Political consciousness in Britain has shifted, argues Jamie Wright
In this general election, the people of Britain have one of the greatest decisions of their lives to make.
This decision will determine everything from whether or not young children receive free pre-school places and a hot meal at lunchtime to whether or not young adults are saddled with a lifetime of debt for furthering their education.
It will determine the quality of healthcare the NHS deliver, the value of pensions and the amount older generation can leave their loved ones from their family home.
And it will also determine whether or not the United Kingdom continues to follow the United States and their military adventures which is overwhelmingly recognised by the public and security officials as increasing the threat of terrorism.
Britain under Conservative rule
Ever since the Conservatives assumed power in 2010, they have presided over one of the cruellest policy of cuts which the Institute of Fiscal Studies says have disproportionality affected the poorest. The rise in food banks and the families and individuals who rely on them is just one measure of the unacceptable levels of poverty plaguing Britain right now. Figures show that in 2010, 61,468 emergency food parcels were handed out to those struggling to feed themselves. In 2017, that figure had exploded to over one million!
This unprecedented rise in poverty levels since 2010 cannot be dismissed as a result of personal failure. These problems are clearly structural and systemic. Neither can they be dismissed as an inevitable consequence of the 2008 financial crash and subsequent recession because the wealth of the richest 1000 people in Britain during this period has actually doubled.
It comes as no surprise that under the Conservatives, the NHS is at breaking point. Indeed, at the beginning of this year, the British Red Cross declared that NHS is facing a “humanitarian crisis”.
Dr Louise Irvine reports that despite Conservative claims of increased investment in the NHS, the truth is that “we are experiencing the largest sustained drop in NHS funding as a percentage of GDP since the NHS was founded”. And research by the Kings Fund shows that NHS funding is falling well below the European average with the UK ranking 13thout of the 15 original EU members. As one of the richest countries in the world, this is simply unacceptable.
But it is not just the NHS that is suffering, it is all public services. Since 2010, the Conservative government have cut 20,000 police officers from our communities. This decision has left the country woefully under-policed to the extent that following the horrific Manchester terrorist attack which left 22 people dead, the British Army were relied upon to protect our streets in the place of the axed police officers. Adding further insult to injury, Theresa May, whilst Home Secretary accused the Police Federation of scaremongering and crying wolf as they raised deep concerns about the impact cuts were having on the public’s safety.
Five more years?
The Conservative manifesto pledge to continue public sector cuts will have disastrous consequences for all, especially those that are most vulnerable. The dementia tax will steal money from hard-working people unfortunate enough to fall into ill at the end of their lives. The downgrading of pension status will steal further money from the older generations who’ve contributed to the betterment of society all their lives. And the very same people who voted for the Atlee Labour government which established the world renowned National Health Service will be deprived of the vital service it provides as it continues to be starved of resources.
But if you think the (Ahem, uncosted) Tory manifesto commitments were worrying, the language used during their campaign is truly terrifying. Theresa May actually said that, if human rights legislation stop them from doing something, they will, in fact, change the laws so they can do it!
But, make no mistake; this is not a knee-jerk reaction to the horrors of the last week. The abandonment of fundamental human rights has long been an ideological desire of Theresa May.
Another ideological project, long desired by May and the Conservatives is the expansion of domestic surveillance powers. Theresa May has repeatedly responded to UK terror attacks by advocating for greater surveillance powers which further restrict our fundamental freedoms.
Again, make no mistake, the argument that greater surveillance equates to greater security is an argument that has been entirely discredited.
A new direction for the country
Labour under Jeremy has committed to making drastic changes in order to reverse the growing trend of poverty and inequality rampant in Britain today as well as pulling its support for future U.S led wars.
The fully costed manifesto promises of renationalising core British infrastructure, investment in the real economy, a free national education service, investment in the NHS and the enforcement of collecting a fair amount of tax from unscrupulous multinationals offers a much better vision for Britain than a continuation of business-as-usual.
Ignore the scaremongering and unsubstantiated attacks by vested interests in the media. When you go to the polls tomorrow, allow hope – not fear – to guide your decision.
Win or Lose
Come June 9, win or lose, we all need to celebrate this fantastic campaign as a victory. During the last month, Jeremy and his millions of supporters around the country have sent a loud and clear message to the British establishment who thought they had silenced any and all opposition to their regressive wealth redistribution project.
Political consciousness in Britain has now shifted. People have awoken to the fact that an alternative to neoliberalism does exist and is achievable if only enough people make their voices heard.
Don’t stop now!
If on Friday morning, we wake to find that Labour have fallen just short of the winning line, we should not feel demoralised or defeated; we need to continue this surge in political participation – this movement – and pressure Theresa May and her government from implementing unfair and damaging policies.
If on Friday, we wake to find that Jeremy has done it and begins his journey of taking the United Kingdom on a different path, he will need our continued and unwavering support more than ever. That is because the powerful but threatened elite will attempt almost anything to protect their interests.