This is my last-ditch attempt to stop you from voting Tory. If you still want to, that’s fine, but I just want to make sure that you’re not voting against your own interests and the interests of the people you love.
If you know somebody who is mentally ill (and since you’re on my facebook feed, you know at least one), please understand that although the tory manifesto promises parity between mental and physical health care, their statements and actions while they have been in power tell a different story. One tory MP has been quoted saying that benefits should go to ‘really disabled people’ not ‘people who are sat at home taking pills, who suffer from anxiety.’ Understand that under a Tory government the NHS has been cut to the point where there is just no room for mental health provision, and if the tories remain in power, it will only be cut further. Know also that ‘mental health’ doesn’t just mean depression or anxiety (although both of those are awful) it means the PTSD suffered by soldiers returning from war, and the Dementia suffered by the elderly.
Speaking of the NHS – the Tories openly plan to privatise large swathes of it in the next few years. In the past, privatisation has lead to those huge scandals where thousands of patient records (including mine, actually) were lost, delaying treatment on everything from potential severe sight loss to terminal illnesses. Basically, the contracted companies don’t care about your wellbeing – they care about making a profit. You know how rail travel has become extortionate? Well, imagine that, but with the medication you or your loved one needs to live.
If you know somebody who is disabled and in receipt of benefits, know that in the few years that they have been in power that the Tories have made changes to the benefit system that means thousands of severely disabled people have been declared ‘fit for work’ and cut off from the benefits they need to survive. Some of them die. Others just live in indignity. The Tory manifesto states that they plan to have ‘1 Million more disabled people in employment in the next ten years’. In practice, this means that 1 million disabled people will have to undergo embarrassing, intrusive means testing to determine whether they are disabled enough not to work. By the way, the criteria for being ‘disabled enough’ includes not being able to wash your own face or brush your own teeth. Apparently if you can do that, you can do anything.
Do you have children? Know that Tory cuts to education services mean that when they attend school they will do so in a class of up to 59 other children, overseen by a teacher who is underpaid and overworked. Since the Tories plan on introducing more Free Schools, which do not require their teachers to be qualified… well, that overworked and underpaid teacher is probably not qualified to teach your child, either.
If your child chooses to go to university, they’ll be paying £9000 a year in tuition fees, and the Tory government has no plans to abolish that. They will have no access to the maintenance grants that allow most university students from lower-income families to survive. If you’re not willing to pay their way through university (including the cost of renting a house, the cost of utilities, the cost of unregulated rental agency fees) they might have to work a zero hour contract, where they might not even make enough money to live – because the Tory government has no plans to regulate the businesses that exploit them.
Maybe you don’t want to vote Labour because you’ve heard that Corbyn ‘supports terror’ (by being arrested for anti-apartheid campaigning in his 20’s). Maybe you’ve heard about the attacks in Manchester in London and have realised that this country needs to be ‘strong and stable’. Well, under Theresa May, it won’t be. As Home Secretary, and now as Prime Minister, her cuts to police and security forces made the gaps in the shield that allowed those attacks to happen. Police funding is so ridiculously low that the Met have been forced to take on detective constables at entry level, without the years of training they usually undertake.
Maybe you don’t want to support labour because, after all, they are the party responsible for the Iraq war and all that came after it. I can’t defend that policy – all I can tell you is that today, Tony Blair is telling people to vote Tory. (source)
Also, if you hated what happened in Iraq, why are you supporting a party that is doing even worse things in Syria? The Tories plan on putting the £178 million they’re not spending on the NHS, education, or welfare for British People on bombing hospitals and cultivating our ‘special relationship’ with the US. Just like Blair did.
If you still want to vote Tory, I’m sure you have your reasons for doing so. But to be frank, if you are disabled, aging, working-class, seeking work, a pacifist, or concerned by terrorism, you are giving yourself a bad deal.
You don’t have to vote for Labour – literally every other party (except for UKIP, but… well…) opposes the harmful policies the Tories espouse.
Before you vote tomorrow, inform yourself of what you’re really voting for. If you’re really stuck, try this handy tool: