David Cameron and the Conservatives have declared that they are the Party of Working People! The basis for this claim in their manifesto is their “aim”, or so they say, which is to guarantee a “good life” for British workers and families.
In doing so they are targeting “traditional Labour votes” because they are in effect indicating that the Conservatives are now the mass Party of the Working-Class and so replace the Labour Party. So are they intent on making it an election issue by making such a declaration?
· Extending the right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants in England.
· Taking workers on the minimum wage out of income tax by increasing the personal allowance
· 30 hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds, “worth £5,000 a year”
· Lifting the inheritance tax threshold on family homes to £1m by 2017
· No above-inflation rises in rail fares until 2020
· An extra £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020
· Opening 500 more free schools
· An EU referendum by 2017
· Plans to build 200,000 starter homes
Yet what of the Labour Party? If the criteria is correct then it has to concede, otherwise the criteria is wrong. The Right to Buy scheme is a Thatcherite scheme, but Labour has never rescinded it and the public housing scheme (Council Houses) has been flat since the 1980’s with only a tiny proportion allotted to Housing Associations. Surely a proper pro-social scheme would be to build Council Houses. Yet Labour has effectively no argument in this direction.
Conservative say that they will build 200,000 starter homes, Labour is offering a similar tiny amount. This no-way addresses the housing stock shortage. Yet the Conservative criteria for being a working class party would suggest that it has pipped Labour at the post.
So how is the real Alternative going to be achieved?
Taking workers on the minimum wage out of income tax by increasing the personal allowance is replaced by the argument that this is going to be increased by Labour. Yet it is not even a living wage and how does this satisfy the demand by workers for a claim against the value workers produce? How does this affect the Monopoly Right to claim in the form of profit? How can the monopolies be restricted on this question?
30 hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds, this is to ‘free up workers’, mainly women for work, provide some value-adding labour to compete on the market, where is the alternative argument from Labour who have been trumped by the Conservatives?
Lifting the inheritance tax threshold on family homes to £1m, now this is obviously part of the “criteria” for being a Working-Class Party! Yet the Labour Party says nothing about taxation and the Government claiming out of the wages of workers or claim on the social product to fund its schemes or whether the income is to be used for social programmes or not. So the offer by the Conservatives, once more for the few people affected by this threshold have once more trumped Labour and establishes their claim as the Party of workers using their criteria!
The advisors to Government have all stated that the £8bn should be met immediately otherwise any discussion about ring-fencing or privatisation is defunct. The alternative has to include a fully funded NHS to be credible.
No above-inflation rises in rail fares until 2020. Another little trump for the Conservatives! But where is the real alternative policy that ensures the people are not being ripped off by capitalist monopolies who refuse to lower their fares to previous levels? What is the basis of their rises in fares to prop-up shareholders? Why is the demand not being proposed to take the railway companies back into public ownership and control?
The Labour Party has considered itself to be the ‘owners’ of the NHS and declared time and time again that it is safe in their hands, and yet it is trumped again by the Tories promising to an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020!
The Labour Party has not even agreed to find the £8bn immediately but only £2.5bn paid bit by bit. So, which Party can claim to be safeguarding the future of our precious NHS? Certainly not Labour and so does the criteria set out defining the Party of the workers once more look precarious for Labour?
The alternative has to include funding and reversal of the neo-liberal privatisation schemes but what Party is advocating this crucial plan?
The Conservatives are to open 500 more free schools. Once again they trump Labour by offering schools whereas Labour offer nothing. The Right to education is an imperative. The fees for students were not taken away but were reduced just like a price reduction. What of Academies, introduced by Blair under his ‘education, education, education’ dogma? Where is the reversal? Why are Labour not offering an alternative to free schools and supporting funding for LEA schools? So does the criteria put forward by the Conservatives regarding provision mean that once again they are the Party of the workers and look after the futures of working-class children? There has been talk about the disastrous nature and consequences of ‘Free Schools’ but no alternative has been suggested.
The Conservatives are offering an EU referendum by 2017. Instead Labour are not and have wheeled out Tony Blair to say so. The EU is an organisation of monopolies but the ‘protectionism’ it offers in trade and its political consequences including military are not considered in any debate by UKIP or others. The reactionary chauvinistic and racist talk is supposed to be in the interests of workers. The discussions about British Jobs for British workers are backward. They have no interest for the working-class but all Parties support the positions. Yet the Tories are ‘offering’ the referendum even though they want to stay in.
So what can we say about having a referendum, does it resolve the issue of the organisation of imperialist countries and monopolies or is it a fraud? Does a referendum put the real issue of the EU closer to the workers or not?
Surely the alternative is a Party that states its position vis-à-vis in or out of the EU? Surely the nature of the current EU is not an internationalist or pro-working class organisation so it should advocate withdrawal? Surely unity of the European working-class should be on a different basis than a market or a political union of monopolies?
The Conservatives cannot seriously consider that they are a Party of workers. Their class content is totally associated with the bourgeoisie. A Party of the working class has to be based ideologically around its role in society, to take the lead and establish its sovereignty, which removes the capitalist class.
Such a Party has to be both revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist, there can be no other Party. Only such a Party can provide real alternatives to the questions and offer different criteria. It is such a party, RCPBML, that exists and takes on the issues for the Working-Class, it calls for a vote in the General Election against Austerity and Fights for the Rights of All.