Rarely has an election been so important. We stand at a turning point: one way lies a Conservative government which will cement a Johnson/Trump alliance and put Britain firmly in the camp of the far right. The remnants of our welfare state will be sold off, inequality and poverty will increase, rights and protections will be demolished, economic nationalism will prevail, and racism and all forms of intolerance will increase. Attempts to address the crucial issues facing the global community – the climate emergency, nuclear weapons, war, species extinction and migration flows – will receive insufficient attention or will actively be made worse.
The other way lies a new attempt to build a better type of society – more inclusive, equal, just and peaceful. The Labour Party under Corbyn seeks to roll back three decades of neoliberalism that – under both Tories and New Labour – has impoverished, damaged and demoralised so many of our communities, in the pursuit of the free market, deregulation and hence increased profits for the already wealthy. No wonder the establishment seeks to destroy Corbyn – well-known to many of us as a man of principle. Much in the Labour Manifesto is inspiring and essential to restore dignity and hope to our society – not surprisingly Labour is hugely popular with young people.
There are other parties in the Westminster parliament with policies based on values and principles that will benefit us all too, with strong track records on rights, peace, the environment and more. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s outspoken opposition to Trident has been second to none. So it is profoundly to be hoped that enough of the British electorate will ignore the fake news and the media bias, see through the Tory lies and the Brexit party’s virulent nationalism, and ensure that Johnson does not get back into government.
I have many criticisms of Labour policy, most notably their support for Trident replacement and NATO. But those policies ultimately can be changed, because the values of the labour and progressive movement are values of peace and justice, and working together we can win a change in policy. With other progressive forces strongly represented in parliament too, there will be a chance to bring about fundamental change, not just in social and economic policy, but in terms of Britain’s role in the world. There can be a recognition that Britain’s global status is not dependent on nuclear weapons but on respect for others, on equal relationships.
Under a Conservative government there is zero chance of any such positive change taking place. With Johnson back as prime minister, Britain would become a far bleaker place. December 12th is an opportunity to bring light and hope back into our lives, to embark on a common, transformatory endeavor in which our movement can advance the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament.
Let’s do all we can to make that possible.
Vote out the Tories.