Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus statement on the General Election

Disabled people expect more from Labour

Introduction

The decision of Theresa May to call a snap General Election for the 8th June 2017 has caught everyone by surprise. Members of our Caucus are fully aware of the significance of this General Election for ordinary people but in particular sick and disabled people. In the communities we belong to and on social media we are already witnessing disabled people influenced by the negative propaganda of the capitalist mass media are expressing concern about their future. Many are openly saying they could not survive 5 more years of brutal austerity at the hands of a rabid ideologically driven Tory government. We, like the majority of them, recognise that a Corbyn led Labour victory is essential.

Overcoming distrust

 As already suggested many forces are out to stop Labour forming the next government. The internal battle within Labour has weakened it, but it is important to understand that other factors come into play as well. The last Labour government under Tony Blair is regarded with utter contempt by the majority of disabled people and, in truth, until the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader; Labour had done little to rebuild bridges with disabled communities. Disabled people still correctly regard many Labour councils colluding with the Tories’ austerity agenda.

Despite people’s resentments and reservations what they must ask themselves is: which party is more like to defend the NHS, seek ways to address the crisis within social care and open a dialogue with disabled people and their organisations? Only one party is willing and in a position to do that at this current moment in time at that is Labour.

What unites us?

The EU referendum divided us but the vast majority of disabled people supported the Remain campaign because they understood the dangers behind Brexit not only in economic terms but in social ones as well. Brexit was viewed as a backdrop for dismantling civil and human rights; but Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will not follow that path. As disabled people we are looking towards the Labour Party to reverse our fortunes and to engage with us in challenging not just discriminatory practice experienced by individuals but the institutional social restrictions that exist in the labour market, transport, housing, education, etc.

Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus clearly calls for a Labour victory, but we also give notice that we expect more from Labour. We stand with our sisters and brothers to demand: Nothing About Us, Without Us! Labour must up its game on disability issues or face the consequences. We need to fight for a just society where all people are valued and to take a stand against those who only favour the elite at the expense of the many. A victory for Theresa May would increase poverty and despair; it would build upon the hatefulness we have experienced over the last seven years – we must unite all communities to bring this to an end.

Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus – April, 2017

 

 



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