Why I’m Voting Labour In The UK Elections (And I Hope You Will Too).

There is much vitriol and misinformation around the 2017 United Kingdom election. Social media is a self-referential echo chamber and the mainstream media have shown a lack of balance — so here’s my take on it.

Image courtesy Elliott Stallion

So being realistic, only Labour and the Tories have any chance of getting in — so I’ll limit my comments to those. You’ll soon see that I’m intending to vote Labour — regardless, I’ve tried to read a balanced set of articles and question everything.

Brexit aside, this election is about investment in people

Both the Tories and Labour are committing themselves to going ahead with Brexit negotiations without an option of a second referendum — so we can skip over that and focus on the fact that many of our social systems are struggling. Not only that, but the situation is getting worse mainly because those currently pulling the strings (the Tories) haven’t/aren’t prioritising them.

Schools have had the biggest per-pupil drop in budget for decades. There’s talk of teachers taking collections at the school gates. The NUT have taken the manifesto pledges and tried to calculate what this means for each school — by the end of the next parliament (2022) my local school (which I hope my kids will be at) will lose one teacher and £602 per pupil under the Tories but under Labour will gain a teacher and £57 per pupil.

“The very young, the poor and those with special needs and disabilities will be worst affected” — National Union of Teachers

The NHS is in crisis — Theresa May claims they are receiving record funding, but against a national health crisis (‘lifestyle’ diseases such as obesity) and an aging population, increase in budget last year was 1.1%. Over the 59 years since the NHS was founded, the average YOY increase has been 4% — so funding is rising at the lowest rate ever during the highest demand ever seen.

When Theresa May says that “the UK has not done enough to curb terrorism”, she seems to forget that before becoming Prime Minister last year, she spent six years as Home Secretary and was therefore in charge of our security framework. In that time, she cut the police force by 20,000 (including cutting 1,300 of 7,000 armed offices), and has also cut PCSO’s who are at the forefront of gathering community intelligence. There’s a pledge in the Tory manifesto to maintain the strength of the armed forces (and May has attacked Corbyn for his previous questioning of the rationale behind the military), but already The Times is reporting that the Tories are planning to cut 20% of the army as soon as they get another term.

Austerity or spend to stimulate growth?

So there are three pillars of society — the NHS, education and security — which are facing continued financial stresses. Obviously, we’ve had a recession and times are tough and this is probably the biggest difference between the two parties — the Tories want to cut money to weather the storm, Labour wants to spend to generate growth. The Tories have cut corporation tax from 28% in 2010 (which was already one of the lowest rates in Europe) to 20%. Labour want to raise this to 26% (which would still be a steal in all of Europe). Admittedly, corporation tax is harder to collect than either VAT or income tax (which are both taxes on the population rather than on business).

Now Labour fully costed their manifesto, and raising corporation tax to 26% (still lower than it was in 2010 mind!) would pay for a large amount of the budget increases needed by the NHS, education (including abolishing tuition fees) and policing. The Tory manifesto wasn’t even costed. The Labour economic plan has been backed in a letter by 120 leading economists.

Personal attacks, media bias & “fake news”

But on top of all this, what really speaks volumes to me is the nastiness of the Tory campaign. Having said she wouldn’t call a snap election, May not only called a snap election but has flat-out refused to debate any of the other parties which is massively arrogant. The Tory campaign has revolved solely around ‘Jeremy Corbyn is weak’ rather than actual policies. The mainstream media (including the BBC) have been incredibly biased against Labour — the Independent found that 75% of press coverage misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn.

“Corbyn’s voice is often absent in the reporting on him, and when it is present it is often presented in a highly distorted way” — Independent Press Standards Organization

When our media is owned by a small group of billionaires (Murdoch, the Barclay brothers), it’s easy to see why they may favour a party who will continue to ask for less tax from their interests.

May and the media have consistently painted Corbyn as a danger to the nation, with links to the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. Yes, he held talks with the IRA during the 1980s, but at the same time as the Thatcher government were holding talks. Corbyn openly invited Hamas and Hezbollah to talks but you can’t reach a peace agreement without discussing the terms.

Where May has shown arrogance, ignorance and maliciousness, Corbyn has shown himself to genuinely want improvements for all.