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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 May 2015

Working class people's real aspirations

The Socialist Party believes Labour lost the election fundamentally because it fails to represent working class people. This was why we are part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, putting forward a socialist alternative. But Labour MP Tristram Hunt claimed it was because they didn't represent 'John Lewis voters'. A queue of party leadership contenders followed, repeating that Labour didn't appeal to the "aspirational".

Ambulance worker and Hillingdon Socialist Party member Steve Harbord challenges this claim.

I watched a recent piece on BBC news where a couple were asked the question why did Labour lose? He said Labour needs to "go back to its roots and stand up for working class people again". His partner cut across him and, towing the media line, stated "they will never get back in as they don't meet the aspirations of ordinary working people.''

Aspirations... it's the latest buzz word from the media bandied about by the Murdoch press, the BBC and the right wing of the Labour Party. The word 'aspiration' has become meaningless when used by the media. Do they seriously suggest that working class people want to be billionaires with a private plane, a yacht in Cannes and a football club to play with?

I would suggest that the vast majority of working class people aspire to a job with decent hours and pay. Enough pay to put a roof over your head, so we don't have to subsidise low paying employers and spiv landlords with taxpayer's money. We aspire to a housing programme to build enough decent housing with affordable rent so that young families can have a decent start in life.

We aspire to a NHS that meets the needs of people where you're not waiting for three hours on an ambulance stretcher waiting for a bed to become available in A&E.

We aspire to a decent welfare state where people can look forward to retirement safe in the knowledge that when they become ill or infirm and unable to be mobile, they will be allowed more than a 15 minute visit by a stressed out low paid care worker (only long enough to make a cup of tea). That's because the less time you spend on scene with a "customer" the more profit the shareholders make.

We aspire to an education service where our children are taught in decent buildings in class rooms of no more than 20 by staff who have the resources and the time to meet the children's needs.

We aspire to an education service that means you don't leave university in debt and find, because of the cost of housing and renting, that the debt is only going to get bigger.

Yes, working class people have aspirations but they are real, unlike the perverse fantasy world peddled by a media owned and subservient to a bunch of billionaire tax dodging spivs.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 27 May 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop Tory welfare butchery

'Council of war' needed for fight against cuts

Are falling prices good for us?

NHS trusts heading for bankruptcy

'Spiderman' and political lobbying

Plymouth: Labour and Tories form grand cuts coalition

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

A new chapter in Chile's political crisis

Greece: subordination to or rupture with austerity?

Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for our future!

Stop the privatisation of student loans!

Socialist Party workplace news

Organise to strike back

PCS conference: coordinated action can stop the Tories

Determined Dundee porters ratchet up pressure

Political fund threat changes Glasgow council's tune

National Rail strike threat results in new offer

Bromley council battle continues

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Toon and TUSC slam 'cash cow' boss

Thirty newcomers boost London post-election meeting

Peterborough occupiers protest at homelessness

Socialist history

VE Day: When 'liberation' meant socialism

Readers' comments

Tories have nothing in common with blue collar workers

Working class people's real aspirations


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