by Siôn Simon
Fifteen years ago the country went to the polls, cast their vote for Labour and sent a message to the incumbent Tory government. People said: we won’t be treated like this; we won’t be lied to, conned, taken for granted; asked to work harder for less, while the rich get richer; we don’t want hand outs, but sometimes we need a hand up. And Labour voters delivered that message and sent the Tories packing.
But they came back.
It didn’t take long for David Cameron’s mask to slip, or for them to reverse the work of the last Labour government. Snatching tax credits away from millions of working families, scrapping the education maintenance allowance, increasing tuition fees and, with Osborne at the wheel, driving the country back in to recession.
Tomorrow we have another opportunity to send a clear message to the Tories and their Liberal Democrat houseboys that we won’t stand for their lies, cozy kitchen suppers, daily updates with media barons and shambolic handling of the economy. In polling booths up and down the country people have the chance to tell David Cameron and George Osborne exactly what they think of them.
The local elections aren’t just about individual communities, they are a report card on this government. Whether it be in Birmingham, where the Tory and Lib Dem controlled council has done nothing to support, speak up or stand up for our city against their central Government cronies cuts. Or in London where Boris Johnson has done nothing to help the woman on the street but managed to find time to campaign for tax cuts for his wealthy mates. We need to send the message.
Because if we don’t kick them out of power in Birmingham, if we don’t send Boris packing in London, then Cameron and Osborne will think they can get away with it. That they can keep looking after the few and make life harder for the many.
The message to wavering Londoners is clear: it doesn’t matter whether you like Ken. You need Ken. Because you can’t afford Boris. He is an out-of-touch playboy who has taken Londoners for a ride, and charged you 50% more for your bus trip on the way.
Ken has an unparalleled track record of putting ordinary Londoners first. Now, of all times, that is what London needs.
In Birmingham, eight years of Tory-Lib Dem misrule – during which they never won the popular vote – has devastated our city. They have attacked our must vulnerable people with disabilities. Twice their cuts have been found to be illegal. The fight back for ordinary Brummies needs to start tomorrow.
We must show them that we won’t stand for it – we won’t be made mugs of by these privileged chancers. We need to stand up and tell them no. Enough is enough. We want our great cities back.
There’s only one way to send this message: vote Labour on Thursday, vote Ken and vote Yes in Birmingham’s Mayoral referendum.
Siôn Simon is running to be the first directly elected Mayor of Birmingham