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Real change is coming — and the billionaires know it

After a decade of Conservative and Lib Dem austerity, the country is ready for real change — only a radical Labour government can deliver that, writes RICHARD BURGON

OF course, the Tories have overseen a Brexit crisis. But the general election is about so much more than sorting that mess out.

It is a chance to resolve the Tory-created housing crisis, the crisis of poverty and inequality, and the crisis in our NHS and schools.

We cannot allow a hard-right Tory government to inflict even more harm on our communities.

The cruelty of this government over the past decade needs to be spelt out time and time again over the coming weeks.

It has cut funding to our public services and their vicious austerity measures have hit the poorest hardest and have disproportionately hurt women.

In 2019, in one of the richest countries on Earth, the number of families without a home, and the number of people sleeping rough on our streets, shames our nation.

It whipped up the “hostile environment” which saw British citizens deported.

This coming Christmas, an estimated 120,000 children will be homeless. Over four million will be in poverty, and many will be reliant on the half a million emergency food parcels handed out to children alone over the past year. Our children and our wider communities deserve better.

That is why we must ensure that on Thursday December 12, the Tories are booted out of power.

It is why we must replace the Tories with a Labour government that is on the side of the many rather than on the side of the billionaire class and the rigged system that benefits them.

In this election we have the opportunity to ensure that the Tory leader, who believes he is born to rule, will be writing his Christmas cards from a country retreat that isn’t Chequers. That’s the best present we can give to communities hit hard by a decade of Tory and Lib Dem austerity.

We now have the once in a generation chance to secure real change for the many in our country.

On the one hand we have a Tory Prime Minister desperate to force through a sell-out trade deal with Donald Trump — in which, according to the US President himself, our NHS is “on the table.”

That the first week of the election campaign focused on the NHS is no coincidence. It did so because it is the clearest example of the way that, under the cover of Brexit, the Tories want to sell off key assets and restructure our economy.

For leading Tories Brexit has always been the cover for what Jeremy rightly called “Thatcherism on steroids.” Things have been bad for working people over the past decade — but the Tories dream of driving them backwards further still.

Talk of a free-trade deal with the US will be used to push us nearer to a US economy where workers get just 10 days’ holiday a year, environmental protections are much weaker and where tens of millions don’t even have insurance for the basic human right that is healthcare.

In contrast, we have a Labour Party ready to rebuild the country and set us on a different path. A party that will not accept our NHS being sold off in a sell-out deal. A party that offers people hope of a better future.

Make no mistake the next Labour government will be as transformational as that of 1945.

It will deliver hundreds of thousands of truly affordable homes.

Our version of the Green New Deal to avert climate catastrophe will also create 400,000 new jobs in areas once targeted by Thatcherism.

It will scrap university tuition fees and introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour that all workers will benefit from, including young workers.

It will scrap universal credit and put an end to the grotesque poverty and inequality in our country.

It will properly fund public services and take rail, mail and water into public hands.

And it will be Labour that ends the Tory-created Brexit crisis. We will quickly secure a deal with Europe — one that doesn’t drive down workers’ rights and environmental protections or risk our economy — and then we will let the people decide within months.

The Tory leader’s broken promises already litter his political career and his time in office. He missed his own Brexit deadline and all across the country people know that, given the opportunity, this won’t be the last promise he breaks.

The Conservatives hope that fat-cat donors will give them the edge in this election. But Labour has something even more powerful than that.

We have hundreds of thousands of members and hundreds of thousands more volunteers, trade unionists and community campaigners. With them we will take our message of hope all across this country.

That is how we will win this general election and secure real change in our country. A movement of the many delivering a government for the many.

Richard Burgon is running for re-election in Leeds East.

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