JEREMY CORBYN’S Church House speech lays bare the political chasm between his vision for the people of Britain and Theresa May’s defence of the powerful and wealthy.
For all the Tories’ chat about making big business pay its fair share of taxation and tackling offshore tax havens, none of the sharks who rip off workers on a daily basis is quaking at the prospect of being held to account by May.
Everyone knows who finances the Tory Party and its leader understands that feather-bedding the City, propertied elite and hedge-fund tax-dodgers is the way to maintain the cash flow into the party coffers.
In contrast, Labour’s traditional democratically accountable finance source in the trade union movement has been supplemented by recruitment of hundreds of thousands of new members.
The Tories and the Liberal Democrats, who helped them into power from 2010 to 2015, make much of “allowing workers to hold onto more of their earnings” by raising income tax thresholds.
Low-paid workers certainly welcome reduced income tax, but they may not appreciate the greater benefit this measure brings for taxpayers higher up the scale.
But they will certainly be aware that workers’ real earnings remain below the 2008 pre-recession peak.
The government’s capitalist austerity agenda has cut not only public-sector jobs but also public service workers’ pay, offering a dubious example to the private sector that has been eagerly emulated.
Unlamented former chancellor George Osborne took a different attitude to the rich, slashing the top rate of income tax, whittling away at corporation tax and and raising the inheritance tax threshold to enable wealth to be further concentrated in the hands of the elite minority.
Little wonder his painful withdrawal from Westminster has been cushioned not only by editorship of the London Evening Standard but by a fistful of other lucrative part-time pursuits offered by a grateful corporate community.
Equally little wonder that Corbyn says that the system is rigged and that Labour and its electorate “don’t fit in their cosy club.”
Tory Cabinet ministers — each a millionaire — are brazen in their claims that May’s government is committed to representing working people and defending them against exploitation by ruthless companies.
Reality indicates otherwise, but the Tories know that the well-heeled editors of the mass media, all beneficiaries of the government’s Robin-Hood-in-reverse policies, will not hesitate to portray lies as fact.
They will not rail against the scandal highlighted by shadow housing secretary John Healey that the Tories broke their pledge to build new council homes to replace those sold, resulting in 200,000 fewer than in 2010.
They will not expose the “smart ticketing” shambles created jointly by the Department for Transport and the Rail Delivery Group of private rail companies that has cost taxpayers over £100 million.
And they certainly will not join RMT leader Mick Cash in backing a solution based on “public ownership under one organisation to end the nonsense of fragmentation and division” on our railways.
The Morning Star will again be alone in the national media in backing Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in a contest that know-alls insist is unwinnable.
The Tories rely on corporate and media friends to give credence to their claim that support for Labour risks “a coalition of confusion.”
In reality, it would represent working-class recognition of Labour as the only means of giving substance to Corbyn’s clarion call to “overturn this rigged system.”