Article from PCS people, the in house newspaper of The Public & Commercial Services Union
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke to PCS people about what keeps him going.
Mr Corbyn is clear about what the public sector pay freeze (which interestingly enough never seems to apply to MPs although they too are public sector workers) has meant for workers and why it must be lifted;
“The public sector pay freeze has meant, in effect that civil servants’ pay has gone down, whist many talented people have been lost to the private sector.”
“Austerity Britain has led to greater inequality, a lower share of wages …”
PCS policy is to support proportional representation (PR) to ensure that every vote counts. Mr Corbyn has said he is open to proposals around reforms, but has not given specific support for PR.
“We are establishing a constitutional convention (led by Jon Trickett MP) that is going to look at a number of things. One is the lack of democracy in Westminster, where we have an appointed upper chamber. I want to see an elected and accountable upper chamber. I also want to see real devolution to local government . The convention will also look at voting systems and at how we may or may not bring about changes. I want to see a voting system that reflects peoples views”
With a media generally hostile to Mr Corbyns’ leadership, it is impossible not to wonder what keeps him so determined.
Never losing the capacity to be angry about injustice and to have real empathy for people is key, he says.
” A good society doesn’t allow people to sleep on the streets, doesn’t allow people to live in such abject poverty, doesn’t allow a million people to rely on foodbanks. A good society ensures that wealth and opportunity are shared. That’s what keeps me going”
Condemning the Tory austerity agenda of cuts, closures and low wages, he stressed this was “A political choice being made by this government, not a necessity”
On tax, he pointed to the contradiction inherent in cutting jobs at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) when billions were being lost in uncollected tax revenue.
“This government doesn’t seem to understand that job cuts mean tax not collected” and called for “a properly staffed HMRC”
Mr Corbyn also put the lie to the Tories’ much trumpeted “Northern Powerhouse”, which meant very little when at the same time the North was systematically underfunded.
He pledged his commitment to national investment in infrastructure, new rail links, renewable energy and house building to bring the levels of homelessness to zero.
“It can be done but not if you leave it all to the free market. We can, must and will do better”