General Election June 8th 2017.
The polling stations open at 07:00 am on the 8th June 2017, and close at 22:00 (10 pm) on the same day. During those 15 hours, the people of this country have the opportunity to cast their votes in perhaps the most important election since the end of the Second World War, or even longer than that. The result of this 2017 general election will determine the fate of the United Kingdom for decades and will chart the course for our children and our grandchildren for generations into the future.
Over the course of the last 7 weeks, the media and television have been pursuing a relentless campaign of smear and personal attacks on the leadership of the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn in particular. Personal attacks, building in their duplicity and hypocrisy reaching a peak today (7th June 2017) with the Mail, devoting 17 pages to smearing Jeremy Corbyn, the Telegraph with its "Corbyn government would be a calamity" article, the Times, "imagining a Britain with Corbyn in charge, and the Sun with yet another scurrilous and reprehensible front page.
However, the constant feature running through the media and on television, almost to the complete exclusion of anything else during the course of this campaign, has been the uninterrupted recommendation, that people should not vote Labour. There has been little if any, positive encouragement for people to vote for Theresa May, her policies and her conservative party. The only message has been only in the the negative sense that there are two choices for Prime Minister and that Theresa May is the best option. There has been no mention of conservative policies, perhaps because they were being amended or U Turned within hours of being announced and no costings for any policy which happened to survive.
The Labour party on the other hand has constantly sought to promote its policies which from the outset, have been fully costed and presented to the British people as a manifesto to change people's lives so that no one is left behind. A manifesto for the Many not the few.
When you go into the polling booth to place an X beside the name of your preferred candidate, please take just a minute to consider the effect that your vote will have on the society in which we all live and on the country which we all share.
The National Health Service.
The NHS was created in 1948 to ensure that medical health care was available for all our people to provide health care which is "comprehensive, universal and free at the point of delivery". Over the past years, particularly over the past 7 years, our N H S has been systematically deprived of adequate funding, proper staffing levels in A&E, mental health and everyday medical care provision. In addition, large sections of the service have been sold off to private companies who operate purely to generate profits for their shareholders, whilst at the same time N H S wards have been shut, waiting times have increased for operations and A&E treatment, hospitals closed and the land sold off to private companies for "development". Our nurses have had their real salaries cut by 14% in real terms as a result of the public sector pay freeze, and many are now reliant on Food-bank charities to feed their families and the Payday loan companies to make financial ends meet each month.
Only the Labour party will restore public sector pay and award nurses an immediate pay increase. Only the Labour party will end the cuts to N H S services, end the austerity which is causing such devastating effects in staffing recruitment and stop and reverse the decimation of the N H S brought about by privatisation
The cuts to the education budgets have had a disastrous effect on our schools and higher education establishments. Pre-school facilities for the under 5's have been cut or sold off to private companies where the fees charged to parents is now prohibitive.In infants and junior schools, the increase in class sizes as a result of austerity cuts, make it almost impossible for our children to reach the standards which we should all aspire to. Head masters are today sending begging letters home with children asking for parents to contribute for the purchase of books and equipment, and at the same time, teachers are being sacked because there is no funding to pay for them. Our university students are being saddled with huge debts, running into £ thousands, debts which will stay with them for many years into their middle age or even beyond.
Only the Labour party will provide pre school facilities to give our children the start which they should have and to provide proper care facilities to allow parents the peace of mind that their children are in safe hands. Only the Labour party will provide free school meals as a right, to ensure that no child in this 21st century goes hungry at school.The Labour party will ensure adequate funding for our schools, adequate staffing levels and proper provision of books and equipment. The Labour party will end the charging of university and school fees, removing the prospect of years of debt for students and their families.
There is a chronic shortage of low cost or rented accommodation in this country, brought about by decades of neglect by successive governments. House prices and rental charges are maintained at an artificially high price, meaning that thousands of our people face the prospect of never being able to have a home of their own.
The Labour party will build one million new homes during the course of the next parliament, comprising a mixture of affordable low cost housing and social housing to meet the needs of families, desperate for a home.
The conservative party have already announced that the annual "Triple lock" pension adjustments for the State Pension will end if they are re elected to form another government. In addition, the provision of winter fuel payments, travel concessions and television licences will be "means tested" prior to any payments being granted.
The Labour party will retain the triple lock and the winter fuel payments and the travel and television licence concessions as currently provided.
In addition, the Labour party will abolish the so called "bedroom tax" and reverse the cuts to welfare and benefit caps introduced as an "austerity" measure.
Austerity is not an economic necessity. Austerity is a political choice.
Over the past few years, the richest in this country, the millionaires the bankers and the big business executives, the highest earners in industry, have become richer with cuts to taxation rates and to corporation tax.
The Labour party will ensure that there will be no increase in taxation, or National Insurance rates for 95% of our people and that there will be no increase in V A T on essential goods and services.
When you go into the polling booth on the 8th June,you will determine the future of this country for decades to come. The choices, are between more of the same with the conservatives. More cuts, more austerity, falling living standards, declining N H S services with ever increasing privatisation and resultant charges for medical care and all the associated hardships of welfare cuts, food-banks, higher charge for utilities such as gas, water electricity.
The alternative is to vote for the Labour party with its promise of hope and with its programme to change society in this country where no one is left behind and we have a government for the many not the few.
The choice is yours, but I implore you to think well upon it.