The dream opens in the year 2025. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has just been sworn in as the first female and Latina President of the United States. Her campaign ran on a platform of fixing the economy. Her common-sense reform of the tax code, combined with closing tax loopholes, was seen by the American voters as likely to be more effective for producing jobs than Republican challenger Rubio’s plan, which was deemed as “mealy-mouthed” and “pleasing to no one”.
In a shock, Ocasio-Cortez won big with women who had voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. Analysts speculate that this is largely down to what the Ocasio-Cortez campaign successfully labelled as the “stealth destruction of Roe vs Wade” by the “GOP Supreme Court”. Others point to the national story of the death of Elizabeth “Betty” Crowther, the 25-year-old wife of war hero Robert “Bob” Crowther. Mrs Crowther was told that carrying her child to term would most likely kill her and the rejection of her case at the hands of the Supreme Court was seen as a turning point in the election. The sight of Bob Crowther in his uniform, mixing in stories of his unit’s bravery in Basra and Kirkuk and his inability to protect his wife from the US government played well in traditional republican strongholds and swing states alike.
In her inauguration speech, Ocasio-Cortez rattled off a list of campaign pledges that she wanted the American public to hold her, congress and the senate to. These included:
• A national minimum wage of $18 an hour
• A closing of tax loopholes that allowed companies to stash profits overseas, whilst using public services
• Single payer healthcare
• A reversal of the illegal Trump Muslim ban
• Rebuilding of roads and bridges
• A punitive tax on companies that could not bring carbon emissions to the levels of the Paris Climate Accord
• Stopping the flow of money into politics
• A plan to base the world’s largest solar farm in the Mojave Desert
With a democratic congress and senate, she may just pull it all off.
The dream shifts and Ocasio-Cortez’s face twists into that of Angela Rayner, prime minister of the UK. It seems the Conservative Party slogan, “Britain is working”, did not impress a public that have seen wages and life expectancy drop, whilst unemployment, debt and taxes have risen. The decision by many schools to go to a four-day week to balance the books was extremely unpopular, as was Liz Truss’s assertion that the blame was on financial mismanagement in local councils. This meant little to parents who had grown tired of paying for toilet paper, exercise books and other essentials at their children’s schools.
It didn’t help the Conservatives that their main argument, that Labour couldn’t be trusted on the economy was often laughed at when presented to television presenters who are tasked with being impartial. Many speculate that Good Morning Britain’s Danny Dyer’s interview with Conservative leader, Michael Gove, sealed the deal for Rayner, Gove having no response for Dyer’s iconic line, “You can’t keep selling shit in a box and telling us to admire the pretty wrapping paper!” Rayner campaigned on fixing the economy. Like Ocasio-Cortez, she pledged to tax the corporations that pay minimal tax by closing loopholes and crack down on tax-avoidance schemes. She also pledged to seize houses and land that were owned and not occupied. Rayner spoke powerfully on the need for a modern military to be fit for purpose and said she would no longer continue funding Trident, which she labelled the “great white elephant”, arguing it was wiser to invest that money in cyber-security and the NHS. These ideas, toxic several years ago, were vote-winners this time around. She also laughed off claims that she was Corbyn in a dress by pointing out the casual misogyny of the statement and asking whether Theresa May was David Cameron in a skirt. The memes online were suitably caustic.
Labour’s win was founded on the coalition of the unheard – they secured huge voting majorities with the working class (who can forget Danny the builder who said at the leader’s debate in Enfield that he was ‘sick of being pissed on by the Tories and being told it was raining?), women, BAME, the disabled and those that identified as LGBTQ. Labour’s landslide win gives Rayner a mandate to carry out sweeping reforms in education where she has stated she will bring back the necessary funding to restore the 5 day school weak, health – stripping Virgin of any role in the health service was wildly popular and a constant applause line at rallies around the country, military – the Tories never really found a strong counter to the idea that the best way to support our troops was to stop sending them into frivolous wars, and business – where she had perhaps the line of the campaign: “The Tories say this nation is made up of strivers and skivers. We in Labour agree: British people are striving, and big businesses are skiving!”
The symbolism of Ocasio-Cortex and Rayner’s victory signifies a sea change in the political sphere…
The alarm on my bedside table beeps incessantly. It’s still 2018. Trump is on his way to England to speak to May. Much of mainline Europe is becoming increasingly right wing. The last vestiges of the dream slip away into my subconscious and all that is left is a vague sense that things, at some point in the future, will get better.