Breakthrough has come a long way in the last two years. What started as a few like-minded people thrashing out ideas in a WhatsApp group has grown into a political party with thousands of members and supporters.
Our aim is simple: to offer a genuine alternative in a political landscape which is lurching further rightwards.
Since our inception, life for ordinary people has only become harder. As we emerge from lockdown, cruel government policies and private energy profiteers have led us into a cost of living crisis.
Rents are rising, the cost of energy has skyrocketed and basic food items like cheese, butter and baby milk are being security-tagged to stop people from shoplifting.
Corporate greed is driving this crisis. The richest 250 people in the UK increased their combined wealth to over £710 billion this year and the profits of the top FTSE companies have gone up 73% since 2019.
The money is there, but are the 1% being told to tighten their belts? No. Instead it’s workers who are expected to shoulder the burden and accept real-term pay cuts as the companies they work for post record profits and shareholders and CEOs take home millions in dividends and bonuses.
These profiteers are robbing us blind while our public services continue to crumble — whether it’s water companies dumping raw sewage in our waterways or private healthcare providers carrying out record numbers of operations as the NHS hits breaking point.
And we haven’t even got onto the most pressing issue of our time: the climate crisis.
Wildfires are raging across Europe and North America, heatwaves have struck India and south Asia, droughts have devastated parts of Africa and, closer to home, the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the UK saw highs above 40C.
COP26 was supposed to be a turning point for humanity, but instead the elite continue to double down on the failed status quo. The Tories have given the go ahead on new fossil fuel projects and they have no plan on how we will reach net-zero by 2050, which would already be too late to stop the irreversible damage being done to our planet.
Instead of taking responsibility and trying to solve these problems, our government is declaring war on some of the most marginalised communities in our society.
The Police, Crime, Courts & Sentencing Act aims to crack down on disruptive protest, increase the stop and search powers which predominantly impact black and brown people, and criminalise the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller community.
Then there’s the Nationality and Borders Act, which plans to make it even harder for asylum seekers to seek refuge in this country and instead sends them to offshore detention facilities in Rwanda.
And trans people, who face constant dehumanising attacks in the media, and are not even being protected by the upcoming ban on conversion therapy.
Where is the opposition? The Labour Party is fixated on its own internal war with the left and trade unions, utterly failing to provide any meaningful alternative to the most right-wing government in living memory.
While things may seem bleak, we can find hope and power in our workplaces, in our communities and on the streets.
People are fighting back and now, more than ever before, we need a political party that champions radical ideas to fix our broken system.
As a democratic party, we seek to empower our members, and the development of this minifesto embodies that. Our members have put an incredible amount of work into making this a reality and we’re proud to present policies that offer the chance of real change for the working class in all its diversity.
This minifesto is just the start, and doesn’t claim to be comprehensive. As Breakthrough continues to grow and the next general election draws nearer, we will continue to develop our policies, working with experts and grassroots organisations to create a detailed vision of change.
In the meantime, Hope Has a New Home aims to provide a clear indication of the sort of society we are fighting for.
Together, let’s make it happen.
Alex Mays Founder and Leader, Breakthrough Party
To breathe new life into our communities, we need to take power away from corporations and commercial landlords and give it to the people. By strengthening local democracy and investing in community services, reversing years of austerity, we can build a future of vibrant, inclusive towns and begin narrowing the north-south divide.
To ensure elected representatives work for the public good, we need to remove the profit motive from parliament and make politicians much more responsive to the public. More broadly, we need to build a flourishing democracy in which everyone can participate on an equal basis. This means creating a fair voting system, experimenting with new forms of decision making, and respecting and empowering all nations of the UK.
To build an economy that provides security, dignity and opportunity for all, we need to redistribute wealth and power from the rich to the poor. That means breaking from four decades of neoliberalism by taking key industries into public control, investing in projects which meet human need, and retooling our economy to respond to the climate crisis. At the heart of this transformation will be an empowered working class, enjoying higher incomes and able to spend more time on the things that make life worth living.
We need to build an education system centred on enriching the lives of young people and providing lifelong education for all. This means an emphasis on learning through play in early years education, an end to the injustice of private schools, and a reversal of the process of marketisation in higher education. The school curriculum should not only prepare children for the world of work but should encourage a love of learning and provide the basis for a more equal and inclusive society.
We cannot address the climate crisis in isolation — it’s inextricably linked to inequalities of wealth and power at a national and global level. By democratising the economy, building a society geared towards meeting human need and promoting peace over militarism, we can begin building a truly sustainable world. As a matter of urgency, we need a Green New Deal: massive decarbonisation, a green transition in farming and bold interventions to promote biodiversity and strengthen animal rights.
We need to deal with the recent threats to the rights of minority groups as a matter of urgency. But we must go further than that, building a society grounded in dignity and respect and truly comfortable with diversity. The state has a role to play in this mission, especially in areas such as healthcare and education, but grassroots action will be just as important. Through working-class solidarity we can overcome false divisions, coming together to defeat the scourges of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism.
In contrast to the harmful role that it has played in the past, the UK should play its part in constructing a new global order based on self-determination, human rights, sustainable development and democracy. Rather than participating in profit-driven conflicts, the UK should stand against imperialism and occupation.
To build a society with physical and mental health at its centre, we need an end to privatisation and profiteering from healthcare and a return to a democratically run, publicly owned healthcare system that prioritises patients not profit. The NHS must be properly funded and staffed, with a highly trained workforce, and play a key role in reducing health inequalities across the population by tackling discrimination and inequality of service provision.
In the long term, we want to see a society in which the fundamental right to a home is respected and homelessness made a thing of the past. Landlordism — the hoarding of homes for profit — should ultimately be abolished, and secure, truly affordable council housing made widely available. All homes should be safe and fit for human habitation, supporting health, wellbeing and environmental sustainability. And we must make sure that a range of homes are available or adaptable to meet the needs of groups such as older, disabled and neurodiverse people, and of various household sizes.
Breakthrough unequivocally supports the human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers and would radically overhaul the racist structures that force so many of them into insecurity and poverty. In the long term, we would build a legislative framework for immigration based on the principles of dignity and human rights.
Disabled people need solidarity not charity. In the words of Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, they deserve ‘to have equal rights to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and be fully included and able to participate in the community.’ To make this a reality, we need policies underpinned by the social model of disability and inspired by a vision of independent living for older and disabled people.
We need to radically reform our police and justice system and ensure genuine equality before the law. This means reigning in police powers, moving to a justice system that prioritises rehabilitation over retribution, and properly funding legal aid. Civil liberties such as the right to protest and reveal injustices without fear of reprisal must be protected. By implementing policies that promote economic security and equality, we can strengthen the social fabric and reduce crime.
To revitalise our media, we need to restrain the billionaires and create a more diverse public discourse. Working-class voices must be given more prominence and independent media organisations more support. We must build a society in which artists and performers can thrive, benefiting from improved local provision for creative activities and increased national funding. And we have to review the way football is run, handing more power and resources to fans and the grassroots game.
Public transport should be publicly owned, environmentally sustainable, accessible and, in the long term, free to use. By taking profiteering out of public transport, we can bring down costs and integrate transport into a national zero-carbon strategy. Affordable, high-quality public transport will make it easier to reduce our dependence on cars, improving air quality and public health.
We need to harness Britain’s considerable wealth to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and give every worker a decent quality of life. This won’t be brought about simply by asking employers nicely: we have to empower workers to take what they deserve, unleashing trade unions by repealing the restrictive laws that currently hold them back.
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