THE BLOG

This Election Is A Once In A Lifetime Chance To Vote For Real Change

25/04/2017 09:27 BST | Updated 25/04/2017 09:30 BST

Every election is a choice between more of the same and something new. Theresa May will try to frame 'more of the same' as a good thing by saying she is a safe pair of hands.

Nothing could be further from the truth. May's "strong and stable" leadership has, in nine months, provoked constitutional crises at Holyrood and Stormont. And just five days into their Brexit negotiations, the Conservatives seemed to want the UK to go to war in Spain. Meanwhile, May accuses Labour of putting us at risk, despite her cuts to vital funding for fire, police, health and the Armed Forces.

This is what more of the same means: Our NHS in crisis. Schools underfunded. Wages falling or stagnated. Foodbank usage at a record high. The government has cut everything from bin collections to social care, but the deficit has still not been fixed in spite of a trail of binned promises.

Labour will build a Britain for the many not the few and end the rigged system that's holding people back. A real living wage will lift millions out of poverty and put new money into forgotten communities. Four new bank holidays will promote unity across our nations and boost leisure spending while bringing our holiday allowance into line with our European neighbours. Plans for regional investment banks will ensure we're no longer dependent on just one square mile of City bankers to run the economy, and that parts of Britain that have been starved of support will be able to create their own wealth. We will invest in new housing, new industries and new jobs, so that the economy works for the many not the few.

Despite her words, May has no real understanding of the challenges working people in Britain face. There's no plan for Brexit, no intention of ensuring people's lives improve under their rule, and no plan for dealing with the problems blighting Britain - the huge school funding gap, the beds crisis in our NHS, the record levels of in-work poverty, the neglect experienced by vast regions of Britain, and the loss of trust in our politics - which is at its lowest on record.

This election is about the kind of Britain we want to live in. Do we want life after Brexit to be a tax haven for the rich, or a more caring, compassionate country? Tens of billions of tax giveaways for the rich and big corporations show May's government is simply concerned with helping the powerful.

Theresa May has made much of "British values." But it is Labour, with a campaign rooted in giving power and wealth to communities, which comes far closer to the decent, honest, compassionate and caring Britain I recognise.

Corbyn's record stands for itself. He has never avoided confronting powerful interests. Nor would a Labour government.

Strong leadership means sticking to your principles, and facing the public with a bold plan for the future. And only Labour is willing to do what it takes to tackle elite interests, ensuring millions can achieve their potential and live richer lives.

This election is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for real change. By rejecting more of the same, we can build a Britain that works for the many, not the few.

Richard Burgon is the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Labour MP for Leeds East