The Coronavirus pandemic has shown that the Labour Party Manifesto for the December 2019 General Election was both very reasonable and possible.
During the pandemic the government promised £330 billion for businesses. It is obvious that most of this money will go to big businesses to bail them out.
But before the pandemic, the global economy had already been in recession for more than 10 years – since the middle of 2008. The system failed, but we don’t expect them to give up. Their austerity measures brought big businesses some money, but they could not solve stagnation and economic growth has been insubstantial or minus. The latest IMF forecast shows that UK GDP growth could be minus 6.5 per cent.
If anybody thinks this is related only to Coronavirus, they are wrong. It is related to the Government’s austerity measures. Although they provide some profit and the government provides huge support to big businesses, the system is failing. There have been huge cuts to public services, welfare support, workers’ salaries, and there are many workers on temporary or zero-hour contracts with low incomes. This has decreased people’s spending. Basically, people cannot buy and go on holidays as before.
Also because of the concern to maximise profit, old technologies are still used instead of renewable resources, so the system of economic production has not adjusted to meet people’s needs.
The Labour Party Manifesto for the last election, which was written by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership team, suggested very good alternatives to these problems. These included: ending zero hour contracts; cancelling tuition fees to provide free education for all; creating affordable, healthy homes for all, by building a million council houses, renationalisation of the NHS, railways, water, energy and mail, and providing free broadband for all through a state-owned communications company.
The main criticisms levelled at the Labour Party Manifesto was: ‘Where is the money? How can we afford it? Is there a secret money tree?’. All these questions have been shown to be meaningless by the Coronavirus budget.
Before the election all the mainstream media, the Tories, Lib Dems, other small parties and even some MPs within Labour, were attacking the manifesto and finding various reasons to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn and prevent the Labour Party, led by his team, forming a government.
Nobody in the mainstream media, including the BBC, or the others attacking Jeremy Corbyn asked the government these questions when they allocated £330 billion to bail out big corporations. Has the coronavirus shown us there is actually an answer to questions about Government spending?
by Omer Esen, Ward Political Education Officer, Mildmay