“For a party that prides itself on the economy, the Tories have a shocking record of running it. Our economy has the slowest growth in the G7. We have got greater regional inequality than almost any other developed nation. Food banks now do the job of Government in providing for families—families that are more often than not in work.
Government could start solving this crisis by providing solutions, like closing tax-avoidance loopholes or creating a windfall tax for energy companies. But instead, we get endless bills paying lip service to a manufactured culture war. The priority isn’t the economy. It seems to be things like protecting freedom of speech, and yet the Tories are the ones who banned schools in England from using sources that are not overtly pro-capitalist. They are cracking down on freedom of assembly and protest. They are privatising Channel 4, when the Culture Secretary didn’t even know that Channel 4 receives no public money, so the argument is not financial. And as the Member for Rhondda touched upon earlier on, when we consider, that the Culture Secretary was a key focus of a Channel 4 documentary once about the influence that Christian fundamentalism has on UK politics, it becomes even more concerning that this decision is political and it’s personal. It is not professional.
But most terrifying of all, however, is that the Government literally wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act. And that begs the question: for whom do they think rights have gone too far? Do you know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs? We have witnessed Windrush. Our economic strategy is to open our doors to the rest of the world when we need their hard work and then chuck them out 50 years later without a word’s notice. We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that this plan costs more than it will ever save.
This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists. We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and time again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.
And over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. And I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity. When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. And you may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It doesn’t happen like that. It happens subtly. It happens when we see the Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, we see the concentration of power whilst avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, that will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people, the normalisation of human cruelty. Now I don’t know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not.”