In just over two weeks, the country faces a historic choice. That’s the case at any general election, but this time the stakes have been heightened by the aftermath of the Brexit vote and all that might mean for our schools, hospitals and other public services.
The choice is a clear one. A Conservative government determined to persevere with slashing services and ignoring the nation’s problems. Or a Labour one that would rebuild the country after nearly a decade of punishing spending cuts.
To those doubters who would argue otherwise, I have a simple message: electing a Labour government is not only possible, it’s vital for our public services. We must not fall victim to the tyranny of limited aspirations for the Labour party or communities across the country.
So while there may be some who will define success on the basis of their own personal or factional advancement, I’ll define success in this election the same way I have every election I’ve campaigned in – whether or not a Labour government is elected at the end.
That’s because every Labour government in my lifetime, no matter my disagreements with individual leaders or policies, has improved the lives of the majority of the British people and delivered better public services than the ones they inherited. Every Labour government has secured greater rights at work and made our country a fairer place.
The same can’t be said for successive Conservative governments – quite the opposite. The Tory party has consistently been a force for the regressive and the retrograde. Right now, its policies are slowly starving the NHS and local councils of the funding they so desperately need, decisions that will harm generations of people, including your families. Now they’re turning on the weak and the frail. Social care needs proper funding, but the answer is not a tax on dementia.
No matter the rhetoric or the kind of campaign being run by the Conservatives, never let anyone convince you that Theresa May or any other lifelong shill for the British establishment has your best interests at heart.
The Conservative party manifesto certainly contains nothing to match Labour’s transformative plans. There is nothing to match the real living wage, abolishing employment tribunal fees or a national education service in its plans. All that Theresa May’s Conservatives have to offer is managed decline, while Labour offers genuine and meaningful change for the better.
That’s why this election matters so much. This is an opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to win the argument about the kind of country we want to be at this pivotal moment and put the people’s party back where it belongs – in government.
It’s absolutely imperative we see a Labour victory on 8 June. Nurses, teaching assistants, social care workers and everyone who relies upon our public services deserve nothing less.
So all of us within the Labour movement must work with all our energy and strain every sinew in pursuit of that goal over the coming weeks. The stakes are far too high and the realities of failure are too grave for anything less than that.
This piece was originally published by The Observer.