By Hugo Brice – Labour Link branch officer and UNISON steward.
Colleagues and friends, as you are undoubtedly aware, we are in election season. This election is about far more than Brexit, it’s about the future of our country and our public services hang in the balance, having already been decimated by a decade of ideologically driven Tory austerity. It is vital, with our potential upcoming exit from the EU, that we have a government in place that will protect public services, invest in infrastructure across the country and protect employment rights that have been hard won by unions over the last century.
A Boris Johnson government, with a majority, would wreak havoc on our public services. They have already been in talks with the US about opening up vast swathes of the NHS to big pharma and other US health businesses. We’ve already seen the Tories try and cover up these talks, misrepresent themselves as a fact check service online during TV debates and stifle reports of Russian influence and money pouring into the Conservative party. Are these the characteristics of a government this country needs?
Under this government; homelessness has risen, food bank use has risen, crime rates are on the rise, hospital waiting times are longer than ever and most shockingly thanks to cuts in benefits and tax credits there was an increase of 200,000 children living in absolute poverty in just one year. That’s nearly 4 million children deprived of their basic human needs. Those who benefit from Tory rule are their friends, business associates and the very wealthy; profiting from the sale of public assets and the contracting out of public services and infrastructure.
The Liberal Democrats say they have a new vision for the UK and are promising to reverse Brexit, this isn’t the answer this country needs. They were complicit in getting the Conservative government a foot in the door following the soft austerity of the coalition. They completely sold out the students that voted for them on the premise of dropping tuition fees, tripling them whilst in Government. The number of career politicians who have left the Tories to join them just shows their lack of political conviction; they too cannot be trusted.
There is only one party offering the realistic possibility of change. Labour’s manifesto offers the only hope of mending the divisions within our society and taking us forward; together as one. I hear people who profess to having been Labour voters their entire lives but could not see themselves voting for a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour government. The smears against him have been widely derided as falsehoods, but that aside we vote for parties here, not people. If Labour’s core values of equality and fairness in society are akin to your own, then the leader shouldn’t deter you.
Labour is fully supported via the Unison Labour link that many members affiliate to and as Labour link officer for this Branch we look forward to welcoming a Labour government. With your help, we can make it happen. This election is about more than Brexit, lets show them that our NHS is not for sale.