There is a saying that those who ignore History are condemned to repeat it. I m not sure of that, but we must neither ignore nor forget History. Many of the things we take for granted today were hard fought for and opposed by the forces of reaction. The Conservative Party is so named because they aspire to conserve things, or so they say. But they are actually ideologically fixated on destroying most of the progress of the last Century. Put at it’s most basic, Conservatives believe in the freedom of the individual to pursue Wealth and Happiness unhindered by consideration for how their actions may affect others. Socialism is basically the understanding that we are stronger together than pitted against each other, that collective freedoms are more important than individual ones, that by helping those less fortunate than ourselves we are all enriched.
And here History is important. Votes for Women and votes for 18year olds were opposed by the Tories. The Old Age Pension was opposed by the Tories. The creation of the NHS was opposed by the Tories. The Welfare State was opposed by the Tories. The legalisation of homosexuality was opposed by many Tories. Same Sex Marriage is still unpopular among many grass-root Tories. And now the EU is opposed by most Tories. The policy of Austerity introduced by Cameron and Osborne has hurt poor people while the rich have almost doubled their wealth since the financial crash of 2008.
And History is really important in the realm of War. Harold Wilson refused Kennedy’s request for British Troops to help them in Vietnam. To our eternal shame Tony Blair colluded with Bush to get us involved in Iraq, although he needed the votes of the Tories to get it through Parliament. It was Ed Milliband who opposed Cameron’s attempt to attack Assad in Syria, which caused Obama to think again and stopped America too.
Of course, Labour has not always been on the right side of History, but more often than not they have been. Yes, we opposed the sale of Council Houses – and just look how successful that has been with poorer people now having to wait years for council accommodation and being subjected to the tender mercies of the private rented sector. Yes, Labour opposed the Privatisation of the Utilities and Railways – and just look at what a success they have been with huge price increases and bumper dividends for investors.
The Tories have far more money, and a mostly right-wing Media which will do almost anything to stop an even watered-down version of Socialism ever winning an election again. Just ask yourself, which side of History do you want to be on?