I spoke at a hustings meeting at the beautiful St Mary-le-Bow Church at lunchtime. All the candidates had 2 minutes to make an opening statement at the start of the event, and this is what I said:
After 13 years of Labour government it is sometimes hard to remember life under the Tories. But you can get a flavour of what life might be like in the future by looking at their voting record while in opposition.
First, they voted against the action Labour took to support businesses through the recession. They voted
- Against the reduction in VAT to stimulate demand
- Against the Business Payment Support Service allowing over 160,000 struggling businesses to delay tax payments
- Against the Enterprise Guarantee Scheme which has helped almost 9,000 businesses access finance
- Against the car scrappage scheme which has helped the sale of 400,000 vehicles
- Against the Strategic Investment Fund worth £1 billion to develop the UK’s industrial strength
The Tories voted against key measures on crime, like tougher sentences for murder, sexual, and violent offences, including voting
- Against measures to control our borders, including tougher penalties for those who smuggle people in, and measures to streamline the immigration appeals system
- Against the banning of handguns
- Against five-year minimum sentences for carrying an illegal firearm
- Against allowing new trials for murder if new evidence emerges
- Against tougher measures to fight terrorism
They opposed measures to help employees, by voting
- Against the right to request flexible working for workers with children
- Against the minimum wage
- Against introducing paternity leave and against increasing maternity leave
They fought Labour’s attempts to reform and modernise Parliament, by voting
- Against the House of Lords Bill which removed the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords
- Against the recent Electoral Reform Bill passed by the Government to allow a referendum on the Alternative Vote system.
Most shamefully, they tried to block measures to promote equality, democracy, and a sustainable future by voting
- Against legislation to stop discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
- Against legislation to stop discrimination against older people
- Against measures to help families and pensioners through the recession, including the 2009 £60 bonus, and the trebling of cold-weather payments for the elderly
- Against devolution in Scotland and Wales
- Against the Planning Bill, which is paving the way for investment in low-carbon energy
- In Tory councils around the country, against wind power
- Against the ban on hunting with dogs
So if their record in opposition is anything to go by, a new Tory government would wreck businesses, promote crime, exploit workers, protect privilege, promote discrimination, fight democracy and torture animals.
Come to think of it, that’s pretty much how I remember the last one.