GE2019: An open letter to… anyone who might read it


Forgive me if I unsolicitedly directed you to this post. If you got here because somebody shared this with you, well thanks! This general election, I've been campaigning on the doorstep in Bristol – so it could be worse, rather than reading a blog post you could have me standing at your front door letting all your heat out. At least you can close this website πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

I don't want to insult your intelligence – I'm going to assume that you're all smart people. But I'm going to assume that you don't spend as much time thinking about politics, economics and social justice as I do – it's a borderline unhealthy obsession of mine.

If you're already planning to vote Labour or Green, great! If you don't know, or you're thinking about voting for the Convervatives (or the Brexit Party) then please please read what I have to say. If you're planning to vote Lib Dem – I couldn't, because I think what they did in the coalition government was unforegiveable – but I guess it's better than voting Tory.

Money, money, money πŸ’°

I would presume that you all (well most of you… πŸ˜‚), care about other people, but let's assume for a second you are only voting in your own self-interest. This is one of the ways in which the Tories pick up a lot of votes - by convincing you that Labour will tax you up to your eyeballs and nationalise your house.

Putting aside the fact that your taxes get spent on things you rely on every day, from tangible things like infrastructure (roads and bridges) to more abstract things (the basic education of everybody around you – oh and yours!), the truth is, unless you're lucky enough to earn Β£80k+ (congrats, you're in the top 5% of earners in the country!) there will be NO rise in your income tax under Labour.

If you happen to earn Β£81k, the beauty of progressive tax rates mean that you would only pay more on the amount over Β£80k, resulting in 96p more per week. Sounds affordable to me, especially when you consider what you'll get in return.(source)

The majority of the money Labour plans to collect in revenue is by enforcing big corporations pay their tax, and bumping the corporation tax rate from 19 to 21% and eventually to 26%– for reference at the end of Thatcher's premiership this was at 34%. As well as raising the rate, it will be enforced on big corporations by the biggest crackdown on tax avoiders and not fall on the shoulders of you and I!

Successive Tory/coalition governments have convinced people that it's not possible to spend money on public services. It's always been possible, it was just a political choice. The global financial crisis in 2008/9 was NOT caused by Labour's public spending, it was caused by the banks (the Big Short with Christian Bale is a great film about this) – even George Osborne, the Tory chancellor, admitted this in a recent interview.

The failings of this government ❌

I said you probably care about other people – well here's where that compassion comes in. In the last 10 years, the Conservative government through deliberate lack of adequate public spending have made the following devastating effects on our society. How does their record make you feel?

  • Thousands of people have been forced to turn to food banks because they can't afford to eat, and over 50% of the 1.6 million food parcels provided by the Trussel trust last year were for children(source)
  • 130,000 people suffered preventable deaths as a direct result of austerity(source)
  • Thousands of people died within two weeks of being declared "fit for work" by the DWP(source)
  • Schools have been starved of the money they need, such that schools are turning to parents to crowd fund necessary supplies(source)
  • The NHS has been systematically de-funded, such that hospital wait times and waiting lists are at an all time high(source, source)
  • Areas of the NHS have already been privatised behind the scenes, and the NHS has now even been sued by private companies such as Virgin "Care" when they didn't win a lucrative contract(source)
  • Local government funding has been decimated - youth services, roads, public toilets, libraries, local public transport(source)

A Labour government will invest in these vital public services – and much more – reversing these callous choices made by the government for the last decade.

And if you think yeah, but the Tories are promising to spend as well – stop, look at their record, peel back the spin. Did you hear about the 40 new hospitals, which was actually 6? The 50,000 nurses that included 19,000 already working in the NHS? 200,000 starter homes, which turned out to be… zero. And if they were going to do any of this, why not as the government just do it, rather than wait for a general election and announce it then?

The B-word πŸ™Š

Notice how I didn't talk about Brexit. The Tories want to talk about Brexit because it's a good excuse not to talk about all the reasons they've run this country in to the ground. Labour's policy is to negotiate a soft-brexit where we remain in the customs union and single market, and then put the final decision back to the people with that deal vs. remain. This will settle it – unlike the "get Brexit done" deal from the Tories, where we will then spend years negotiating trade deals (having left the single market). So I guess I did mention Brexit πŸ™ˆ.

A green industrial revolution πŸ’¨

If you're thinking of voting Green, you're in good company. In every general election to date, I've voted for the Green Party. We have to face up to it though – we need immediate and urgent action on climate change, and Labour are the only party who have both a plan and importantly, a route to power.

Without rapidly decarbonising our industry and infrastructure – which by the way, would create thousands of new "green" jobs – we will run out of time. We can only do that if we get a Labour government now – we can't wait 5 more years! That's why if Labour look like they could win in your consistency, I urge you to vote for them over the Green party. In many seats, a vote for the Green party makes it more likely for the Tories to get in.

I could go on and on, and it looks like I already have.

Please vote Labour (or anything but Tory, really) on Dec 12th ✊

Ben Gourley

Ben Gourley