In a letter published in yesterday’s Leicester Mercury, UKIP-supporter Russ Ball correctly observed how under the Tories “the country looks like it is going back in time to the Victorian period”. Returning us to the days, he continued, “where a small section of the country was staggeringly rich, a modestly-sized middle class got by and a huge lump of the population were extremely poor indeed.”
Yet Mr Ball believes that this trip down memory lane is first and foremost the fault of the political Left, as embodied most of all by the Labour Party’s over-egged immigration policies. Here he wrong-foots himself straight way by starting from the false premise that the Labour Party still promotes Left-wing policies – remember the war on Iraq? Their support for austerity? Or their newly minted red ‘immigration control’ election mug?
Immigration under Labour increased, of that there is no doubt. But can all our countries problems really be traced back to immigration? Of course not. It certainly wasn’t immigration that caused the ongoing global financial crisis. It is quite clear that super-rich financial speculators did that all on their own. Although all the political parties of the rich-class, first, Red, and now Blue, were happy to bail them out with hundreds of billions of pounds of our money.
Are we really to believe that decades of underinvestment in schools, our NHS, and housing provision – dating back to the 1970s – are less important in causing the crisis facing working-class people than Labour’s immigration policies?
During the General Election, only UKIP outdid the other mainstream parties in their willingness to further decimate public service provision and embrace austerity, although for the sake of good public relations Mr Farage preferred to focus all of their campaigning on immigration. UKIP promised £35 billion worth of cuts: five billion more than Labour or the Tories, and £35 billion more than the anti-cuts Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) for whom I represented in Leicester East.
Our current political leaders may well have fond memories of their predecessors’ aristocratic days of glory in the Victorian era, but watching Downton Abbey is as close as the majority of British people want to come to reliving such dark historic times.
By way of contrast to the pipedreams of the super-rich, growing numbers of groups, such as the National Shop Stewards Network, continue to organize resistance to the cuts; and with more people getting involved with the fightback, we can begin to unite and strengthen our resolve against the lies and distortions of the 1%.
Letter sent to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 29th May in response to an article published the day before (“Heading back to Victorian times”).