Someone had better call a doctor, because it’s clear the Labour Party are suffering from a bad case of collective amnesia.
In 2010, when Labour were in government, they were planning devastating austerity cuts that the then chancellor Alistair Darling was very clear would be even “tougher and deeper” than Margaret Thatcher in the 80s. Labour might have forgotten that – the rest of us haven’t.
Happy to stand alongside the Tories, Labour were the architects of austerity – planning billions of pounds of cuts to our public services, to financial support for families and to Scotland’s budget.
Labour not only gave the Tories the cover for a decade of cuts but they were planning a deep assault on our public services themselves. Since then, year after year, Labour have continued to back Tory austerity to the hilt.
When I was first elected in 2015, one of the first votes we faced as MPs was on Tory welfare cuts, which have driven families into poverty, debt and crisis. SNP MPs vigorously opposed these cuts, while Labour MPs abstained – giving the Tories the green light to plough ahead regardless. Labour might have forgotten – the rest of us haven’t.
Even at the general election last year, Labour were still committed to retaining £7billion of Tory welfare cuts, hitting low-paid families. Despite this long, well-publicised history of backing Tory cuts, and all the damage they have done to our economy, wages, and public services, Labour are still trying it on.
In a whistle-stop tour of Scotland last week, Jeremy Corbyn yet again broke his commitment to “straight talking, honest politics” by talking absolute mince. In a cynical, and disingenuous, ploy to win votes, he tried to pin the blame for Labour-backed UK Government austerity cuts on the SNP.
In reality, the SNP have been the only major party who have consistently opposed austerity, and Labour know it.
Poor show @johnmcdonnellMP You know this is a lie.
We spend over £100 million every year mitigating austerity that would not exist had Labour lifted their backsides into the correct lobby in the first place!
Even now, your manifesto keeps £7bn of planned Tory cuts. https://t.co/Y7rMCrMmea
— Mhairi Black MP (@MhairiBlack) November 24, 2017
Instead of self-defeating cuts, we proposed investment to grow the economy, and have spent millions in government every year mitigating the most damaging Tory policies, including the bedroom tax.
Despite all the Westminster cuts to Scotland’s budget, the SNP Government have driven forward ambitious and progressive policies that have protected our public services, and made Scotland a fairer and more equal place to live.
We’ve already delivered free university education, while young people in Tory-run England and Labour-run Wales start their working lives burdened with debts up to £60,000.
We’ve delivered record funding for health, lifted the public sector pay cap and have the best performing NHS in the UK. We’ve built thousands of affordable and social homes, while the last Labour government built just six council houses in their entire time in office.
We’ve protected police numbers while they’ve been slashed across the UK. We’ve led the way on the environment, renewable energy, women’s rights, LGBTI equality and so many other important areas.
Instead of making dishonest claims in an attempt to trash the SNP’s record, Labour should have the decency to face up to their failings, apologise for all the damage they’ve done and start contributing constructively. Perhaps then people would start to take them more seriously.
Labour might have forgotten their support and acceptance of Tory austerity – the rest of us most definitely have not.