This will be one of the most decisive elections in our lifetimes. Realistically, we have a choice between Labour and Conservative, there is no wriggle room to waste votes pretending we live in a democracy. I say that as someone who is not a member of a political party and would, under different circumstances, be voting for the Green Party. But I don’t have the luxury of doing that, our undemocratic electoral system is designed to punish idealists who don’t fall in line with mainstream politics. But by some absolute miracle, we have a Labour Party that for the first time in over a decade stands for something worthwhile and not just neo-liberalism and austerity with pretty ribbons. We have an opportunity we may not have again in our lifetimes. We have the opportunity to elect a candidate who exudes the principles of social democracy with a fully costed manifesto that offers a credible alternative to austerity.
Or of course, you can vote Conservative. You can vote for Theresa May. I’m sure her complete ineptitude at negotiating Brexit so far makes you feel really confident and a tad bit patriotic. We all know that a truly strong and stable leader is someone who can U-turn on whatever she wants without fear of backlash from the right wing press. She refused to take part in debates and probably would have just disappeared completely during the campaign if she could have gotten away with it. When Theresa May called this election it felt like she had levelled a rifle to our faces and glinting down the barrel was a Tory landslide, since then she has tripped over her own manifesto and shot herself in the foot.
Maybe I’m being harsh, politics is far more than just personality and parties are more than just their leader. Amber Rudd herself admitted this during the debate when questioned about their economic policy, she said: “Judge us on our record.” That seems reasonable, downright common-sense even. The UK is now the only developed country to see an increase in GDP but see a massive fall in real wages, the only other country to see such a fall in real wages was Greece. So yeah sure, they’ve improved GDP, but none of that money has reached actual human beings which makes it pretty redundant. If your measurement of a good economy is one that doesn’t take into account whether people are actually better off, it serves no purpose. Under the Conservative Party, the national debt has more than doubled. Homelessness has gone up, food bank usage has drastically increased and 10 million people are now in insecure work. It is very clear to me that the Conservatives record is simply that they have been incredibly successful at redistributing wealth and assets to the rich in the private sector. So if you’re not a millionaire and you vote Conservative I can only assume that you actually want you and your children to live in poverty so some rich, fox hunting Etonian brat can put even more money into their offshore bank account.
I could write an unending list of reasons of why you shouldn’t vote Conservative. Theresa May announced she will be backing the Naylor report on the NHS which literally details how to sell off NHS assets to the private sector. That’s quite literally privatisation in everything but name, as the NHS logo will still be publicly owned. She’s cut the police force which has left the police without the resources to combat radicalisation within communities. That’s not political point scoring, that’s just the grim reality. The Conservatives have cut a large range of benefits including disability benefits and housing benefit for young people. I’m sure you’re all aware of the cruelty of the work capability assessments the Conservatives implemented and then contracted to the private sector. Those assessments destroyed people’s lives for no reason other than a belief in neoliberalism and the private sector profited from that suffering. The Conservative ministers responsible for implementing that policy and the corporations involved should be on trial for gross breaches of human rights. The Conservative manifesto is an uncosted blank cheque filled with vague promises because our Supreme Leader was so arrogant she thought people wouldn’t notice. A damp piece of paper would have lead a more energetic and persuasive campaign than May.
The common and mind-meltingly dull accusation thrown at Labour is that they will overspend. Now, let’s just ignore the fact that the financial crash was not caused by overspending on welfare but the deregulation of the banks both in the UK and in other developed countries which the banks exploited and when it all came crashing down we picked up the bill. So when Jeremy Corbyn says he’ll fund schools and invest in the future of this country, all you can hear is a collective scream from the right “WHERE’S THE MAGIC MONEY TREE?”. Jokes about taxing cannabis and offshore tax havens aside, if we want to talk about overspending just look at the Conservative reductions to corporation tax and corporate subsidies. Tax cuts cost the treasury money, who is paying for the reduction in corporation tax from 26% to 17% by 2020? We are. We hand the private sector £93bn a year in tax breaks and subsidies. Labour’s entire spending commitments amount to roughly half of that amount. It is so abundantly obvious that Labour’s plan is not only credible, they are far more practical and “fiscally responsible” (that phrase that arrogant aristocratic tory’s like to throw around). Don’t take me on my word, take the words of the 130 economists who signed a letter in support of Labour’s economic plan saying, “Labour’s manifesto proposals are much better designed to strengthen and develop the economy and ensure that its benefits are more fairly shared and sustainable, as well as being fiscally responsible and based on sound estimations.”
In light of recent events, foreign policy surrounding the middle east has become a hot topic. This is an extremely nuanced issue that I cannot do full justice to in this article. So all I will say is that Corbyn has consistently been on the right side of history in regards to foreign policy from opposing apartheid in South Africa to voting against the war in Iraq. Theresa May does not have such an impressive record.
In regards to Brexit, there’s no competition. The Labour Party has actually laid out their priorities for Brexit, which is to stay in the single market and have tariff free trade access. Theresa May thinks its an option to crash out of the EU without a deal which is weapons-grade insanity. `Corbyn has huge amounts of experience with tough negotiations. More importantly Labour’s Brexit shadow secretary Keir Starmer a former lawyer and former Head of Crown Prosecution Service is exactly the person who you want dealing with the legal mess of Brexit. Alternatively, you can vote Tory and have David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson trying to negotiate with 27 other countries and the European Parliament, which after the apocalypse would probably feature on You’ve Been Framed.
This election will be decided by the dispossessed, especially young people turning out to vote. That’s the only thing the polls are telling us that we can be sure of. The Conservatives have taken away our future opportunities, they have decided that they can do anything they want to us because we don’t vote. If you cannot find a reason to vote then do it out of spite! They think they can walk all over you, vote and prove them wrong.
I don’t know what the results of this election will be and I’m unwilling to make any predictions. I have many criticisms of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn but they are far outweighed by the fact that on June 8th, I can vote for a truly left wing and progressive Labour Party with a leader who I wholeheartedly trust regardless of the result.