Of all the things to motivate me to post about something other than food…
I want to have a genuine discussion with you, dear reader. This isn’t an angry post. I run away from angry conversations faster than a cat from a bucket of water. I just want to talk about Labour in the upcoming UK general election. In particular, I want to focus on the recent jibes so many politicians are making about “increasing taxes won’t fund Labour policies.” Why does Theresa May and her party keep telling us that Labour’s payment plans won’t work? Why does JK Rowling deplore Jeremy Corbyn?
I think it’s important that we talk about this calmly, that we try to really rationale things. If we want anyone to consider our point of view, we have to talk respectfully, right? But we have to, at the very least, talk to each other. I shy away from political talk so often due to the, uh, passion it can evoke in people that I often feel like I’m being shouted at with no room to actually articulate myself – no room for an actual discussion. But discussion is what creates change. Let’s get started.
Corbyn has said that to fund a number of the Labour party’s policies it will increase income tax on those who earn more than £80,000 a year. Who the hell do you know earning £80,000 a year? Not many of us. If you’re reading this post, you’re most likely safe. Do you know who does earn more than £80,000 a year? Politicians, celebrities, and massive corporate business entrepreneurs.
To live in the UK, you need to earn about £35,000 to live comfortably with a mortgage, a car, basic utilities and still enjoy living beyond working to simply survive, which can still be a struggle if you have children as well. So, let’s say the average parent needs £40,000 and they will live a decent, well-provided for lifestyle.
Theresa May earns £143,462 annually. JK Rowling is worth £600 million. Corporation tax in the UK is the lowest of any major developed economy, and even with Labour’s plans to raise their tax, UK corporations will continue to be the lowest taxed of major economies.
If Corbyn earns £125,000 annually, you can see why half of his colleagues are trying to throw their own party under the train tracks – ‘we support working class unless it means we have to have the same pay packet as the working class’. You can see why the Tories are telling us that “taxing the rich won’t fund anything.” Because it means they can’t carry on paying off the mansions they’ve bought for themselves. They’d no longer be able to afford luxury cars with high road tax. JK Rowling’s manor is worth £2.25 million. Maybe she’s paid that all off, considering her income, but imagine the council tax…
When someone famous or someone rich tries to tell you “increasing tax will only hurt you, not me,” stop and ponder that for a moment. Because it’s not you who’s going to have increased taxation. It’s not you who’ll suddenly be struggling to afford your seven bedroom house. Just to distract you, Theresa says she might “reduce income tax on working class families,” but she will not make any other kind of tax changes, if any. Remember that. She’s not actually planning to reduce working family income tax, she’s saying it to distract from the fact higher earners can keep their ridiculous bonuses.
Do not get me wrong, I’d love to live in a 14th century castle with five acres of land and afford five star hotels whenever I felt like it. But none of us needs those things. Truly, we don’t. I mean, we might need a five star hotel once every few years…but I’d be happy to have an apartment to call my own, let alone a two bed house.
Since the Conservatives have been in power, they have made cuts on those who don’t even earn £15,000 annually, claiming those low earners and foreigners are to blame for our poor economy, not that politicians, corporations and celebrities are taking more money annually than one family needs in three years. We have seen child poverty rise to over 4 million, homelessness rise, queues at food banks grow and yet Theresa refuses to acknowledge the latter is a serious issue because there “are many complex reasons why people go to food banks,” namely, we can suspect, because they cannot feed themselves or their family. I don’t think it’s that complex, to be honest. Are we a developed country or not?
A record of 700 nurses and healthcare assistants applied for hardship grants last year while the number of nurses using payday loans has almost doubled in three years. “The heroes of the NHS, have had a reduction of 14% in their wages since 2010 and are using food banks to feed themselves. Does that not say everything that’s wrong with today’s society?” says Ian Lavery. Yet Theresa refused to respond directly three times to questions about it, denying that the Conservative’s pay cap – which limits wage rises to 1% a year for seven years – is to blame.
In the last year, Britain’s 1,000 richest people have seen their wealth raise 14% to £658 billion. That is six times the total budget of our NHS. Now tell me why the NHS is underfunded and failing to cope.
It’s hard to get a career job without experience, and it’s hard to get experience without skills taught in higher education, and it’s harder to consider university when the debt is long-lasting, careers are competitive, and the support to live in order to even attend class has been terminated. Did you know that student loans incur interest? Do you see why so many low earning workers are still living with their parents, or stuck in shit-paying jobs without “experience and skill” to get better ones?
This is directly from the Labour manifesto: “Businesses tell us that they need a more skilled workforce to boost productivity and growth – and so extra tax revenues will contribute to education and skills budgets.” Makes sense to me. Invest in the society you expect to work for you. If you and I can pay our taxes, why can’t corporations and higher earning individuals? Don’t worry, small businesses, you get an exemption.
What worries me about the Labour party is their in-fighting. The Labour party was originally a socialist party. It was born out of the popular Labour movement in 1900, they used to sing The Internationale before sitting in Parliament! But guess what, Tony Blair banned the song in 1989. Do members of the Labour party think their flag is red because the colour is simply striking? It’s as if Labour politicians would rather see Theresa May in No. 10 than one of their own if it meant putting a socialist in charge. They are literally happy to run their own party into the ground to prove that socialism isn’t popular even though Corbyn WAS VOTED IN BY EVERYDAY PEOPLE and is, in fact, astoundingly popular.
Because socialism becoming a viable alternative is an end to their lives as they know it, and they’re stupid enough and comfortable enough to think that’s a bad thing.
I’m voting Labour because we can feed our children and pay the mortgage. We can support young adults who currently cannot afford to move out, even working full time. We can send people to university without making them owe over £40,000 debt. We can fund the NHS, because health care and being alive is a human right, not something you must work to earn.
Let’s think about our communities and how we all need each other to continue living; recognise greed. If every minimum wage worker refused to work tomorrow, the country would cease to function. So let’s stop punishing those who keep the UK running – who ensure you can buy food from supermarkets, who serve you beer or tea or a meal at the pub, who dry clean your suits, who volunteer to read to your children, who maintain ticket booths, who clean your staff toilets – even those on minimum salary expectations, £16,000 a year is not enough to live on.
Whatever you vote, I just hope that you do vote. If you want change but you’re not going to start a revolution demanding we rethink our entire political and economical infrastructure, then at least vote. Because if you don’t vote, your silence, by our laws, means that you consent to whatever is passed in government.
Register here to vote. You don’t even have to leave your house. Vote by post.