IN the spirit of Jeremy Corbyn's call for a more civilised politics in Britain, I am going to start this column by saying something nice about the Conservative Party. Brace yourselves! The Tories deserve recognition for their unquestionable skill at public relations and marketing. How else can you explain their ability to sell the great austerity deception to the British people?!
Austerity is socially moribund and economically illiterate. It simply does not work, which renders the fact that David Cameron has been able to convince most people otherwise as something quite remarkable and therefore deserving of recognition.
Most people in Britain are fair minded but austerity is fundamentally unfair. Austerity disproportionately impacts the people in our society who did least to cause it and who can least afford to shoulder its burdens. It is ruining lives in ways that many of us cannot even comprehend and what is tragic is that those lives are being ruined for nothing because austerity cannot possibly achieve its stated aims. Simply put, you cannot grow an economy by putting people out of work and into poverty, or by decimating public services and slashing investment, Austerity is a political choice not an economic one, and there is another way.
I have spent the last few months working on Jeremy Corbyn's successful campaign for the Leadership of the Labour Party. His call for a different kind of politics in Britain is not simply about being nicer to each other. It's about rebuilding our society so it serves the many and not the privileged few. Jeremy Corbyn's message is clear: Labour is now the only antiausterity party in Britain. That is not just rhetoric but the strongest indication yet of what we can expect from a Labour Government in 2020. Labour needs to start defending its domestic record in Government and desperately needs to challenge the myth that over-borrowing caused the financial crash in 2007. You cannot blame the people for accepting this as truth if it is the only thing they have heard for the last five years. So what is the truth? The truth is that Labour profligacy did not cause the global financial meltdown in 2007. People did not queue for days outside Northern Rock because Labour spent too much money on hospitals and schools or on the salaries of doctors, nurses and teachers.
The financial meltdown was caused by greedy bankers liberated from the shackles of regulation and, far from causing the financial meltdown, Labour did much to lessen its impact.
After 10 years in Government, the Labour Party had much to be proud of and our Chancellor and subsequent Prime Minister Gordon Brown deserves more credit that he gets for his solid stewardship of the British economy during his time in office. Imagine where we would be if he had allowed Britain to adopt the Euro or if he hadn't put together a bailout package which saw banks renationalised and the British economy saved from an incomprehensible armageddon. History will judge Mr. Brown much more favourably than contemporary public opinion, that you can be sure of.
We cannot claim to be a fair I am fortunate enough to represent, as a councillor, the area in Newcastle where I grew up and where I still live, Blakelaw. During Jeremy's campaign society when so many people are treated so unfairly we would often talk about Blakelaw and the challenges our community faces as a consequence of austerity. I see how some of the residents I represent are struggling with the sort of choices that in the seventh richest economy on Earth no one should have to make.
Something has to change because the alternative is too horrific to even contemplate. We cannot claim to be a fair society when so many people are being treated so unfairly.
I hope that if Jeremy Corbyn achieves anything as Labour leader it is to shake Britain out of its collective political apathy and awaken the people to the reality of just how unfair our country has become. All is not lost, we can be great again but not by building an economy that enriches the rich by impoverishing the poor.
? Coun David Stockdale is a Labour councillor in Newcastle representing Blakelaw Ward. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidStockdale
We cannot claim to be a fair society when so many people are treated so unfairly