Tories as the new workers’ party? Don’t make me laugh

I’ve heard some rubbish in my time but the idea Theresa May’s Tories are the new workers’ party has to be the biggest joke of all.

After last week’s conference, the fact some political commentators are asking us to swallow this nonsense says more about them than the events they’re covering.

Apparently they’re moving into the “centre ground”. But the now apparently shelved plan to shame businesses into publishing lists of foreign workers was just the most obvious example of xenophobia as government policy.

But that aside, let’s examine the Tories’ record on workers’ rights.

First, they can’t even claim to have their own workforce’s interests at heart.

Since 2010, cuts to civil service pay and pensions have led to a 20% fall in living standards. And as I’ve previously written, the Tories are already coming back for redundancy terms they slashed last time to pave the way for axing 100,000 government jobs.

Beyond the civil service, there have also been huge attacks across the public sector. But what about the rest of the country?

Wages have stagnated in the last six years — for younger people they remain way below pre-crash levels — and an increasing number of people in work are living in poverty. There are more homeless people living in temporary housing or on the streets.

Corporation tax has been cut, but workers face punitive fees for employment tribunals if they’re mistreated by their bosses. And the specific aim of the entirely unnecessary and vindictive Trade Union Act is to make it even harder for employees to right wrongs collectively.

Cuts to the social security budget and the vicious ramping up of the sanctions regime have stigmatised and unjustly punished working class people who have found themselves out of work, or can’t work. This is before even thinking about the benefit cap and the bedroom tax.

And what was the first flagship policy of May’s government? Entrenching segregation in our education system through an expansion of grammar schools.

We have our faults, but it is clear the labour movement remains the only natural home for working class people: the trade unions, alongside the kind of Labour party Jeremy Corbyn is developing.

Organised campaigns — by our privately contracted cleaners in HMRC, for example, and Unite’s restaurant staff — continue to win daily battles and improve the lives of working class people.

Wider struggles like Hillsborough and Orgreave are inspirational working class campaigns for justice against Tory injustice.

There’s an old saying that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Well I’m not falling for this sick joke, and I don’t think you should either. If we fight back and expose this hypocrisy for what it is, we will defeat the Tories.

This is cross-posted on the PCS website