On Sunday, I marched with thousands of others in protest against the Tories, who had once again descended upon Manchester for their conference.
This week has been a historic one- our Prime Minister has been found to have deliberately broken the law by a unanimous judgement of the Supreme Court. He has misled the country once again and can any of us claim to be surprised?
Boris Johnson, despite holding the highest office in the land, is behaving as Boris Johnson always does- dishonestly, in his own interests and with no regard for ordinary working people in this country. Leave or remain, we all know that this man serves no-one but himself and he certainly does not serve the interests of UNISON members, or of the working class at large.
In fact, he is a Prime Minister elected by just 0.1% of the population. We really are the 99%!
And though Boris may be particularly vile- a pariah, a privately educated pound-shop Trump... he is just the latest in a long line of Tory Prime Ministers who have inflicted misery on ordinary people up and down the country.
We are approaching a decade of Tory-led governments. People are suffering under austerity and there is an urgent need for change.
We now have a whole generation who first suffered from the closure of Sure Start centres, who are now suffering from the collapse of youth services, and who face a job market that offers only poverty pay and insecurity.
And let us not forget, that the Coalition Government which brutally attacked public services, would never have come into existence without Liberal Democrats, who were only too happy to lend a hand. Jo Swinson does her best to erase the years 2010-2015 from the Lib Dems’ history, but we will remember. We will remember the coalition of cuts and cruelty.
Sajid Javid has claimed that austerity is over, but we have heard this lie too many times before from Tory Chancellors. The only thing you can be certain of when a Tory politician promises public spending, is that there is an election around the corner!
Even if austerity ended today, damage has been done that will reverberate through the coming years. Last year, the Trussell Trust distributed some 1.3million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year.
And women in the most deprived areas have now lost 100 days of life expectancy in the past five years. Austerity is widening inequality and – it is no exaggeration to say – it is killing people. All of this, in the fifth richest economy in the world.
We can’t go on like this. People are suffering and are desperate for real change.
Let’s not be content with modest reforms – that just take the edge off social problems. A little bit of redistribution isn’t going to make up for 40 years of neoliberalism, and 10 years of austerity.
We urgently need a programme of economic transformation. We urgently need a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
It may not come today, or tomorrow, but we can be certain that a General Election is within touching distance. The good news is that this General Election provides us with a once in a generation opportunity to deliver real change. From Boris Johnson to Jeremy Corbyn- what a transformation that would be for Number 10 Downing Street, and for the whole country.
Because the Labour Party of 2019 has laid out an unprecedented programme which would shake the establishment to its core and hand power back to ordinary people. There are hundreds of policies which would benefit us all... From the £10 minimum wage, to scrapping zero hours, the repeal of the Tory Trade Union Act, a Green Industrial Revolution, the establishment of National Education and National Care Services... I could go on.
One policy which would be of huge benefit to UNISON members is John McDonnell’s recent pledge that a Labour Government will scrap public sector outsourcing.
UNISON members are fighting on the frontline against the scourge of outsourcing. We have been involved in 10 industrial disputes in the North West in the last 12 months. 9 out of 10 were disputes with outsourced companies, providing public services on behalf of NHS Trusts or local authorities. This shows the profound impact that forty years of public service outsourcing has had on the public sector.
Whether we are fighting for NHS pay for NHS security guards just up at the road in Salford, or for care workers who are being paid less than the minimum wage for so-called “sleep in” shifts- workers are fighting battles which would not need to be fought if public services had not been privatised.
An end to outsourcing is just one of the many reasons why we need to deliver a Labour Government whenever a General Election comes.
And the election must come soon. I was pleased to see that the People’s Assembly promotion for the march and demonstration clearly stated “Tories Out- General Election Now!”
We have Boris’ Tories cornered now... I’m ready for an election, UNISON North West is ready for an election- let’s Shut Down The Tories for good and change this country forever.