LABOUR’S leaked General Election Manifesto starts with a declaration that ‘Labour understands that wealth creation is a collective endeavour – between investors, workers, public services, and government. Each contributes and each must share equitably in the rewards.’
This is just after the publication of the latest Sunday Times Rich list, awash with billionaires!
That there is no chance of this utopian ‘equitable sharing’ taking place under capitalism will be obvious to every worker. These are just empty words. There is no attempt to actualise them in this manifesto.
The programme pledges that: ‘A Labour government will prioritise public service over private profit. And we will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire.’ (our emphasis) It pledges to reverse the privatisation of Royal Mail ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
Expropriation is to be at a Fabian pace, and who can tell when the ‘earliest opportunity’ will arise?
It announces plans for a National Investment Bank and pledges: ‘Labour will take advantage of near-record low interest rates to invest £250 billion over ten years in upgrading our economy to ensure that our transport, energy and digital infrastructure is fit for the 21st Century …’
The draft goes on to say: ‘We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union … ‘Labour recognises that leaving the EU with “no deal” is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject “no deal” as a viable and negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy …’
With this, Labour is resolving to take the Greek Syriza road, where a left party with massive support to reject austerity and the EU capitulated to the bullying of the EU with devastating results.
The EU will demand that a £90bn alimony, ransom, is paid before a deal is made, and Labour will be reduced to the role of collecting the ransom.
Labour promises to restore the Tory school funding cuts, ‘restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-18 year olds from lower and middle income backgrounds’, with ‘direct funding, making FE courses free at the point of use …
‘Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees.’ The abolition of tuition fees is however to be phased in over an unstated period. Under Rights at Work, Labour pledges to ‘ban zero-hours contracts’, ‘repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining’, ‘guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces’, ‘raise the minimum wage to the level of the living wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020)’, and ‘end the public sector pay cap’.
Labour will ‘Ban unpaid internships’, ‘enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work’, ‘abolish employment tribunal fees’, and ‘hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure that blacklisting truly becomes and remains a thing of the past … Labour will clamp down on bogus self-employment.’
For pensioners: ‘Labour will guarantee the state pension “triple lock” throughout the next Parliament.’ On benefits, Labour will, ‘Scrap the punitive sanctions regime, scrap the bedroom tax, reinstate housing benefit for under-21s, scrap bereavement support payment cuts.’
It has however not got the same attitude to the hated Universal Credit, under which housing benefit is reduced to as little as 5p. ‘We will also review the cuts to work allowances in Universal Credit, and also review the decision to limit tax credit and Universal Credit payments to the first two children in a family.’ It does not plan to scrap Universal Credit!
Labour will invest in the NHS, ‘focus resources on community services to deliver care closer to home’, ‘scrap the NHS pay cap, put pay decisions back into the hands of the independent pay review body’ and ‘re-introduce bursaries and funding for health-related degrees. ‘Labour will commit to over £6 billion extra in annual funding through increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners, by increasing tax on private medical insurance, and we will free up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants.
‘Labour will halt the NHS “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” which are looking at closing health services across England and ask local health groups to redraw the plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.’
What is called for is not a redrawing of the STP plans but ending NHS privatisation and cuts and closures by sacking the privateers, ending the PFI and nationalising the drugs industry. In foreign policy Labour does not propose to recognise the State of Palestine or scrap the Tory plans to build aircraft carriers to operate in the Gulf out of Bahrain.
Labour will continue to defend British imperialism. ‘We will ensure that our Armed Forces are properly equipped and resourced to respond to wideranging security challenges. ‘Labour supports the renewal of the Trident submarine system.’
News Line’s policy remains to vote Labour to get the Tories out but to vote WRP in the five areas where we are standing with socialist policies and for a socialist revolution.