Tory Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election for 8 June, u-turning from her previous position that none should be held until 2020.
She has called the election for her own reasons: she senses Labour is weak, and wants to secure her and her party’s position in advance of any potential backlash against the economic downturn that will almost certainly result from her planned “hard Brexit”.
We, the labour and trade union movement, and not fighting this election on terrain of our choosing. But fight it we must. It represents our opportunity to kick out this Tory government.
Tubeworker supports an across-the-board vote for Labour in this election, and encourages all our readers and supporters to campaign for Labour.
The choice we are posed with is stark: a Tory government committed to austerity policies that will hammer workers will enriching our bosses, or a Labour government committed to radical policies of taxing the rich and rebuilding public services.
The Tories have slashed funding to Transport for London. Their plan is to slash it entirely, to zero, by 2020. This would make the Tube the only major metropolitan transport system in the world not to receive central government subsidy.
Labour will fund the Tube. Many of Labour’s other policies will also make real differences to the lives of London Underground workers. Their policy for a £10/hour minimum wage will mean a big pay rise for many cleaners. Their housing policies mean that those of us forced out of London by the housing crisis might be able to buy or rent accommodation closer to where we work. Their policy to renationalise the railways is in our interests as railway workers and rail users.
The Labour Party is not perfect: Tubeworker would like to see it dramatically transformed to become more democratic, allowing it to be bolder and more radical in its policies, and less beholden to right-wing elements with the Parliamentary party and its structures. We support socialists and left-wing groups within Labour working to make that happen.
But in this election, the only two choices are five more years of Tory rule, or a Labour government. We know which one we prefer.
Ultimately, we want to see a different kind of government: a workers’ government, where parties linked to and accountable to the working class govern in our interests, just as the current party of government governs for the rich. Electing a Labour government on 8 June and pushing for radical policies can be the start of a conversation about how we get that.
The Tories have brought us...
• Ticket office closures, staff cuts, and huge funding cuts to TfL. They propose to reduce funding to zero by 2020!
• The Trade Union Act, which imposes severe legal restrictions on our ability to strike
• The 2016 Housing Act, making it easier to sell off council houses and freezing working-class people out of the housing market
• Cuts to disability benefits, hitting hundreds of thousands of people
• The Health and Social Care Act, making huge cuts to the NHS, and handing chunks of it over to the private sector
Vote Labour for...
• £10/hour minimum wage
• Free school meals for all children from 4-11
• Renationalising the railways
• Renationalising the NHS, reverse health cuts
• £500/year for unpaid carers
• 200,000 new homes per year, including 100,000 council houses
• Taxing the rich and big business to fund
• Ban zero hours contracts
• Reverse Tory inheritance tax cuts
• Scrapping the anti-union laws