2018 will be the year when finally the Brexit conundrum brings May and her Tories down. The differences within their party on what the exit deal must contain are so deep, they are simply irreconcilable. No amount of Tory soft soap can disguise that it’s impossible to cobble something together which keeps both Gove and Hammond happy, never mind the extreme Brexiteers on their backbenches who relish a mutiny.
From the Tory Brexit ashes, Labour’s phoenix will rise. Jeremy Corbyn will take over the reigns before next year is out. Labour’s Brexit position will continue evolving as the British public shifts its views to stop an unnecessary folly. In all likelihood, the only deal which will safeguard our jobs, our prosperity and ensure no hard border in Ireland is staying put. Labour’s People’s Brexit may well mean retaining our trading ties as they are today without relinquishing our voice at the top table. Yet it won’t be business as usual, far from it.
Jeremy’s Labour government will have the same reforming zeal as the one Attlee led in 1945 in reconstructing a Britain for the many and rebuilding a new peace with Europe after the Brexit vote. Austerity will rightly be condemned to where it belongs, the dustbin of history. A new economic settlement will be ushered in - putting the interests of the 99% at its helm. The long and damaging Thatcherite legacy and Its neoliberal twin which so plagued our last Labour government, will be vanished. Social-democratic and socialist policies will again be the order of the day as we look more like Norway than the United States.
It’s impossible to cobble something together which keeps both Gove and Hammond happy, never mind the extreme Brexiteers on their backbenches who relish a mutiny
For working people, it will mean greater labour market regulation and workplace rights, a real living wage, particularly appealing to those on low earnings and investment led economic growth which will deliver higher living standards for the many. An ambitious house building programme will restore hope among our young. Higher education will once again become a right not a privilege for the few who can afford it or a debt mountain for so, so many. Working mothers will once again earn enough to feed their kids without the support of food banks.
The madness of rail privatisation will end and the money currently leaking out to shareholders will be used to improve services and our network. High-Speed 2 will be extended all the way to Scotland, the vital rail links that our Northern cities need will be enhanced to reduce journey times and increase capacity and Crossrail 2 will get the go ahead. To help conquer the challenges of climate change, heavy investment in public transport will take centre stage. Labour will transform our country and our economy so it’s fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.
I anticipate 2018 with relish that another kind of Britain, one which leads in a Europe for the many not the few, is possible. Let’s raise our glasses and welcome in 2018, the year of new hope!
Manuel Cortes is general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA)