In little more than four months’ time, Britain will have the chance to elect a new government. The outcome of the election will not only be critical for Britain but for people in Blackburn who have suffered under the cruel austerity policies of the Tories who are seeking to run the country over the next five years.
From where we live in Blackburn we know that something is deeply wrong in Britain. We have become a country of food banks and bank bonuses, of pay at the top still out of control but a cost of living crisis for everyone else, of tax cuts for millionaires but zero hours contracts for millions. We know that while we must deal with our country’s debts, there is more to a vision for the future than paying down the deficit. We know this election must not be about politicians, or who gets the keys to Number 10. Instead, it is about the chance to turn decisively away from a country run just for a privileged few – and turn towards something better.
As we approach the election the colours of our political opponents will vary more than usual but we will face the usual well-funded onslaught by the Tories supported by the vested interests that own the media.
However, we should focus on the fact that the choice for voters in May is still between two directions:
A bleak vision of Britain where spending on public services is dragged back to the 1930s and the recovery will only ever work for a few.
Or a brighter, Labour vision of Britain that rejects the notion that we cannot afford decent public services when money is tight or that low pay is the only way that we can compete in the world and says that our country only succeeds when working people succeed.
Over the next four months, the Labour Party in Blackburn will ensure Labour’s message reaches voters on every doorstep around the town knowing it will not be easy because people are feeling more cynical about politics than ever before.
We know that as usual we will be outspent by the Tories. We face new and dangerous opponents. But we will not be out-fought by anyone.
We will set out our vision for a better Britain conversation by conversation, street by street, door by door, and the offer we present will provide concrete answers to people’s concerns.