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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

‘Labour offers real change’

by New Worker correspondent

LABOUR is cutting the Tory lead in the opinion polls following the establishment of a ‘Remain Alliance’ pact between the Liberal Democrats, the Welsh nationalists and the Greens, and the decision of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party to stand down in every seat currently held by the Tories. The Tories are still ahead by six to eight points in the polls but Labour hopes to shorten it as their campaign kicks off across England, Scotland and Wales.

This week Boris Johnson convened a meeting of the government’s emergency committee to discuss the response to the recent severe floods after he was urged by Jeremy Corbyn to “take personal charge” of the situation. But he was jeered and insulted by angry locals when he went to Stainforth, in south Yorkshire, to inspect the damage.

Meanwhile the BBC has apologised for cutting actual footage of a dishevelled Johnson placing his wreath upside down at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day with an old clip of him at the ceremony that was taken when he was Foreign Minister in 2016.

Farage’s decision to stand down more than half the Brexit Party’s candidates may have boosted Tory morale but it’s enraged many of his followers, particularly those who had already been preparing their local constituency campaigns. Farage says he only wants to stop Labour and Lib-Dem Remainers and claims that Johnson’s Brexit deal is the only game in town. Others say he’s been bought off by Johnson.

Whether this will tip the balance in favour of the Tories remains to be seen as the ‘tactical vote’ that was once monopolised by the Liberal Democrats is taken up by a number of other minor parties in this election.

In northern Ireland, Sinn FÉin and the Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP) have formed an electoral pact that will probably cost the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) a few seats. The DUP propped up the Tory government in the House of Commons until it fell out with Johnson over the Brexit plan that, they say, weakens the enclave’s links with the UK.

The Green Left, an anti-capitalist and eco-socialist faction within the Green Party, has come out against the implied Remain Alliance call to support the Liberal Democrats where the Green Party is not standing. They should instead support Labour if the candidate is anti-austerity, for proportional representation, a Green New Deal and a people’s vote.

Tory rebel David Gauke, the former cabinet minister who was expelled from his party in September along with 20 other prominent Tory ‘Remainer’ MPs, is fighting to keep his Hertfordshire seat as an ‘Independent’ and has urged ‘moderate’ Conservative to vote Liberal-Democrat. But one Liberal-Democrat candidate, Tim Walker, has stood down to help Labour hold on to the marginal seat of Canterbury and a second has threatened to do the same if Walker is disciplined by his own party.

The Tories want to fight this election exclusively on Brexit. Labour has to shift the focus over to the demands of millions of workers throughout the country.

New figures show that employment suffered its biggest quarterly fall in four years.

The number of people in work dropped by 58,000 between July and September, to 32.75 million people, the biggest decline since May 2015 when employment fell by 65,000.

Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “These figures are a real cause for concern. Employment is down, wage growth has slowed and there has been a sharp fall in vacancies, which clearly points to an economy that has stalled.

“The Tories’ vision of Brexit with Britain as a deregulated, bargain-basement economy ignores the desperate need for investment when millions are trapped in low-paid, insecure work and 70 per cent of children from working families are growing up in poverty.

“Labour offers real change with an immediate real living wage of £10 per hour for people aged 16 and over, a ban on zero-hour contracts, and investment in every region and nation of the UK to create decent jobs that lift people out of poverty.”