The Government is on a mission to take power away from the people, from restrictions on the right to protest, restrictions on democracy with Voter ID, removing huge chunks of human rights with a bill that scraps over 4,000 pieces of legislation, to the disgraceful attempts to restrict the rights of workers taking legitimate industrial action.
With every power grab, ministers show how little they care about working people, how little they care about our communities who are struggling to survive in the face of unaffordable food and energy bills and how little they care for the reasons workers are taking industrial action.
This Government only cares about attention-grabbing headlines, about moving the “Overton window” so the people of this country will accept more and more restrictions on their rights.
Their attempts to erode our human and civil rights, sweeping away thousands of pieces of legislation that protect us – including laws that protect our health and safety at work, regulate the hours that bosses can make workers put in, maternity protections, holiday entitlements and other employment rights – come with little or no democratic scrutiny.
There are threats too to women’s rights – environmental regulations on dumping sewage into our seas and rivers and protection of animal welfare issues.
This government is turning the clock back not just on workers’ rights but on the rights of the vast majority in this country. I described it as committing acts of political violence on our communities when I spoke in parliament this week.
People could now be jailed for protests that “inconvenience” others while tax-dodging Tory MPs face no consequences.
This week, teachers voted overwhelmingly to go on strike, joining NHS, rail, postal and so many other workers in dispute with the government and employers. None of them want to withdraw their labour.
The NHS staff taking action are of course on strike for pay and conditions but they are also on strike to save the NHS – with thousands of avoidable deaths every week. 500 avoidable deaths every week from A and E delays alone.
My constituents, including those at North East Ambulance Service, have my full support.
The firefighters, NHS staff, transport and education staff that this Government is targeting are the very people that saw us through the pandemic.
As my constituent Robert Best from Boldon said in an email this week: “The government should be finding ways to help striking workers, rather than remove their right to strike. Right now, refusing to negotiate with workers is the last thing our country needs.”