Since 2010, the Tories have told us that their policies are inevitable: we have to follow them and agree to them in the national interest. The Tories say that they do not inflict damage on the poor and vulnerable out of spite, but out of economic necessity. And for five years, it worked: until the row over tax credits.
But now, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is now a real alternative. We have started to pay attention to a different way of doing things, a different way of making savings and reaching economic stability. That’s why the Conservatives and David Cameron are suddenly vulnerable.
While Cameron claims to be a man of the people who stands up for hard-working British families, his policies do the opposite. Under their leadership, the Tories have cut corporation tax to its lowest historical rate, cut the top rate of tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent and raised the inheritance tax threshold. The Prime Minister has used a lot of money to help out the richest in society, that isn’t an opinion; it is a fact, as it has happened.
On the other hand, the hardworking people he claims to represent have been hit time and time again. Indirectly, British tax payers face a crumbling National Health Service, a failing education system and broken modes of public transport. As money has been starved from local councils, services have been cut, libraries closed and youth centres abandoned. Though the Tories wrap themselves in the Union Jack, their cuts to the policing budget meant that street parades or vigils for Remembrance Day were unable to go ahead.
Directly, the Tory work penalty looks set to take thousands of pounds from working families next April, while the sick and disabled have had their benefits cut alongside the vile introduction of the Bedroom Tax that saw bereaved parents receive sanction letters days after burying their own children. Just this week, Tory MPs filibustered in the Commons so as to prevent free parking at hospitals for registered carers, because, and this isn’t a joke, they would apparently use the spaces as permanent spots.
In sum, this government is not a rational one that makes decisions alongside a cost-benefit analysis. It has chosen to pursue policies that favour the rich and punish the working poor. If the Tory party really were the party of work, it would not be cementing the position of the inherited wealthy, but rather investing in those who are left without opportunities. The greatest threat to working people in the modern day is the Tory party and their dogmatic approach to ideological politics. For too long, Labour has been sheepish in tackling Tory propaganda. With the excitement and passion surrounding Corbyn’s leadership, now is the time to go on the offensive. It was the Labour movement that built modern Britain, and we cannot allow the Tories to propagate the idea that they did.
You will have heard it all before, but it is now more important than ever to stress the history of our movement. It was the Labour Party that created the National Health Service. It was the Labour Party that introduced the welfare state. It was the Labour Party that protected the vulnerable through decent social housing and free school meals. The Labour Party kept people alive so that they could build the Britain that we love. It is Labour whose policies are in the national interest – supporting the vulnerable, helping the poor and sustaining growth for the work force. This is what Labour has achieved before, and will achieve again. But we must not be scared or back down when the Tories say that we are envious of their wealth or suggest that we are inciting class war.
The Tories have fuelled the fires of class struggle once again in choosing to abandon the working poor. They’re the party of the landed gentry once more – under Corbyn, Labour is the party of everyone.