Written by Andy Metcalf –
Contrary to the mainstream media drumbeat there is plenty of evidence to show that the public ‘mood’ and the daily lives of ‘The Many’, the economy as a whole, and public finances are consistently stronger in the short, medium and longer term under a Labour Government. This is not to suggest that every Labour Party policy in the past has been a success or that every Conservative Party policy a disaster and that mistakes will not be made in the future. But the broad thrust of Labour Party policies are based on the honestly held fundamental beliefs that The Many cannot rely on the market to deliver:
– the range and quality of vital public services including education and health for all;
– world class national Infrastructure and critical services including housing, transport & energy to support competitive businesses, quality public services and lives for all;
– investment in the research, skills and socially and economically desirable industries of tomorrow (as opposed to maximising the profits of today);
– genuine championship of environmental, worker and consumer rights and protections;
– the care and support for our family members who need help to live the most dignified lives possible, whilst participating in their wider society as fully as possible;
– support for all of our children and the opportunity for everyone, at any stage in their lives, to develop their talents, improve their lives, and access all areas of society irrespective of the family or part of the UK they are born into;
– a balance between the better of and less well off that means we all live in the a shared strong economy and society whilst rewarding hard work, innovation and risk taking;
– balanced, accurate and relevant, but diverse, information for all to inform their personal, social and political decision making.
This can be compared with a much simpler fundamental Conservative creed:
– reduce taxes (on wealth and income), public services and welfare to a minimum;
– champion the individual – the cream comes to the top – let them keep their money;
– motivate ordinary people to work harder, expect and accept less – as the consequences of not working, even if you can’t (and are poor) – are terrible;
– remove regulatory constraints on business reducing environmental & worker rights to increase profits and make them more attractive to capitalist investors.
– conserve the power and wealth of the few and those at the top who work for them;
– encourage, in every way, investment motivated by the search for wealth;
– they say – investment will create jobs and wealth and income will ‘trickle down’.
If you believe In the Social Democratic principles then, surely, you must believe that we need our government (national and local) to actually be proactive in making it happen – to use their power on our behalf. They must raise fair taxes, where everyone who is able contributes. Those that have the most, and earn the most must contribute a larger share of their wealth and their income than those who have, and earn, less. They must invest and take responsibility for the delivery of high quality, vital national and local public and other services and national infrastructure. They must regulate and control corporations, organisations and individuals, where necessary, to reduce actions that destroy our planet and undermine these objectives. Theymost provide support to those who need help to participate fully in society. They must ensure the ‘national playing field’ is contoured to encourage behaviours consistent with Social Democracy and they must help us all to recognise and reward the positive behaviours and actions that do so.
If you believe these fundamental things (more or less), and you still believe that those Few, that fund, control, influence, and manage The Conservative Party share all, or even most of these principles then – vote Conservative. I would suggest however that anyone who believes this is lying to themselves, or is naively accepting the lies and misinformation which is their stock in trade, or, when the chips are down they have decided to ignore their beliefs in favour of their own, narrow and short term self interest (well – don’t we all sometimes).
Which brings me to the main point of this article. Both Labour & Conservative are, to some extent, conflicted and divided over BREXIT, though a clear majority of people on all sides do not wish to turn the UK into an isolated, irrelevant, impotent and impoverished little nation just as the world is becoming more connected, more interdependent, and has major shared challenges and opportunities. Those that do not share a priority to create a good BREXIT deal with strong functional and intellectual linkages, open markets, frictionless trade, and a genuine customs union are – quite simply – EXTREMISTS. They are people who would cut off their noses to spite their faces. They exist on the extreme left – and on the extreme right – of our political parties – and in Cloud Cuckoo Land! WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THE EXTREMISTS IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY DO NOT WIN THE DAY AND FORCE NO DEAL OR A VERY HARD BREXIT – BUT THE TRUTH IS – ONLY THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY CAN DECIDE THIS.
HOWEVER, if, and as looks most likely, when, we leave the EU, there will be a restructuring of our national institutions, finances and laws and international relationships equalled only by the end of WW2. The scale of these changes may be hidden in the short run as our existing laws will be carried on to avoid complete chaos in The Transition Period in the first months and years post BREXIT. But the changes will happen and they will be immense and they have to potential to substantially change (for better or worse) all aspects of life in the UK for everyone.
This undoubtedly makes the next General Election, the most important one since WW2 – not because of any particular policy – some will be good – some will be bad – or fail – whoever wins. It is the most important for the reasons set out on at the beginning of this article. This election will determine the broad values and the objectives of this country, the ‘social and political landscape’, and the ‘direction of travel’ will be fundamentally shaped by the newly elected government for decades to come. It is not fanciful to say maybe for ever. The political and economic power and technological capability of The Few may be approaching the point where, once lost any power held by The Many may never be regained (if indeed we ever had any).
If you accept this, arguing over the details of BREXIT is a sideshow. The Conservatives WILL decide the shape of BREXIT. Anyone who wants a progressive, positive future for this country should be starting to lay the ground work NOW for the next General Election. We should be focussing on the debate about the fundamental values, shape and broad direction of travel we want to see for this country. We should be reminding people that, after WW2 it was the Labour Party that created the welfare state, the NHS, our national education system and much of our modern national infrastructure. Everything that underpinned the massive improvements in the lives of ordinary people compared with their generally ‘short, brutish and hard’ pre-war experience. The right wing of the Conservative Party have been trying to put that genie back in the bottle ever since. They have had considerable success in recent years controlling the party and with the super wealthy seeing their wealth rocket while ordinary peoples wages have gone nowhere for over 10 years, our public services and national infrastructure are in a state of collapse and they continue to control all of the high ground in our economy.
I was triggered to writing this when reading the article below about Tory plans to open up the NHS for further privatisation after BREXIT – cherry picking all the profitable bits – no concern for those that cannot pay – or the long term. It is international capital we are talking about that has absolutely zero loyalties to the UK or its people that they want to unleash on our public services. They will extract the money while it is there – and up sticks and take their capital somewhere else when they have bled the country dry. This is real and it is not just the NHS – education, social care, reduced taxes and no government funds for investment in the future, the economically and politically weak abandoned. A more stark, and more likely Conservative future than ever.
Read the article below and start talking with all of your friends and colleagues about real stuff – ordinary peoples lives and how they can change – for better or worse – massively – very soon – and the simple choice they will have to make in a year or two – or sooner.