We must not fall for a government that is trying to distract us from its own failure with smears and fake appeals to patriotism.Malcolm X is quoted as saying “If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving those who are oppressing them.” As we wake up to newspaper headlines, written by billionaire owners, appealing to us not to vote for the guy who will put their taxes up, it’s hard to argue with him.
Vote for May or it will be chaos, screamed one right wing rag. I can’t remember which, it doesn’t really matter. Is this the same Theresa May who has presided over an election campaign riddled with gaffes, and u-turns?
The Tory manifesto is so flawed; she was forced into a botched rewrite just four days later. But, say the papers, the Conservative Party are the epitome of “strong and stable” government.
Don’t vote for Corbyn, says another, he’s a “terrorist sympathiser.” Meanwhile the party they would have us support is selling weapons to extremists.
The approach of Theresa May to Saudi Arabia is the perfect illustration of the difference in approaches to foreign policy on offer at this election. While Corbyn will discuss openly with terrorists willing to talk peace, May will sell them the guns they turn on the citizens she is sworn to protect.
The issue of competence is important and all politicians should be open to challenge and scrutiny, but the appalling hounding of Diane Abbott goes far beyond criticism of her performance in some interviews.
So, having acknowledged this, it is surprising that we are not having a debate about Theresa May’s refusal to meet the public or engage in debate. Why haven’t we seen a searing expose of Amber Rudd’s inability to guess a police officer’s salary?
What about the terrible car crash interviews given by David Davis on Channel 4 news, Michael Fallon underestimating the cost of HS2 by £20 billion or the absolute car wreck that was Justine Greeling’s interview on Good Morning Britain?
This is a party in so much chaos; they have the foreign secretary talking about the economy and the culture secretary discussing policing. If it wasn’t so horrifying, it would be hilarious.
However, there is a genuinely serious question at stake here and it concerns the ability of government to keep its citizens safe, all of them, not just a privileged few.
I’ve been thinking about this question of safety for some time now. What does being safe actually mean?
Well of course there is the obvious issue of protecting us all from foreign enemies, terrorists and those who would seek to undermine our democracy. On that score it is easy to make a pretty strong case that this government has failed miserably.
They have been in power for seven years, they have cut police numbers by 20,000 and demoralised the entire force. Firefighter, health service staff and the armed forces have all bore the brunt of austerity, leaving you and your family vulnerable.
Meanwhile they want to spend £200 billion on a weapons system that will not protect us against the sorts of attacks visited upon London and Manchester. Labour too will renew Trident, but at least they have a leader willing to challenge its effectiveness.
In no way have the Tories acted to keep this country safe. We now learn that the Muslim community along with other intelligence agencies warned Britain about the perpetrators of recent terror attacks. We know that, as Home Secretary, Theresa May failed to stop known Jihadists returning to Britain after they had visited Libya.
Theresa May had one job and that is to protect the people of Britain, she failed. Now we are asked to vote her government into office, on the basis she is the safe choice, how utterly ridiculous.
However, the threat from international terror is not the only threat stalking our streets. In 2017, in the 5th richest country in the world, children are homeless, soldiers are homeless and the mentally ill are homeless.
The National Health Service is on its knees, housing is beyond the reach of many and our schools are begging parents for donations for books and pencils, while children turn up hungry to class.
The Tory answer to all of this is more cuts, privatisation and tax cuts for the rich and corporations. They say a strong economy will trickle down to the rest of us. However, while the country’s wealth has grown massively in the early decades of the 21st century, the gap between the rich and the rest of us grows. Trickle down is a lie.
On every measure of safety, a roof over your head, a health service that works, defence of the realm and food in your children’s bellies, this government has failed. Now they want to distract us with smears and fake appeals to patriotism. Don’t fall for it.
The only party with a costed programme to address all of these issues is Labour. The only leader with a track record of fighting for all of these things is Jeremy Corbyn.
Vote for him, vote for Labour on June the 8th.
Jeff Goulding blogs at Rambling of an Ordinary Man