Like many of you who are Labour members or supporters, I am dismayed that as a nation ravaged by Tory austerity, we face the prospect of getting either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt as the next unelected Tory Prime Minister.
Both have said they will deliver a no deal Brexit if it comes to it. This is playing to the Tory gallery to gain votes and favours. It is reckless politics. Such a no deal Brexit will pose a serious threat to our national and local economy.
Indeed, we are still hearing from both of them about how they can deliver a no deal Brexit and yet still offer up the fantasy Brexit of 2016 where miraculously the EU, WTO, and other nations, will bend international and their own rules to suit us in trade matters. That is not going to happen. It’s been debunked time and again by those who are expert in trade and international law matters.
Jeremy Hunt has gone as far to say, and after visiting Kidderminster, that he is prepared to sacrifice jobs like those at Titan Steel Wheels in Wyre Forest. He said this after he was their guest on a factory tour. Just imagine how those workers must have felt? This is clearly to achieve his ambition to become PM on the altar of a No Deal. That’s local jobs, local workers, local families, in a constituency already reeling from Tory austerity. It is simply an unacceptable form of politics.
Austerity and a no deal Brexit go against everything we stand for as a Party. We seek to end austerity and the real poverty it brings. We also seek to end the poverty of ideas that gave rise to Brexit. We understand that Brexit was a reaction to the Westminster bubble that has ignored constituencies like ours for too long. Mark Garnier is part of that elite Westminster bubble. His time is well and truly up.
When we fought the general election in 2017 on our brilliant Manifesto, gaining so much support even here in Wyre Forest, we did so with optimism. We offered our nation hope. Indeed, even in the recent council elections, fought on the best manifesto of all the local parties, we did so with optimism. Yes, we lost, and it may sound counter intuitive, but I believe we have sown the seeds for our ultimate victory.
Why do I believe that?
Well, it is that spirit of optimism we need to hold on to. It is a spirit that people can tune in to because we know people want something better for our country. And Labour offers that.
Our message of hope, an end to austerity, and a close relationship with Europe is the only credible alternative to Tory disaster capitalism. People are fed up with privileges for the elite, tax dodging, and rising inequality. We are all entitled to a fair share of this great nation’s wealth and opportunity.
That’s why the Tories fear us and a Corbyn lead Labour. They don’t smear or lie about us because they think we are weak. Quite the opposite. We are strong.
I know that the country and our constituency is split on the outcome of the 2016 referendum. However, to form a Government, any credible Brexit plan needs to appeal to both Leavers and Remainers. We need an end to the ‘winner takes all’ approach being offered by the Tories. This is the same binary mentality that has paralysed the Tory Government for the past 3 years leading to nothing being done on any issue, let alone Brexit.
This need to bring people back together is vitally true here in Wyre Forest, so Labour’s policy has been spot on to date in my view. The road may get bumpier still, but when the Tories elect Johnson or Hunt, an implosion of the Tory Party is inevitable, and we must be ready for the General Election that follows. We must hold our nerve.
Our nation needs and deserves well paid jobs, first class public services, a properly funded NHS, an industrial and economic strategy, housing and infrastructure projects, and yes, even a Brexit deal involving a customs union to protect jobs.
Only Labour can offer that for the many not the few.
It is my hope that we can get moving on selecting our Parliamentary candidate without delay. We need a candidate to focus our campaigning, to challenge Mark Garnier over a period longer than a general election, and to give us the best chance of turning Wyre Forest Labour at the next general election.
I hope you can join me and the Party on our journey to get a Labour MP elected in Wyre Forest. I am up for that challenge. Who’s with me?
Wyre Forest Labour