Tories Out — It’s time to end austerity
It was confirmed this week that whilst Theresa May entered the general election promising to be a strong and stable leader she is now reliant on a weak and wobbly coalition with the DUP to govern. Based on what John McDonnell called a “grubby deal” Theresa May’s government is not only deeply reactionary, it is deeply unstable and can be defeated.
Whilst this arrangement may have kept May in office for now it has also exposed to millions of people that austerity is primarily an ideological choice not an economy necessity.
Suddenly, the Prime Minister can use her own ‘magic money tree’ to find an extra £1 or possible £2 Billion for the DUP but can’t find the money to properly fund our NHS, or for decent housing, education and secure jobs for all.
Yet contrary to some media spin — and despite welcome concessions due to DUP demands when it comes to winter fuel allowances and the pensions triple lock — it is clear that the austerity policies and deep cuts that have failed our economy, society and public services for the last seven years will continue.
To give just one example, on the same day as the Tories and the DUP were announcing their dirty deal, the British Medical Association argued this week that nearly 23 million people in England — more than 40% of the population — could be affected by proposed cuts to A&E departments as they warned the NHS is “at breaking point.”
The BMA certainly didn’t mince their words, accusing the Government of wanting a “world-class” health service while putting in only a “third class” financial settlement, meaning it is “failing too many people” and leaving patients “belittled and bewildered” as medical staff try to deal with overstretched systems.
Whilst the DUP’s demands could be met and funded as Theresa May needed to buy a parliamentary majority, the BMA argues the Tories are content to “wilfully ignore” the need for extra funding for the NHS as they continue to spend less of our GDP than the other leading European economies on health.
It therefore isn’t surprisingthat campaigners to save our NHS will be amongst those joining a demonstratuon this Saturday in London will demanding the Tories go.
The protest organised by the People’s Assembly is supported by a wide range of local and national campaigns against the cuts and every major trade union, with media reports saying that over 50 coaches have been filled form across the country. Prominent amongst those pledging to join the demonstration are thousands of people signed up for a ‘Jeremy Corbyn for PM’ contingent organised by Momentum and the Labour Assembly Against Austerity.
With the government likely to face crisis after crisis both in terms of Brexit negotiations and the austerity agenda — as shown by the recent High Court judgement that the benefit cap unlawfully discriminates against single parents with children aged two or under — we can be sure that under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership Labour will provide a strong and effective opposition in Parliament.
But we also need to increase the pressure on the Tories’ weak and wobbly government at all levels. Mobilisations of popular opinion and civil society, whether on a local basis or a national one such as Saturday’s demonstration, can further expose the government’s fading legitimacy and build popular momentum for the view that they should stand aside.
This week’s deal with the DUP confirmed what we knew from the Queen’s Speech last week — the Tories have run out of positive ideas and just offer more of the same, while Labour, in contrast, offers concrete, positive policies that will create at least a million new good jobs, protect the future of our public services including the NHS and ensure strong and sustainable economic growth.
The majority of British people and our beloved public services literally can’t afford five more years of the Tories. The ‘Tories Out’ demonstration is one of the most important demonstrations I can remember in my lifetime and one that can directly impact on the national political scene. Be there and keep up the fight for a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government that can transform Britain.