Enough is Enough
I’ve just watched the Prime Minister on Laura Kuenssberg. She was asked, as a result of crashing the economy “will you cut public services?” Her words dodged the question. But she blinked 70 times in 35 seconds. Ms Truss lacks credibility in pretty much every way possible. With non-verbal signals like that, no wonder she struggled to negotiate trade deals as Foreign Secretary. Even her own eyelids don’t believe her.
She won’t last. Michael Gove immediately came out and stuck the knife in, decrying “the sheer risk of using borrowed money to fund tax cuts. That is not Conservative.”
There was a sense of belief and confidence at Labour Conference last week. Much has been made of Labour’s 33 point lead in a YouGov. I’m not convinced the margin is that high. Survation has called every election in recent years, accurate to within 1%. They put Labour 21% ahead, picking up votes not just from the Tories, but also the Greens. Labour’s commitment to clean energy will have helped.
The Tory collapse gives me no sense of joy. I would prefer a competent government that isn’t wrecking the livelihoods and businesses of Britain. I’d prefer to win on better polices, not the personal failings of lying about Covid parties.
I recall Billy Bragg saying in a concert at the Sage, Gateshead, that as a young man, he didn’t vote in 1979. He couldn’t see any difference between Jim Callaghan and Maggie Thatcher. And how he regrets it.
But a clear gap is opening up.
On climate, Labour will invest in clean energy, so 100% of our electricity is fossil fuel free by 2030. Plus massive investment in insulation and low-carbon heating systems. The Conservatives want to restart fracking.
On energy, Labour will set up publicly owned Great British Energy to guarantee security of supply. The Conservatives will write Vladimir Putin a strongly worded letter. And possibly return the donations Russian billionaires gave them. Or possibly not.
On working conditions, Labour’s New Deal for Working people outlaws fire-and-rehire and zero-hours contracts. It guarantees sick-pay and holiday rights from day one. The Truss Conservatives want to force workers to work even if they’ve legally balloted for strike action.
On rail, Labour will nationalise the railways, ending the chaotic franchising system. The Conservatives think privatisation works fine. So long as workers accept pay cuts.
On buses, Labour will allow public control of bus companies. The Conservatives still think the free market is king.
On cost of living, both parties would cap the price of energy. Labour would fund it by taxing the excess profits of energy giants. The Conservatives are funding it by taxing you. That’s right – their “price cap” is being funded by borrowing, which means we, the people, carry the debt. It will come from reducing our public services, as Ms Truss blinking well confirmed.
On justice, Labour will bring in a Hillsborough Law, requiring a legal duty of candour and disclosure from all public officials. Families in any tragedy or injustice will be able to get to the truth. The Conservatives have brought in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Protesters can be arrested if their protest has an impact. What’s the point of a protest that doesn’t have an impact?!
The worst part of it, the Truss-Kwarteng “growth” plan won’t work. The UK is awash with money in asset management funds. Tax cuts aren’t needed. What we are short of are investable propositions. The reason we’ve created so many well-paid jobs in the North of Tyne is by working closely with businesses and people. We match businesses directly to investment. We work with residents to get them the training they need. It’s remarkable we’ve achieved the results we have: 12 years of austerity has left us an under-skilled workforce, devastating health inequalities and obsolete infrastructure.
The public mood has changed. I spoke at the Enough is Enough rally in Newcastle on Saturday. 1500 people assembled at the Monument. Ms Truss may be in a political death spiral, but a General Election could be as late as January 2025. The foodbanks could run out of food before then. It’s time for a mass movement of protest. Enough is Enough.