Friday, February 08, 2013

Calling for a New Coalition of Interests


Oliver Twist asking for more in the workhouse.

In two years there will be a General Election, and it may be more significant than any since Margaret Thatcher's first two victories. If the Conservative Party win an outright majority it could signal the death knell of the NHS and any recognisable (and fair) form of Welfare State. Don't even mention what is left of workers' rights, which isn't a heck of a lot. Employees are already working twelve hour shifts without sick pay and getting fired on the whims of their bosses.

The Tories, if they win, will be dragging the country back to a pre-1945, maybe even pre-1845, darkness in which poverty is equated with moral weakness, a good man is expected to know his place and the rich dance on the bodies of the dead. I fully expect the return of the workhouses too, although naturally they won't call them that. They'll be rebranded, a "PLUS" will be affixed to whatever anodyne name they're given, and the poor and the sick will be pushed into them like cattle.

In the light of that, I feel, it's time we formed a coalition of interests to stop them. Most people don't vote because there's "no point" and then complain on their fag breaks because they're on six pounds an hour. And since the Iraq invasion at least - although for some it happened long before that - people on the Left have refused to vote Labour because they cut loose the unions and look after the middle class instead of the poor.

It's a valid point, as far as I'm concerned. Labour isn't "the party of the people" anymore. Not entirely. You could argue that it hasn't been since 1945. I have been disappointed by Labour too many times since I first started voting in the early 80s. But as much as I don't feel they represent me or my interests anymore, they are not the Tories. They are men of good conscience and good instincts, broadly, who have been corrupted by their own idealism as much as their personal ambition. I believe Ed Milliband wants to make Britain a better place, for everybody. Aneurin Bevan cared more about fixing things for his own.

Labour hurt people when it turned away from its roots. When it abandoned specificity to be a party for all. But do we go on nursing our hurt and resentment of the hijacking of our beautiful vehicle while the Tories dismantle the last remnants of it? Do we stand back in splendid purity, showing those posh Labour bastards, while the Tories fuck Britain all the way back to the workhouse?

I say no. Let's get behind Labour, even if we don't fully support them, and give the Tories the biggest hiding they've had since 1997. Let's do it for the poor. Do it for the disabled. Do it for the NHS and the shade of Aneurin Bevan. A Labour victory won't fix everything; there will still be injustice. But at least we'll be fighting back with food in our bellies.

By not voting all we do is empower the Tories. And that's a high cost to pay for self-righteousness, comrades.

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