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Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: SCCN / Flickr

Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: SCCN / Flickr

We must build an organised opposition to the Tories

The Tories are vicious, but also weak. There is growing support for an alternative to seven years of disastrous austerity policies.

This was made clear by the higher than expected levels of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the general election. It will be visible again on the streets of Manchester when protests greet the Tories’ conference. 

The Tories remain the nasty party, dedicated to cuts. Don’t believe the hype. A change to the formula for school funding was announced, but cuts faced by schools are as deep as before. Talk of an end to the public sector pay squeeze has come to nothing. The pay cap still needs to be scrapped. 

Whether it is pay, pensions, benefits or services, the cuts continue. May and Hammond have deviated from Cameron and Osborne only in rhetoric.

Yet Theresa May is also pitifully weak. A lame duck prime minister, she remains in post because the Tories have no credible alternative. When Jacob Rees-Mogg is offered as the answer, it is clear they are desperate. 

May limps on. Tory MPs and their big business backers are exasperated by the lack of an alternative candidate, but they are also terrified by the idea of losing office. A Corbyn-led government stalks their nightmares. 

Alternative approach

Corbyn’s leadership of Labour has galvanised opposition to austerity – and raised the prospect of an alternative approach. The movement for such an alternative stretches way beyond parliamentary politics. 

It is there in McDonald’s workers’ strikes for a living wage, including equality for young workers. It can be seen in the strikes by Birmingham bin workers against council cuts that originate in Downing Street. It is expressed by nurses demonstrating against the pay cap and civil service workers balloting for strikes on the same issue. 

Manchester on 1 October is the chance to bring these campaigns – and many more – together in a giant roar of opposition to the Tories. The protests planned for Tory Conference also provide a focus for a better approach: investment in jobs and services, stronger workers’ rights, public ownership, free university education, a proper living wage, and more. 

Build the opposition. Shape an alternative to Tory cuts. Demonstrate on 1 October and make sure the fight stays with the Tories.

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