I thought I would lend this column to a look ahead to 2015 and the choice that we will have to make as a country only four months from now. The Tories and Lib Dems claim they have fixed the economy but things are tough for hardworking families. When we see growth returning but it not feeding through to working people’s living standards, it is clear that the scale of the challenges we face requires a change of direction for Britain.
More than any other election in recent times the choice that is made in May 2015 matters. After four years of Tory failure, the coming election is a choice between another five years of David Cameron failing to deliver for working people and standing up for a privileged few, or a positive vision for the future where we build a Britain which works for working people once again.
We have a choice between a Labour Government that restores the right values to our National Health Service, or a Tory Government that sees the NHS decline as waiting lists rise and the crown jewels are flogged off.
We have a choice between a Labour Government that understands our success is built on the talents of all people, right across the country, or a Tory Government that believes the only people who create wealth are those at the top.
And we have a choice between a Labour Government that will fundamentally change an economy that doesn’t work for most people or a Tory Government that thinks everything is fine, with the Bank of England already planning for the next financial crisis.
The choice facing Stockport and the United Kingdom in May is probably the most important one for a generation. It is clear that each party has a critically different vision for our country, and these crossroads find themselves at the very point at which this country needs a change of direction before it is too late.
After financial crises, countries have crucial decisions to make about the future makeup of their economies. At the last election, the country did not indicate a preference either way, but it did say it did not want a Labour Government. At this election, Labour has a new leader, a new team, and a new radical platform to put to the people. It is of critical importance that we change our direction.
We can’t afford five more years of the Tories, which would be five years of decline and the wrong choices. They have failed to stand up to every special interest group ruining this country. The energy firms. The Murdoch media. Dodgy landlords. The top 1%.
Labour has set out – and will go into more detail in the next few months – workable, comprehensive and effective measures to change things.
We will cut income tax for hardworking people with a lower 10p starting rate, and introduce a 50p top rate of tax as we pay off the deficit in a fair way. We will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and reform the broken energy market. We will guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours and the same day for those who need it. We will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, and stop families that rent being ripped off with new long term tenancies. We will back the next generation with a job guarantee for the young unemployed and more apprenticeships.
Remember that a vote for a Lib Dem is a vote for Nick Clegg and David Cameron’s privatisation agenda. And please carefully consider the choice facing you in May.