Thursday 7 November 2019

No more Tweedles

Austerity is the idea that the worldwide financial crash of 2008 was caused by Wolverhampton having too many public libraries.” Alexei Sayle

Whatever the result of the 12 December election we finally have the chance to promote and fight for radical change. I speak as someone who has never been a member of any political party, never taken any interest in Tweedle Dum / Tweedle Dee politics and only ever had the chance to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Ambulances can’t offload because A&E is full. A&E can’t clear spaces because there are no acute beds to move patients to, there are no acute beds because medically fit, but vulnerable elderly, can’t be discharged because social care has been decimated. I work in A&E." Dr Georgina Porter

Now in my 7th decade, I have joined the Labour party whose leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised, “ the most radical plan for real change ever put before the British electorate … a once in a generation chance to transform our country”. He has called it an opportunity “to take on the vested interests that are holding people back.” 

"I’m a paramedic. Today I’m on a 12- hour shift and well into my ninth hour of helping others and as of yet have not been granted my unpaid half hour break. This is the result of an underfunded NHS Ambulance Service. We are on our knees.” Suze Bella

The question in this election is whose side are you on? … Are you on the side of the tax dodgers who are taking us all for a ride? … landlords like the Duke of Westminster and the big polluters like Jim Radcliffe. Or are you on the side of the children with special educational needs who aren’t getting the support they need because of Tory and Lib Dem cuts?

The party manifesto is likely to include plans for a four-day working week, a £10 minimum wage for all workers over the age of 18, a zero hour contracts ban, rented accommodation to be fit for human habitation, the creation of a National Education Service, the end of the public sctor pay freeze, the scrapping of tuition fees, free school meals, reversal of NHS privatisation and restoration of NHS bursaries, renationalisation of Royal Mail, rail and water companies, an end to rough sleeping, the setting up of a national investment bank, the ending of private education, the end of sweetheart tax deals between HMRC and massive corporations, defence of free movement for migrants, a ban on companies using tax havens bidding for government contracts and a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030. Oh and a foreign policy of peace not war.

More people were receiving emergency food aid in North Yorkshire last year than were inmates in the county’s workhouses 130 years ago. A report by North Yorkshire’s director of public health Dr Lincoln Sargeant, draws parallels between the extreme poverty of the 19th century - which drove people to workhouses - with present day poverty. It is estimated around 6,450 people in North Yorkshire received emergency food aid in 2018/19.

Corbyn has said the election is “our last chance to tackle the climate emergency … We have to radically change course now to avoid living on a hostile and dying planet,” adding that a green industrial revolution is “absolutely at the centre and the heart of Labour’s plan to transform Britain, creating new green jobs where they’re most desperately needed.”

"Rising homelessness is a crisis of the Tories’ own making as we’ve seen investment in the number of low-cost homes to buy and rent tumble. Add to that cuts in housing benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services and a private rental sector lacking any real protections and we know why so many are being let down.” Alex Cunningham, Shadow Housing Minister

On Brexit there would be a referendum within six months of the election “on whether to leave on a sensible deal or remain in the European Union.

It won’t have escaped your notice that I mention Brexit at the end of this piece. Deliberately so. With Michael Rosen “I have a dream that I and others will walk hand in hand to the polling station and be able to vote in an election that is about the NHS, education, benefits, climate change ...”

That dream is now going to be a reality. It is up to all of us to make sure that after we have walked to the polling station we don't return home to find that the dream has become a nightmare.



1 comment: