenda that has dominated the entire political landscape will continue. Already, every sector of our public services is at breaking point, and every type of social security at its lowest ebb. Young people have little hope of finding a home to buy or rent.
We are a seriously unequal country, with wages that are driven down every year, while the richest make more and more money. Trade unions have lost much of their power, and workers’ rights have been eroded. We live in foodbank Britain.
In attempting to broker a deal outside of the EU, May’s priority will be big business, and she will do anything she can to make sure investment from abroad flows in, regardless of the effect on working people.
That means a further driving down of wages, a selling-off of more public services, a complete marketisation of society.
Corbyn offers a real alternative. He would bring in a minimum wage of £10 an hour, while raising the taxes of the top 5 percent and bringing corporation tax back up to the level of most other developed countries.
He plans to build a million new homes, whereas a Tory government will be glad to see house prices rise and landlords prosper.
While the NHS will be further privatised by May, a Corbyn-led government would prioritise health spending, train more nurses and doctors, get rid of pay caps, and reinstate bursaries. Labour plans to invest in a high-skilled, better-paid economy, focussing on the areas which need it most, with a publicly owned investment bank to fund infrastructure.
Corbyn will outlaw zero-hour contracts, whereas a Tory government will increase precarity, further diminish workers’ rights, and blame migrants for people’s lack of decent work. Corbyn will protect pensions, something a Tory government has not pledged to do, and also plans to create four new bank holidays, recognising people’s need for time away from work.
While May plans to take stronger action enforcing ex-students to pay back their loans, a Labour government will make higher education free, properly fund schools and FE colleges and instate a National Education Service, so people can learn and re-skill throughout their life.
The promise to take back control of key parts of our industry is a policy that is very popular with people across society. Transport, mail and some utilities would be run in the public interest, investing where the markets won’t, with profits going in the public purse, not in the pockets of private investors.
This is about a whole vision for society. The kind of Britain we want to see. But whatever the result on 8 June, the fight continues to create the kind of society we want and need.
Cameron Panting was formerly National Organiser for Counterfire. He is active within the People's Assembly and Stop The War.
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