This election campaign has felt like an emotional rollercoaster. I have gone from despair when the election was called and it seemed as though the Conservatives were guaranteed to win by a landslide, to anger at some of the things said by the Conservatives, fear at what another five years of this government could mean for our public services, and hope that real change could be possible. I feel privileged to have been actively involved in a campaign that has been like no other. There are many, many reasons to vote Labour tomorrow and it would take up too much valuable campaigning time to go into all of them in depth so here are just a few.
- The NHS This is perhaps the most important issue in the election campaign. Labour are pledging to increase funding for the NHS. They believe strongly in the principle of the NHS whereas the Conservatives believe in privatisation and Jeremy Hunt has said he would like to see it privatised. Theresa May is planning to force NHS trusts to sell off their land and properties cheaply to the rich. Just imagine what a privatised NHS would be like. Receiving a bill for tens of thousands of pounds for a stay in hospital. Having to sell your house because your child needs an operation.
- Schools As a teacher and a parent, education is extremely important to me. Our state schools are being starved of much needed funds by the Conservatives. Labour would give them the funding they need. Check out schoolcuts.org.uk for more details.
- School Dinners Hungry children cannot learn. Making sure every child has a nutritious meal is an important step towards reducing inequality of opportunity between rich and poor.
- Tuition Fees When I went to university I did not have to pay tuition fees and I had a full grant. I left university with a very small overdraft which I quickly paid off as soon as I started working. The prospect of starting out in life with a huge debt is putting off talented young people from entering higher education. This can’t be good for our economy and it is holding young people back and stopping them from reaching their potential. We need to invest in the education of our young people. It is an investment that will pay off in the long run because graduates earn more and therefore pay more tax. With a university education, these young people will make a positive contribution to our economy.
- Nationalisation Labour will bring back services such as energy and Royal Mail into public ownership where they belong. In the long run this will make money for the economy as profits will go to the state rather than private companies. At the moment, when privatised companies make a loss they ask taxpayers to bail them out but when they make a profit they give it to their shareholders. That can’t be right.
- Council Houses Labour have pledged to build more council & housing association homes. These are desperately needed as private rents have been allowed to soar under the Conservatives and are out of reach of many families. Theresa May only a few days ago made a U turn on her pledge to build more council housing.
- Living Wage The Conservatives claim to have brought in the Living Wage. This is a lie. They have slightly increased the minimum wage but it is not a living wage. The living wage is set by the Living Wage Foundation and it currently stands at £8.45 per hour outside of London. Labour would introduce a minimum wage of £10 per hour. This money will be spent in our economy and it will mean that taxpayers no longer have to subsidise employers who don’t pay enough; the tax credit bill will go down.
- Our Leader Jeremy Corbyn is exactly what this country needs at the moment. His honesty, integrity and compassion have really won over people who in the past saw politicians as all being the same. His manifesto is bold. The big surge in support for Labour during this campaign coincided with the release of the manifesto. This manifesto would not have happened without Corbyn. Before Corbyn, Labour were voting with the conservatives in favour of austerity. He is the strong and stable leader that Britain needs.
A different kind of politics is possible. A fairer society is possible. Vote Labour on June 8th. For the many, not the few.
As 2015 draws to a close, I would like to reflect on some of the news stories that have been significant throughout the year. There have been moments of great despair but also of great hope for Britain.
- May 2nd. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby. However, since several hundred thousand other woman also gave birth to babies in 2015, this event wasn’t actually all that important or significant, except to the family involved.
- May 7th. The Conservatives won the general election with an outright majority. This was a day of deep despair for Britain (Unless you were a millionaire in which case you were probably pretty smug). Without the Liberal Democrats to tone down their more extreme destructive policies, the Conservatives were free to wreak havoc on Britain, doing things like selling off Royal Mail at discount prices to their rich friends, and cutting the welfare cap thus plunging tens of thousands of children into poverty.
- September 12th. Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party. This was my personal high point of the year. It was a moment of hope and optimism after a summer of wretchedness and gloom. I could dare to hope that my children might continue to benefit from the NHS, and might even be able to go to university without saddling themselves with huge debts. Corbyn’s popularity showed that British people were hungry for a new kind of politics based on honesty, integrity and fairness rather than the lying, self-serving unjust politics of David Cameron’s government.
- September 20th. It was alleged that our Prime Minister, David Cameron, had during his student days, had oral sex with a dead pig. This confirmed to anyone who was not already convinced that our Prime Minister was a depraved, inhuman, disrespectful being devoid of normal human decency. It also gave rise to a brilliantly entertaining Twitter storm #piggate.
- October 26th. The government’s plans to cut tax credits (despite claiming to be the party of working people) was seen to be so destructive and damaging that it was defeated by the House of Lords. This brought hope, not only to the families affected, but also to the whole of Britain, that the Tories would not be able to carry out whatever pernicious and murderous policies they wanted.
- December 2nd. MPs voted to allow bombs to be dropped on Syria. This decision was met with whoops of joyous laughter by some MPs, delighted at the prospect of being allowed to play their war games and kill real people. Despite the fact that the government were making catastrophic cuts in public services, it seemed we had plenty of money for killing people. Despite Europe’s inability to cope with the vast numbers of people fleeing bombs in Syria, we decided to go and drop some more, and make some more refugees. Despite the government’s promise to make us safer from terrorism they decided to go and do something that would make us less safe.
- December 15th. British Astronaut Tim Peake set off for the International Space Station. He was not the first Briton in space – that was Helen Sharman in 1991 – but this was nevertheless a very exciting and significant moment. He will spend six months doing some very exciting scientific experiments. Among other things he will carry out research on muscle wastage that could help people on earth with osteoporosis.
So there we have it. 2015 was a significant year for Britain. Let’s hope that in 2016 we can protect the most vulnerable from the psychopathic Tories, and continue to be optimistic about the future.
Today is Jeremy Corbyn’s 100th day as Labour leader. And it is 100 days since I joined the Labour Party. The hashtag #Jez100 is trending on Twitter right now. Here is a word cloud made of some of the words used by his supporters to describe Jeremy and his politics on Twitter.
I used to be a member of the Labour Party back in the early nineties, and I campaigned with Nick Raynsford in the 1992 general election in Greenwich where I was living at the time. When Labour lost that election I went to live in Italy, declaring that I would not return to Britain until there was a Labour government, which is what I did. However, this New Labour Party that I found on my return to the UK was unrecognisable, and although I continued to vote labour, I didn’t really identify with them as I had in the past. That all changed with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, and I am now proud to be a member of the party once more. So why am I so excited about Jeremy Corbyn?
- He wants to tackle the deficit by investing in Britain and growing the economy, rather than stifling growth through cuts and austerity.
- He believes in renationalisation of the railways and the energy companies. These should not be run to make profits for individuals, but should be run by the government for the people.
- He would scrap university tuition fees so that young people can once more get an education without saddling themselves with tens of thousands of pounds of debt. Education should not be an investment that an individual makes for their own personal gain but an investment that the government makes in its people so that they can be an asset to society.
- He would bring academies and free schools back under the control of local authorities rather than private companies with their own agendas.
- He would introduce rent controls. This would mean that people have more money in their pockets to spend in the economy. It would also mean that landlords would not be so quick to buy up all the properties, pushing up house prices out of the reach of ordinary families. Rent control would reduce the amount that tax payers have to pay to private landlords in housing benefit.
- He would build more much-needed council houses.
- He rides a bicycle.
- He supports a national maximum wage. This would help to close the widening gap between the richest and the poorest.
- He wants an end to private involvement in the NHS.
- He has integrity. I am tired of the lies and the nastiness of our current government.
Some say he is unelectable. But people originally said he’d never get enough nominations to run for leader. Then they said he’d never win the leadership election. He will prove them wrong again.