Naked Politics Blogger
With the election campaign getting into the swing of things over the past few weeks, one thing has become abundantly clear. The Tories will be taking a backseat during campaigning, hoping Corbyn and Labour do their job for them by turning voters away from Labour. Diane Abbott did an excellent job of this yesterday. While this may end up being a successful re-election strategy, I feel the need to call the Conservatives out on their negative and frankly hypocritical tactics.
During the EU referendum, the leave campaign – backed by many Brexiteers Tories – relentlessly attacked the Remain movement for their cautious outlook. Every single day Boris or Gove would be rattling off the party line, labelling the Remain campaign ‘project fear’. As an alternative, they proposed ‘hope’. An option of leaving the EU with absolutely no clear cut plans or ideas about how a post-Brexit Britain would function. The hope message resonated with voters and leave prevailed in the referendum, setting the wheels in motion for our break from the European Union. This is a democracy and we should all accept the result.
However, we should not accept the rhetoric coming from the Conservative party during this campaign. They have adopted a hugely negative strategy. The Prime Minister’s announcement of the election was followed by her saying that only her strong and stable government could negotiate Brexit. We constantly hear that the imaginary ‘coalition of chaos’ would leave the country in ruins and see Brexit reversed. This is simply not true. This is campaign fear. Negative propaganda coming from the Conservatives, supported by the right leaning press such as the Daily Mail, who labelled Remainers ‘Saboteurs’, seeks to divide the nation. This tactic is intended to distract from all other equally or more important domestic issues. It is designed to whip up nationalistic emotions and an us versus them mentality. This is not what the country needs.
There are more pressing issues than Brexit. If you’re a young, recent Governments have taken a lot away from you. Tuition fees rose under the Conservatives and according to the Daily Mirror, are expected to rise to £11,679 by 2025. Furthermore, they cut the Education Maintenance allowance that low income pupils could receive at Sixth Form and changed the student maintenance grant to a loan, saddling students with more debt. They want to remove us from the EU aggressively, potentially damaging our relationship with European countries and restricting our opportunities for travel and work. The NHS is at breaking point- waiting times are extortionate, while excessive privatisation could result in an end to the ‘free at the point of use’ nature of the NHS. An end to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds ensures that young people fresh out of college, struggling to find a job, cannot receive help to get a house of their own. Politicians in the Conservative party are taking away from us a free higher education, a free and high quality NHS and free travel and trade with 500m. All of these are things that the same politicians enjoyed and benefitted from in their youth.
If you’re a pensioner, the government has repeatedly ruled out defending the Triple Lock on Pensions, hitting those who have contributed for years to our nation. Again, the NHS is in crisis, it needs fixing and we need a excellent health service to care for those who’ve worked so hard in life as they grow old. This will not happen if current cuts to the health service continue and it will be the elderly who suffer from these dropping standards the most.
These are important issues for everyone whether young, old or middle aged. If you voted leave but normally vote Labour, Green or Lib Dems, do not let campaign fear force you to vote for the Conservatives. Brexit is happening, it is safe. You can use your vote to improve things, a better NHS, fairer wages, better schools, cheaper higher education, a guaranteed annual increase in pensions and even a more beneficial and successful Brexit deal with the European Union.