General Election 2017: The importance of tactical voting to end the Tory Government
Our campaign has consistently made the same demands of all political parties at local, regional, mayoral, national and EU elections:
- ring-fenced funding for specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse services, predicated on an intersectional understanding of the gendered reality of male violence recognising the specific vulnerabilities of women with insecure immigration status, women living in poverty, women from BME communities, and women who are disabled;
- mandatory specialist training for teachers, social workers, lawyers, police, juries, and judges on domestic and sexual violence and abuse from external organisations;
- support the current lawson anonymity for victims in cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence;
- examine the possibility of moving cases involving domestic and sexual violence and abuse from an adversarial system to an inquisitorial process.
- commit to a stronger child maintenance program to prevent childrenfrom living in poverty due to the refusal of the non-custodial parent (usually fathers) to pay maintenance and support laws that would recognise this as the financial abuse of children;
- end the detention of women and children with insecure immigration status recognizing their vulnerabilitywithin the detention system at the hands of male employees, including sexual harassment and the denial of medical treatment during pregnancy.
We have not written in support of any one political party as no manifesto is perfect and there are already numerous developed by grassroots organisations, service providers, and local organisations in order to change policy of political parties. However, the utter destruction of the welfare state under the current Conservative government has forced us to change our position from insisting all candidates make public their stance on the previous demands, to a policy of tactical voting to remove the Conservative government before it can harm more people.
These are only a few of the extremely harmful policies introduced by the current Conservative government, some of which commenced during the previous Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government:
- The creation and implementation of Universal Credit, which has forced families further into poverty.
- The destruction of child maintenance services which disproportionately punish women and children forcing them into povertywhilst allowing fathers to negate all responsibility for the welfare of their children. This is the financial abuse of children by fathers supported by government policy.
- Theintroduction of a 2 child limit for families in receipt of child tax credit and/or child benefit, which ignores issues such as reproductive control of women by male partners and the simple fact that all children, regardless of family structure, should be entitled to live outwith poverty.
- The so-called 'rape clause' which requires women to disclose rape in order to receive financial support for a third child.
- The introduction of a 'bedroom' tax,which punishes families for circumstances outwith their control, such as requiring extra bedrooms for family members with additional support needs and the lack of smaller properties available to single occupants. 'Austerity cuts' will decimate access to housing for many vulnerable families.
- The eradication of many support programs for people living with disabilitiesor those who care for children or other relatives who are disabled. This includes the changes to Employment Support Allowances and the move from Disability Living Allowances to Personal Independent Payments.
- The decimation of specialist servicesfor women who are living with or who have experienced domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Services for BME women and children have experienced the brunt of these cuts.
- Removal of housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.
- Changes to housing benefits, including a cap,that will disproportionately impact vulnerable people.
- The decimation of the NHS.
- The decimation of the education system, including post-secondary education and training programs, removal of support programs for children with additional learning needs,
The United Kingdom is one of the richest countries in the world and yet we have a government who have given tax breaks to millionaires whilst forcing families into poverty. The UK has dropped from 11th place to 156th in the global index of child rights this year. The numbers of families dependent on food banks has risen astronomically since the Conservative government was elected. 30% of children living in the UK are now living in poverty. More people are being forced into homelessness. The numbers of families living in food poverty has risen.
There is no 'perfect' political party that represents everything our campaign believes is necessary for a just and fair society; a society where the rights of all people to live outwith poverty and violence are enshrined in law. However, it is simply untenable for far too many families to spend another 5 years living under a Conservative government who are actively punishing anyone who is not an able-bodied, wealthy white, male. We are joining those already campaigning for tactical voting because we need a government that recognises the humanity of all its citizens. We need a government who believes that the welfare state (which includes the NHS and education) is necessary to ensure that no one is forced to live in poverty as a direct consequence of the actions and choices of others. 0 hour contracts, paying people less than a living wage, and no safety net for people who become ill or disabled is inhumane. We all deserve better.
Download this post as PDF? Click here