MARSHAJANE THOMPSON looks forward to a major event this weekend on how we can win a Corbyn-led Labour government and end Tory austerity for good
FOR years we’ve been told austerity is the only way to solve our problems. But at what cost?
Rents are sky high, wages are low, over one million people rely on foodbanks and homelessness has shot through the roof since the Tories took over in 2010. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We need to restore people’s faith in politics. By offering hope, a better future and by inspiring people to fight for a better world, we can and we will win the next general election.
The Tories are decimating our public services and destroying our communities, Labour will now need to be and can be just as radical to win the battles ahead.
Now that the Labour leadership contest is over we can focus on our urgent task of opposing Theresa May’s ideologically driven, hard-right government.
We have won the debate in our party and are winning it in Britain, proving that austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity.
It’s never the fault of the Conservative Party when there are no council homes, it’s never the fault of the Conservative Party when there are no jobs or a fair wage.
It’s always someone else’s fault — we’ve seen that with the Tories ratcheting up their xenophobia and scapegoating migrants and blaming ordinary working people for their own poverty. Yet it wasn’t our fault that the bankers caused a crash in 2008, so why should we have to sacrifice invaluable services, such as our NHS, our education or social security to pay for it?
We must now unite and hold the Tories to account for their cruel and unfair governance.
With the Labour Party now having over 550,000 members — making us the largest political party in western Europe — we can now engage these members using our pioneering methods of technology and social media to spread our message directly to millions of people, taking the fight against austerity to every village, town and city in Britain.
With much of the mainstream media still unwilling to recognise the enthusiasm Jeremy Corbyn’s message generates, and the way politics in the country and Europe is changing, using all the resources and campaigning techniques we can will be vital both for defeating the Tories right now while we are in opposition but crucially vital to ensure we win in future elections.
The rallies and public events we held over the summer as part of the Jeremy for Labour campaign can be used as a launch pad to send tens of thousands of enthusiastic campaigners into towns and cities across the country with our message that no-one and no community should be left behind.
In particular, we are bringing thousands of young people into political activity for the first time, just years after Labour’s standing among students and young people had been at an all-time low ebb after the disasters of Iraq and ever-increasing tuition fees.
This new layer of activists have already been involved in our #EducationNotSegregation campaign over the last few weekends.
Under Jeremy’s leadership in the last year, Labour has become both a firmly anti-austerity party, strongly opposing the Tories on issue after issue, and a party with a credible alternative economic strategy based on investment not cuts.
This principled approach has enabled us to force retreats and U-turns from the Tories on a number of issues, from tax credits to forced academisation of our schools.
It had also started to see us make gains electorally, including winning all by-elections and mayoral contests and beating the Tories in the May local elections.
With the government refusing to move from the failing and damaging politics of austerity, now, the entire party needs to come together to popularise our alternative and take the fight to the Tories.
There are immediate issues coming up — from grammar schools to further changes to our NHS — that we can defeat the government on as a strong opposition.
And in the months and years ahead, working together to promote our vision to rebuild and transform Britain can inspire people across the country to return to Labour and give us the mandate we need for a radical, reforming government.
We may have transformed the policy of our party into that of an anti-austerity party — but it doesn’t stop there. We now need to take this even further and ensure all of the party is fighting the Tory cuts and winning for their communities as well as on the doorstep.
You can help us by attending the third Labour Assembly Against Austerity conference this weekend and joining in the discussion in our next steps forward after Jeremy’s landslide re-election this summer.