By Antony Tucker
This will be our year. The last twelve months have seen us transform the electoral map, winning in places we never have before and leaving Theresa May clinging on by her fingertips. Our country is tired of austerity and a government devoted to nothing but staying in power. Written off by everyone a year ago, now the stage is set perfectly for our breakthrough. As the Conservatives’ failures around Brexit and the results of austerity come back to haunt them, 2018 will be our year.
Look at our team versus the Cabinet, and this becomes clear. We have a Prime Minister who lost all her authority and dignity at the hands of the voters, leading a government whose infighting will soon cause its own collapse. Too weak to sack a bigot like Johnson or an incompetent like Davis, Theresa May and her rudderless administration will be wrecked upon its next crisis – which will come any day now. Contrast that with our Shadow Cabinet. In Jeremy we have a secure and confident leader, with the able and diverse team that Britain needs. Unlike this brittle and blind Conservative administration, distracted by its futile factionalism, we in Labour can show the diversity (of people and ideas) and unity we have to offer the country.
We can be confident too in the strength of our grassroots. The Conservatives are too afraid to even release their membership figures. They have good reason to be embarrassed, too, with a nose-diving activist base and local branches that exist only on paper. Our party, on the other hand, has come alive again. This most recent election has given our new members the key experience to take our message to the country anew this year. What’s more, unlike the Tories and their handful of millionaire donors, we are run and funded by our members, showing again that we are a movement for the many and not the few.
Added to this, we have a message that is winning over Britain. Everyone who sees the crisis in our NHS this winter knows that this is the result of seven years’ worth of Tory underfunding, money that has instead lined the pockets of landlords and private health companies. Britain is sick of austerity; as wages fall further behind prices for yet another year, more and more people know that it is investment that our country needs. Only we in Labour have a credible plan to rescue our public services and ensure that it is the richest few, not the hardworking many, who will pay for the revival our nation needs.
Again, Brexit is another area where the Conservatives’ failures will come back to haunt them this year. Their race to the bottom vision for Britain is designed for no-one but the far right of their own party, and the DUP who prop up the government in return for a billion pound bung. Yet no-one voted to lose their maternity pay, or to work unsafe hours, or breathe dirty air, or pay double for food and fuel.
The gap between what Britain needs and what the Tories’ Brexit will deliver will get wider and wider during 2018; not surprising, considering that up to now Boris Johnson hasn’t negotiated himself out of anything but his trousers. By standing up for workers’ rights and close trading relations with Europe, we will show that it is Labour alone who have a positive vision for Britain after Brexit.
With our leadership, our membership and our alternative to the Tories’ vision for Brexit and more austerity, 2018 will be the year where we turn our gains into an unassailable lead. We can’t get complacent, however. Fighting amongst ourselves will achieve nothing, especially as we stand on the threshold of power. Our vision for a stronger, fairer Britain can deliver a Labour government and put Jeremy in Number 10. To get there, we will have to campaign harder, work longer and engage more people than ever before. I know we can do this; we’ve achieved wonders in the past and we’ll go on to achieve still more. This is why I know 2018 will be our year.