Invest in Equality - End the Tory Austerity Assault

This article is part of a series by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

The burden of Conservative-driven austerity politics of has been disproportionately borne by women, the disabled, LGBT+ people, and ethnic minorities. This is perhaps an obvious statement – when state services are slashed beyond recognition, it is the most vulnerable who feel it first and worst.

However, beyond the left liberal echo chamber and grassroots campaign groups that so valiantly and vociferously defend the rights of those in need, little recognition of this harsh reality has been acknowledged.


The overrepresentation of BAME people in public sector, low skilled, low paid, short term or zero hours contract jobs even before austerity made us especially susceptible to wage freezes, the rise in unemployment, and the undercutting of workers’ rights caused by a combination of the financial crisis and the ideologically driven austerity politics of the last two successive Tory governments.


Alongside this, this pursuit of ideological austerity has contributed to a huge rise in racism and xenophobia in Britain, rooted in the financial crisis, championed by the nation’s right wing press, and recently inflamed by the vile and irresponsible rhetoric of the UKIP/ Tory Brexit campaign.  


Seeking to justify harsh cuts to public services that provide a crucial safety net for millions in the UK has led politicians to deflect anger towards traditional scapegoats, most notably BAME communities and migrant workers. 
The rise of hard right and far right ideas across the Western world is a symptom, not a cause, of this rise in racist and nationalist popular fervour. 


The real culprits are the financial elite, who suck our public funds straight into their private coffers, evade tax, and lobby for the deregulation of markets.


The real culprits are the right-wing media outlets who propagate populist dog-whistle racism to sell papers. 


The real culprits are our political elite, who irresponsibly and knowingly drip hatred and lies with the intent to scapegoat BAME and migrant communities in a diversion tactic fundamentally intertwined with austerity politics.


With the Tories seemingly committed on deepening austerity economics as they pursue a hard Brexit and a tax-haven, bargain-basement Britain, we must step up our campaign to ensure that there is renewed investment in Britain’s economy for the benefit of the majority.


As part of this, Labour's spending commitments must include a real commitment to helping the most vulnerable so no one and no community is left behind. 


And we must strengthen our attack on the structural racism that pervades our society and shapes British politics. Without recognising the root causes of racism and its inseparability from elite institutions, we can never achieve our goal of dismantling its structures. 


Only then can we succeed in the creation of a Britain that provides equality of opportunity and freedom from race, religious, and ethnic discrimination.

*A longer version of this article originally appeared in print in Labour Briefing magazine. Huda is speaking alongide Cat Smith MP, writer Maya Goodfellow, Siobhan Endean of Unite and Sian Errington of  the Labour Assembly Against Austerity at the Invest in Equality: End the Tory Austerity Assault on Women event on March 7 at 7pm as SOAS. You can register online athttp://bit.ly/investinequality

 


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