Tuesday, 16 August 2016

2 Morning Star letters on Tory inaction

With so many revelations about appalling employment conditions, and "piece-rate wages" being paid by companies like Deliveroo and others, and with so many politicians forced to defend their constituents with phrases like " a return to a Victorian system", it is interesting to see how May`s government will respond (Morning Star, 13/08/16).
    Despite the prime minister`s early rhetoric about combating inequality, and reforming British capitalism, her only action thus far has been to publish a list of the 198 companies known to be failing to pay their employees the so-called "national living wage". Naming and shaming bonus-laden bankers, and CEOs taking home 183 times the amount of their average workers, hasn`t exactly had much success in changing practice, so there`s little need to hold our breaths on the wage issue!
 More important, perhaps, is the point that no-one in government could possibly have expected such publicity to have any effect, especially at a time when most of the media is obsessed by sporting events elsewhere, and when people`s thoughts are concentrated on holidays. We can expect more of this "window-dressing" in the months to come.
     What is beyond the realms of possibility is effective Tory action; legislation making it a criminal offence to pay wages below the minimum, and tighter regulation ensuring employees` conditions at work are, at worst, decent, and unions having access to all workers, are both unlikely to see the light of day under this administration. Same goes for anything likely to help private renters against exploitative landlords.

    These are the sort of points Labour MPs could, and should, be making during this parliamentary recess, before Tory propaganda starts renewing, as if it ever stopped, its attacks on Corbyn and his "unelectable" policies.

Following Corbyn`s imminent leadership victory, Labour MPs should be looking forward to victories next year in the mayoral elections in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. As your editorial put it, the resulting "cheering effect" will further boost support (Morning Star,11/08/16).
      There is no need, however, to wait that long, especially as failure to unite now is letting the Tories off the hook. A united party could be making hay at the government`s expense, cashing in on the prime minister`s obvious hypocrisy; there is no such thing as "compassionate conservatism"; support for grammar schools is the policy of a party hell-bent on maintaining divisiveness and unfairness in our society.
     After another ridiculously expensive banking commission`s report, (with a conclusion that banking apps are the answer to increasing competition on the high street!) Labour should be pressing for the development of partly state-owned banks into a nationalised People`s Bank, working to benefit the country as a whole, ending the profit-at-all-cost philosophy.

      There is a real danger that the Tory government`s propaganda machine will succeed in another electoral con-trick, persuading voters that May`s "one nation" Toryism actually exists. Labour MPs have a duty to challenge that notion, and the sooner they rally around Corbyn, and do exactly that, the better.

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