Open Letter issued by Linda Laurie and Jan Pollock, Co-Chairs of the Disabled Socialists for Jeremy Corbyn Group
Thankfully, Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour Party leadership election when the results were announced in Liverpool last Saturday. We urged our disabled friends and colleagues to vote for Jeremy in this election because he was the only true anti-austerity leadership candidate with a socialist economic policy that will end Tory cuts and bring true equality across the UK. He has repeatedly demonstrated his support for Disabled People by voting to defeat Tory welfare cuts to our benefits. Under his leadership, Labour forced the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith - architect of benefit cuts started under New Labour. Jeremy was the only leadership candidate who pledged to reinstate the Independent Living Fund closed by the Tories. He is supported by and has an unblemished record of being shoulder to shoulder with Disabled People against the Cuts, which has campaigned relentlessly against welfare cuts.
Jeremy was the only candidate who said that leading a Socialist Labour Government, he will get the private sector out of our National Health Service. Damaging privatisation driven forward with PFI under New Labour, will be reversed. We will have a fully funded NHS.
Jeremy said a Socialist Labour Government will build enough council houses to address the Tory Government housing crisis, which has worked with big business and profiteering multinational private landlord firms. Tax dodgers and the rich would be made to pay what they owe and we would not waste money on renewing Trident.
Disabled People face widespread discrimination. Jeremy has promised to end unemployment, creating a million jobs paying real wages for real work. He will reverse the cuts to the Access to Work Scheme and give real teeth to anti-discrimination legislation, desperately needed by Disabled People.
Jeremy will lead a Government with a commitment to remove barriers excluding Disabled children and adults from having equal access to education, treating people equally irrespective of impairment or social background. He will end Government led by privately educated, ex-public school politicians, who mostly went to Cambridge or Oxford.
Disabled socialists reject the scurrilous attacks on Jeremy's campaigning in support of our community in papers like the Guardian where Lady Angela Smith [24.7.16] and Frances Ryan [25.7.16] attack him saying he has done nothing to support Disabled People. They argue we need Tory Light policies or Labour won't ever get elected. We have tried that and see where it got working class and Disabled people!
Through his consistent attacks on Tory Policies, Jeremy has repeatedly demonstrated his principled commitment to tackling the discrimination and social exclusion we face. He has posed many questions in defence of homeless people and those in the mental health system which have exposed Government hypocrisy towards us, thereby earning the loyalty of millions currently excluded from mainstream society.
Jeremy was the only leadership candidate who pledged to bring passenger transport back into public ownership, ensuring providers guarantee full, equal access across an integrated transport system. He has promised to ensure stations are adequately staffed and equipped so barriers are removed meaning everyone can travel safely and independently.
We look forward to working with Jeremy to ensure that the Labour Party is a welcoming place where Disabled People can get involved in political activity and influence the Labour Party's policies, ensuring that they are underpinned by the social model of disability.