The Way Forward

The demonising of families, the poor, the sick and elderly, the disadvantaged generally is such an evil yet common practice. In every country the ruling elite use the tactic of finding someone else to blame for all the ills of society and so divert attention away from their utter contempt for anyone outwith their super-rich status. Their policies of making the rich richer and the rest of us poorer requires some justification and so they tell us austerity measures and punitive economic policies are the fault of the greedy scroungers who demand the State pay for their fabulous lifestyle!! If only. Ask a pensioner deciding between food and heating or a parent choosing food or clothing for the children, what they think of their lifestyle. Again and again it is the most disadvantaged in our communities who pay the price of the mistakes made by the ruling elite: it is the working class which subsidises the lifestyle of the very wealthy. All in this together only means that we work and pay and they reap the benefit of our labour.

Who speaks for us? For me, it is the Labour Party which must have the courage and moral fibre to stand up for all of the people it is meant to support and represent. It has not done so for a very long time and I say this as a long term Labour member and continued supporter. Blanket opposition to everything the Government tries to do is not the answer, obviously, but surely we must oppose the policies we know are heinous and punitive and penalise only those least able to afford them. We will all get older, many of us will suffer illness or some disability, or become single-parent families or lose our jobs. Our children have no choice about the poverty far too many of them are forced to live in: an impoverishment that goes well beyond their physical needs. The Labour Party has to have policies which are generated by compassion and have fairness, equality of opportunity and social justice at their very core. These concepts do not preclude such policies from being viable and sound economics.

Electability? People are tired of “vision” statements and parties claiming the moral high ground. To be electable, the Labour Party needs a genuine commitment to the principles and values on which it was created over a century ago. This isn’t a cry to return to times past in any other sense than a renewed commitment to the foundations on which the Party was built. Surely the General election result speaks to the disenchantment felt by so many, especially traditional Labour voters, who want to believe the party they support and vote for, whichever one that is, is going to implement the policies and measures which best serve the interests of everyone in our communities, not just a wealthy and self-serving elite. Right now, that party isn’t the Labour Party. It SHOULD be.

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