Finally – and mercifully – the Tory leadership contest is drawing to a close. For almost 8 weeks, we’ve had to watch as potential successors of Boris Johnson have torn shreds out of each other while the business of Government has ground to an almost total halt. All while the cost-of-living crisis gets worse, and families are plunged further into uncertainty and poverty.
On the 5th of September, a new leader will be unveiled. Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have promised change. It’s an odd promise when you consider who is making it. One is the former Chancellor of the Exchequer – who served in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as his right-hand man for more than two years – and the other is the current Foreign Secretary, who has served in various Cabinet posts for the entirety of Boris Johnson’s premiership.
Call me cynical, but I just don’t see how those who put the country into this mess, can realistically be the ones to get us out of it. I’ve watched – for my sins – the majority of the leadership debates and been struck by how little either candidate seems to grasp the seriousness of the real issues affecting ordinary working people.
When I chat to constituents in Tameside or open my emails in the morning, I am inundated by harrowing stories of people who are struggling to put food on the table; of people who simply do not know where to turn; of people who are working flat out but finding that their wages aren’t coming close to covering even basic necessities. This, in the sixth-largest economy in the world, is unacceptable.
We need bold and decisive action to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people we represent. Labour has pledged to freeze household energy bills to protect consumers from rising prices, to give working people a Genuine Living Wage that would cover the cost of living, and to improve our energy resilience so we don’t have to go through anything like this ever again. I know that these measures would make a huge difference to people’s lives here in Tameside, and they are just the tip of the iceberg of what Labour would do in power.
Swapping the Tory in Number 10 won’t bring about the change Tameside needs to see. We’ve had 12 years of Tory Government, and it shows. It’s time for a fresh start.