Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here
A Strategy To Defeat The Cuts
A Strategy To Defeat The Cuts
Before the general election David Cameron tried to claim that the Tory party had changed and was no longer the brutal anti-working class party of the 1980s.
Within days of taking office they revealed themselves as Thatcherites to the core.
The Tories' propaganda is that cuts are necessary because of New Labour's excessive public spending. This is a giant con-trick.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The crisis Britain is facing is not a crisis of the public sector but of the private sector.
It was the collapse of the banking system, not greedy public sector workers that the economy into crisis.
Yet, while public services are being destroyed, RBS, bailed out with tax-payers' money, has just given its 350 top managers bonuses averaging over £1 million each!
In reality, New Labour did not preside over a significant increase in public spending. On the contrary, under New Labour, as under the Tories before them, public spending on measures that decrease poverty has fallen back and, as a result, for much of New Labour's tenure, inequality and poverty increased.
High quality council housing, unemployment benefit and a pension that it is possible to live on, these are all now distant memories. Job Seekers Allowance is at, £64.30 a week, equal to just 10% of average earnings compared to 17% when Margaret Thatcher was in power.
It is the lowest in the developed world and is literally impossible to live on. Even in those sectors such as health where public spending increased under New Labour, although not enough, this has been linked to increased privatisation.
When New Labour was elected in 1997 total public spending had fallen to 37.7% of gross domestic product (GDP), its lowest level since the 1960s. New Labour kept it at the same level for its first two years in power.
By 2008 it had increased marginally to around 41%, although this remained extremely low compared with other major European countries such as Germany, and particularly France, where it was still 53%.
Since then it has jumped again to around 46%. To put this in perspective it was 45% in 1985 - when the Tories had been in power for six years! However, the jump has nothing to do with increased spending on public services and everything to do with the bailout of the banking and finance system.
The Treasury department spent £109.5 billion in 2008/09, an increase of 49,891% on the previous year! This vast sum of money, slightly more than the entire spending on health for the year, was used to bail out the finance system.
Yet the same big financiers whose profligacy triggered the economic crisis are now demanding cuts in services. All capitalist politicians accept the need for cuts because 'the markets' demand it.
The Tories are particularly enthusiastic about cutting as much and as fast as possible, but New Labour has also made it clear it would do as the markets demand and carry out severe cuts.
What are these markets? Not some elected or democratically accountable body but a few handfuls of unelected bond market traders interested only in their own mega-profits.
These are the people who are demanding vicious cuts which will ruin the lives of millions.
If this government gets away with it, the clock of history will be unwound with levels of poverty returning those of the 1930s. But it will not get away with it.
This government is deluded if it imagines it will be able to carry out its programme without meeting an avalanche of opposition. Before Christmas, we saw the magnificent student movement, the biggest for twenty-five years.
The students inspired workers, but there are many who are not yet sure how they can fight the cuts. Nonetheless, the majority the oppose them.
The latest opinion polls show that only 34% of people believe cuts are necessary. A huge demonstration on 26 March is going to show the potential power of the anti-cuts movement, and can act as a springboard to defeat the cuts.