The Tory government, having secured the votes of less than a quarter of the electorate, is hell bent on making irrevocable changes to our society by the time of the next general election. These changes are intended to permanently disadvantage working people and their families and to secure their continued exploitation. They include
- Handing over every school and the council owned land on which they stand to Multi Academy Trusts run by unaccountable and profit hungry businesses.
- A Trade Union Bill which puts insuperable legal barriers in the way of industrial action and which will make most strikes impossible or illegal. One feature, the requirement of pickets to give their names to the police, is a step along the road to a fascist state.
- Cuts to disability and welfare payments – don’t trust them not to go further despite the reassurances following the Budget fiasco
- Underfunding of social services and resort to food banks
- A Trade Union Bill which is also intended to slash trade union funding for the Labour Party while turning a blind eye to corporate funding of the Tory Party
- Dismantling the NHS
- A commitment to sign up to TTIP
- Undermining social housing and an end to secure, affordable housing, whether to buy or to rent
- Education cuts and crippling student loans
- Cuts to arts funding and library closures
- intimidation of the BBC
- An abject failure to address global warming – the greenest government ever? I think not.
The aim of the last New Labour government under Blair and Brown was to halt the direction set by the previous Tory administrations under Thatcher and Major but not to roll their policies back. This was a critical mistake and the Tories have duly taken full advantage of it. What is there for them to lose? Our aim next time should be not only to roll back the Tories’ policies but this time to go further. We need to oppose every Tory advance with one for ordinary working people which will hurt the Tories and their modest number of supporters. Simply by way of illustration, here are some of the policies we could promote now in opposition to theirs:
- Education – public schools to be nationalised and turned into comprehensives
- Trade unions – a requirement for every employee to be in a union
- Welfare payments – a living wage for all
- Social services – public servants, not charities, to provide comprehensive social care
- Party funding – a total ban on corporate donations and corporate lobbying
- NHS – a tax on private health care
- TTIP – a free trade area with Cuba and Venezuela
- Social housing – a huge, high quality council housing programme
- Arts funding – a public theatre, library and art gallery in every town and a tax on ownership of works of art not open to the public
- BBC – national newspapers to be published only by co-operatives owned by their readers
- Global warming – a ban on flying and other conspicuous carbon consumption by wealthy individuals unless they can demonstrate real need.
Perhaps then the Tories will understand that Newton’s Third Law of Motion applies to societies as well as to inanimate bodies: for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. We’ve had enough and we are pushing back: no more Mr Nice Guy.