The vote is in

The election is over. Now the work begins.

Westminster

 

The election is over so now the work begins. And there is a very full in-tray. Immediately after the results rolled in, so did the demands from business, union activists and campaigners. The TUC called for immediate action on workers’ rights and a swift end to 14 years of public sector pay restraint. Matt Wrack, the president of the Trades Union Congress, called for a summit with unions to plan how the new government will deliver for workers, particularly with regard to Labour’s New Deal for workers [which includes a range of day one rights, a focus on wellbeing at work and a move to allow workers to choose zero hours contracts], public sector strikes [with health an urgent issue] and wages.

Other activists have called for an increase in parental rights. After years of little action, except on Private Members’ Bills, Pregnant Then Screwed demanded an increase in the number of childcare places available, an overhaul of the benefit system to ensure high quality, affordable for every child, the reform of the parental leave system so that dads and partners can spend at least six weeks with their new baby, an increase in parental pay, the normalisation of flexible working and the extension of the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from three months to six months. Early years organisations repeated their calls for action on their staffing and funding crises. Wellbeing activists wanted to see the detail on mental health prevention pledges.

The new government will need to hit the ground running and it has indeed made over 60 pledges on employment issues, all of which it has promised to deliver within the first 100 days of taking office. We should see a lot of activity and soon. More broadly, Labour spent much of the election trying to limit expectations due to the scale of the problems facing UK infrastructure after over a decade of cuts and demoralisation in the public sector, but it will need to deliver the change it has promised again and again.

Being an MP – particularly a female one – is no easy task these days. Jess Phillips has spoken about the aggression facing female campaigners on the street during the election campaign and we are all too aware of the threats and hatred they face from extremists. There are so many swirling dangers these days and the scale of the vote for the far right shows the clear danger if people don’t feel that their lives have improved as a result of the election or if they are too afraid or complacent to challenge the fear-mongering extremists.

There is not long to deliver. Maybe the French example, if the far right wins – and whatever happens in the US –  will serve as a warning of the reality of what they stand for and their inability to deliver anything except division, hatred and fear.



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