Manuel Cortes: A Labour victory is within reach – let’s go for it and leave our mark on history like our forebears in 1945

Manuel Cortes

Next Thursday, a vote for Labour is a vote for hope and a vote for new economic deal for the many not the few. Just like in 1945.

For more than three decades the so-called “orthodoxies” of market fundamentalism have led to the richest in our society accumulating untold wealth side-by-side with a sharp rise in gaping inequality. Corporations and the elite are laughing all the way to the bank. They are able to choose how much – if any – tax to pay whilst our public services have been starved of cash and/or privatised. Utility and rail companies have been given a licence to print money.

All of this, continues to be done at our expense. When we have the “temerity” to question why such unimaginable wealth is in the hands of so few and why we are being ripped-off, we are fobbed-off with the mantra that the market always knows best. What utter tosh. But sadly most of our political class, have been far too mesmerised by this satanic prophecy.

Our last Labour government did many good things to improve the lot of working people. However, they did next to nothing to break away from Thatcher’s economic settlement. They rode the neo-liberal dragon hoping to tame it’s worse excesses but, its flames blew away their good intentions.

This election time round, it has all changed. This incoming Labour government will wave goodbye to Thatcher’s economic settlement. Just like in 1945, we will set in motion a transformational programme that will kill-off the market mumbo-jumbo which has driven our economic policy for over three decades. Labour’s 2017 manifesto offer to voters is crystal clear: we will once again use the power of the state to intervene in our mixed economy for their benefit.

Unlike 1945, we are thankfully not emerging from a devastating war and our economy and country are not bankrupt. Far from it. The rich and corporations, can not only afford to pay more in taxes, it’s  because they have been allowed by the Tories to pay so little that food banks prevail rather than civilised values. Our programme to take water, energy, rail and post back into public ownership is good economics with great benefits for customers and passengers.

We won’t be taking over lame ducks, but hugely profitable, beautiful, white swans. When we scoop them up, it will end the rip-off of our country’s balance sheet and add great value to the UK’s asset base – the return of our family silver – which will offset any costs incurred in taking them back.

Introducing price caps on energy bills will reduce the share price of companies in this sector making them even easier and, more attractive, to take into public ownership. Today is Labour’s rail day and we will see overwhelming support among passengers for ending the Tories’ Frankenstein franchising monster. The beauty when it comes to public ownership of our railways is that it won’t cost a penny as we will simply take over the train operators as the franchises end.

Our plans for investing in our crumbling infrastructure are more measured than radical. £250 billion over ten years sounds a lot but, it’s less than an average spend of less than two per cent of our gross domestic product per year.

Perhaps there will be scope to revise this figure upwards once we are in government, particularly as we are at a time when interest rates are so low. Our industrial policy is a vital ingredient in the creation of a new wave of prosperity for the many. Serious political action on this point has been sorely lacking for far too long. No longer will this be the case if we elect a Labour government next week.

Of course, as you would expect from any Labour government, there are plans to invest in our public services from our NHS to police numbers and everything else in between. However, for me, the game changer, what makes our manifesto transformational, is our promise of a new economic settlement with which we really can can create the fairer, more equal society we crave and deliver the 21st century public services our people so richly deserve. Opinion polls are steadily swinging our way as our policies for the many capture the imagination of more and more British people.

A Labour victory is within our reach. Let’s go for it! Let’s put our shoulders to the wheel for the next seven days and make sure we grasp it. In doing so, we too will  leave our mark on history, just like our forebears in 1945, and Labour”s transformative programme, like then, will end business as usual!

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