By Paul Farmer, Labour parliamentary candidate for Camborne and Redruth |
Candidate Voices: We want to give the opportunity for all candidates to voice their reason for running in this general election, in order to let voters find out how they plan to improve their constituency. The views are not those of The Falmouth Anchor, but of the candidates.
My name is Paul Farmer and I am the Labour candidate for Camborne & Redruth Constituency. I have been a lecturer in Film at Falmouth University since 2014. I worked professionally for thirty years in the arts and media in Cornwall, first in theatre, then developing into film and literature and the visual arts. In 2000 I was made a Bard of Gorsedh Kernow ‘for services to Cornish Arts’. My bardic name is Skrifer an Tyller, ‘Writer of the Place’.
Our Labour Manifesto, It’s Time for Real Change, is the most significant political manifesto ever published in the UK. I joined the Labour Party in 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn became leader because I believe we need that transformative, visionary change – not the usual business of politics, with bickering, interchangeable party leaders, and the party in power using the public’s own money, carefully stored away for just this purpose, to bribe them into memory loss just long enough to vote for the same crowd again. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats wish this was that kind of campaign. They want you to vote simply on the issue of Brexit: blue for leave, yellow remain.
But you can’t. This cannot be politics as normal. Both are cynically trying to exploit, and therefore deepen, the appalling chasm in UK society caused by Conservative ineptitude and power struggles over Brexit, a chasm that keeps us from coming together to confront the real issues – climate change and the awful injustices and inequalities perpetrated in the name of Austerity.
In a simple practical sense, the fact is that anyone in Camborne & Redruth Constituency wanting any kind of change needs to vote Labour in this election. This is a two-way marginal. George Eustice, the Conservative incumbent, beat labour by only 1577 votes in 2017, with the LibDems some eighteen thousand votes behind us. The Greens gained just under 1000 votes.
Politics as usual will lead to a dead planet. We need to change our lives too thoroughly, too profoundly, too permanently, to leave it to the Conservatives, who are making no convincing attempt to engage with climate change. And it will leave untouched the effects of Austerity that exploited lies about the origins and nature of the financial crisis of 2007-08 to attempt to roll back the Welfare State, the structures of health care and social security that underpinned the development of post-war Britain.
The Conservatives and their erstwhile LibDem allies have demolished public services. They slow starved the NHS, so every year more cuts must be made in terms of investment and filling staff vacancies. Now there are one hundred thousand staff missing, including forty-three thousand nurses. Their Health and Social Care Act of 2012 reorganised the NHS specifically so parts of it could be privatised for profit.
The benefit system has been turned into an opportunity to torture the poorest people in society, with a five week wait built into Universal Credit and Work Capacity Assessments conducted to exclude people on principle from support to which they are entitled. In work, zero hours contracts reduce pay and job security increasingly leaving working people dependent on food banks, the largest of which in the country is that for Camborne, Pool and Redruth.
Because this Constituency is the kind of place worst hit by Austerity. Of any three children at our school gates, one of them is going home to hunger. Institutions created to deal with the vulnerable have been laid waste by huge Government cuts to the funding of local authorities, effectively putting an end to much of social services, the youth service, public resources, social care and mental health facilities. The cost of housing outstrips our people’s ability to pay, with housing benefit redesigned to be insufficient. The hidden homeless multiply among the young, and on the streets rough sleepers have more than doubled in number. And more and more of them are dying there.
130,000 people have died through the effects of Austerity. And what happens to the savings in public spending, the spoils of Austerity? Who benefits?
The money has been given in tax cuts to the richest and lower corporation tax for the Conservatives’ friends in the city. They have used Austerity to seize money from the poor and redistribute it to the rich.
So huge change is needed. This great restoration, the rebalancing needed to set the UK off on a new path of justice, equality and fairness, is also the opportunity to incorporate the scale of change demanded by the climate crisis. A Labour Government will rebase our economy in green manufacturing..
This will be a relaunching of everything our country is, with huge investment in improving our homes to make them energy neutral; regionally based investment in technology and training; huge expansion in green energy through onshore and offshore wind and tidal power, delivered through a distribution system in public hands. There will be massive investment in public transport, restoring buses to local authorities; bringing electrification and development to rail systems. Labour will properly fund the NHS, undo the cuts to services, restore schools and create a National Education Service for cradle-to-grave free education on demand. In Higher Education there will be an end to tuition fees and the reintroduction of the maintenance grant. And so much more.
Labour will transform UK life and make it green and fair.