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By Ben Guerin
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My Labour Manifesto: Our 'Peace and Prosperity' manifesto should offer radical solutions


3 min read

Only an investment-led recovery can deliver the prosperity we need to fund the NHS and all our public services

We have entered one of the gravest peacetime crises in the modern era. Any manifesto that does not begin with that premise and offer radical solutions to them is doomed to fail.

We have seen in practice how the Tories deal with multiple crises. Since 2010 it is safe to say that each of the major problems Tory prime ministers said they were going to address has only been made worse. Of course, that includes the Brexit debacle.

Any manifesto must also be informed by values, of fairness, freedom and democracy. This means tackling inequalities and redistributing power – what used to be called social democracy.

The first priority must be to tackle the cost of living crisis. But this is so grave, as the Bank of England forecasters have described, that it cannot be solved by tinkering at the edges. The failed nostrums of the last 40 years, which have already led to one financial crash in 2008, are unable to reverse the current situation. Business tax cuts do not lead to greater business investment.

The claim that there is no money left is clearly false. Households and increasingly many businesses are struggling with surging energy prices. Yet the TUC’s analysis that major energy companies will receive £750bn in excess profits over the next couple of years is unchallenged. 

Gross Domestic Product is still unchanged. It is simply that the fruits of that production are being claimed solely by big companies. Real household incomes are falling at an unprecedented rate.

The first priority must be to tackle the cost of living crisis

The required economic policy is therefore a combination of redistribution, from big businesses and the rich to workers and the poor, plus significant investment to achieve sustainable growth. The first priority here is green investment in renewables and insulation. These will help lower energy bills, paid for by windfall taxes.

Only an investment-led recovery can deliver the prosperity we need to fund the NHS and all our public services, ending the scourge of privatisation and outsourcing that wastes so much public money.

Prosperity is also the basis for unifying the population, in contrast to years of austerity and division. We need a return to community policing, which is much more effective at fighting crime.

Above all, we should aim for peace, beginning with our nearest neighbours, Ireland and France. No more threats and grandstanding on refugees, the Protocol and the Human Rights Act. “Peace and Prosperity” would be my title, instead of war at home and abroad, as we have had. 

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney South.

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