“Labour is failing to put forward a clear, popular and progressive policy on each of the five key General Election issues identified in recent public opinion polls”, Communist Party chair Liz Payne told the party’s political committee on the 21st January.
“While the public agree that protecting and improving the NHS is a top priority, the Labour Party leadership will not pledge to halt and reverse the damage done by the Private Finance Initiative, private treatment centres and other privatisation measures, nor will they attack the rampant ‘Big Pharma’ profiteering by taking the pharmaceutical industry into public ownership”, she accused.
On pensions and benefits, Ms Payne urged Labour to oppose the demonisation of the poor, unemployed and disabled and focus instead on Britain’s huge inequalities in income and wealth.
“In the world’s sixth wealthiest economy, we can easily afford decent incomes for all by taxing the rich and big business, closing Britain’s overseas tax havens and scrapping nuclear weapons”, the newly elected CP chair declared.
On immigration, which some polls claim is in the top two of public concerns, she said the root cause of most dissatisfaction should be addressed.
“Too many workers are in low-paid and precarious employment if they can find a job at all – yet pro-big business spokesperson Chuka Umunna and the Shadow Cabinet refuse to commit a future Labour government to a living wage, compulsory equal pay audits in the private sector or the total abolition of zero-hour contracts”, Ms Payne pointed out.
Britain’s communists fundamentally oppose the imposition of a ‘flexible labour market’ in line with the basic treaties of the European Union.
“The ability of big companies and gangmasters to shunt low-paid, super-exploited labour around Europe makes many workers fear for their own jobs and living standards”, she insisted.
“But instead of demonising migrant workers, governments should ensure decent wages and working conditions for all.”
In particular, the Communist Party calls for a Trade Union Freedom Act to abolish Britain’s highly restrictive anti-union laws, thereby allowing unions to fight for better terms and conditions without fear of legal diktat and sequestration.
The CP political committee argued that Tory plans for a new round of anti-strike measures in the public sector further strengthened the case for a Labour victory on May 7, despite Labour’s ‘vote-losing’ failures.
The Communist Party will field its own candidates in at last eight seats across Britain, including Mollie Stevenson (Newcastle upon Tyne East), Robert Griffiths (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Zoe Hennessy (Glasgow North West), Ben Stevenson (Croydon North), Andy Chaffer (Birmingham Hodge Hill), Laura-Jane Rossington (Plymouth Sutton & Devonport), Steve Andrew and Gerry Sables (North Devon).
On the other two top five issues where Labour is accused of timidity, the communists will be campaigning for public ownership of energy and banking and Britain’s withdrawal from the “imperialist, militarist and anti-democratic EU”.