Yesterday, I wrote the election campaign would be very different.
Monday’s attack made this necessary.
We would face a different kind of campaign. A campaign where unity and focusing on the issues are prioritised over the politics of division and personality.
With local campaigns re-launching today – and national campaigns resuming tomorrow – I think it’s useful to look at what this election is about, not just how it should be conducted.
For many, this election has been about Brexit. That is, after all, why Theresa May called it, to “strengthen her hand.”
Others thought it was about our NHS, and ensuring we have a government who invests.
And there are those who view this election as a momentous opportunity for change.
But there is one thing that binds all these concerns together: Security.
After Monday’s attack, “security” will – rightly – take centre-stage in public appearances, campaign leaflets and media reporting.
To not focus on security at this time would be a betrayal of the victims who lost their lives in Manchester; and the families and friends of those affected.
But there is more than one kind of security.
Yes, the security of our streets, of our country, is always a priority. And that’s why Labour promised, in its manifesto, to deliver 10,000 extra police officers on our streets, un-doing at least some of the damage done by Theresa May as Home Secretary, who cut 20,000 police in 6 years, slashing police spending by 4% each year (25% of the entire budget).
Additionally, however, there is security in our every day lives: security in our jobs, security in our pensions and reitrement, security in our education, housing and healthcare.
Millions of people across the country suffer from chronic insecurity.
To pretend this election is not about them or – frankly – all of us, is a slap in the face to the gravity of this election.
We need to ensure all our kids – our families – and our elderly – are capable of fulfiling their potential and living their lives without the fear of not affording their education, their social care; of losing their job, finding a secure place to live or having enough savings to live comfortably.
In modern Britain, no one should be struggling.
That’s why this election is about so much more than one, single issue.
When Labour announced free school meals for all primary school pupils, the Conservative Party decided it, too, would issue a policy on this: and pledged to scrap the few school meals that already exist.
Theresa May then calculated that a free school breakfast would cost each child 7p. And now, because of Conservative miscalculations, they have forced themselves into another manifesto u-turn (the second in five days).
When Labour announced its fully-costed plans to build one million new homes – half of which would be affordable, social housing – Labour addressed our everyday insecurities.
When Labour pledged £10 billion investment in cyber security, Labour addressed the weakness in our current security systems, presided-over by Theresa May and her Conservative Party.
When Labour promised to provide free university tuition for all – and a national education service for all, no matter your age – Labour spoke to the milions of people who want to develop themselves and their careers, helping grow our economy and secure our futures.
When Labour pledged £8 billion for a National Care Service, Jeremy Corbyn spoke to the millions of pensioners in desperate need of care and compassion, who depend on free care and not being forced to sell their own home (as they would under Theresa May’s “Dementia Tax” plan).
When Labour outlined £6 billion extra, each year, for our NHS, Jeremy Corbyn addressed the chronic and serialised de-funding of our health system, providing doctors and nurses – who have suffered huge Conservative cuts – with the economic security they deserve, ensuring we – the British public – benefit from improved healthcare, shorter waiting times and better survival rates.
The result of this election will weigh on us for the next few decades. Not just because we require a good deal on Brexit – which protects jobs and puts our economy first – but because of these other areas on which this election is being fought.
So, over the next two weeks, when you speak to people, campaign and engage; and on June 8th, when you finally cast your vote; remember one thing: security is not a single issue. It is a multitude of issues, on which Theresa May and the Conservative Party have failed, and which she is seeking to exploit for political gain.
I will be voting for my local Labour candidate; to ensure security in my job, in my rent and education; so that everyone – across the counry – has the chance to succeed, to live healthy, productive and fulfiling lives; where no child goes hungry, no pensioner goes cold, and no one, ever, is left-behind.
Vote Labour. Secure Your Future.