The least that can be said about it is that it will give the Tories plenty to deride at their own conference.
The reason the above is the least that can be said is, Tories ALWAYS try to ridicule Labour policies. Then they proudly announce a load of nonsense rubbish, get their friends in the right-wing media to push it as the only realistic option, dupe enough of the nation into supporting them at a general election and we end up – well, we end up in the mess we’re in today.
As a result of this Tory stupidity, the UK is not so much a proud island nation voyaging to new horizons as a leaky, sinking boat, weighed down by fatted passengers, who expect a malnourished crew to bail them out – using punctured buckets.
Those Tory speeches haven’t happened yet, so let’s enjoy Mr McDonnell’s words while we can. He was certainly correct that it has been Labour’s historic role to lead the UK into each new era, and if he gets the chance to execute the plan he has outlined, Labour will fulfil that duty again.
In This Writer’s opinion, he identified all the right issues. Whether he came up with the right answers is up for debate, but his choices certainly seemed popular with the party rank-and-file.
If you didn’t catch the speech and want to know what his proposals were, here they are:
- Creation of a Strategic Investment Board, to put money into key research projects, employment and wages, with fair distribution of investment across the UK.
- Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses, the genuinely self-employed and massively expanding worker control and the co-operative sector.
- Re-nationalising rail, water, energy, and the Royal Mail.
- Crossrail to be built in the north; HS2 extended into Scotland. Midlands Connect to overhaul transport there. Electrified railway lines from Cornwall to London.
- Investment in the zero-carbon economy, for example the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.
- Full protection of the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in other EU countries, and a promise to give Tories “the political battle of their lives” if they try to water down or undermine protections on employment, consumer or environmental rights.
- Close the tax loopholes and avoidance scams used by the mega-rich, making sure the rich and the giant corporations pay their way, to pay for public services.
- Scrap the public sector pay cap; introduce the real Living Wage at £10 per hour; introduce pay ratios at the top; and address the gender pay gap.
- Restore basic employment rights, repeal the Tories Trade Union Act, set up a new Ministry of Labour and restore collective bargaining.
- Cap credit card debt.
- Scrap tuition fees.
- End Private Finance Initiative deals and bring those that currently exist “back in-house”.
He wrapped up by saying, “The Tories have tried to change people’s view of what is normal and acceptable in our society. They want us to accept that in the fifth richest country in the world it’s normal and acceptable for people to be saddled with debt; for people to have to work long, often insecure, hours, stressed out, struggling to find time with their family; for people not to have a pay rise for years no matter how dedicated you are or how hard you work; for young people to have no prospect of owning their own home; for disabled people to be pushed to the edge by the benefits system; or for carers to be struggling without support or recognition.
“Let’s make it clear – we will never accept that this is normal or acceptable.”
So which do you prefer? The Tory version of “normal or acceptable”? Or the Labour alternative?
I know which I’d rather have – but is it really possible?
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