The Socialist 11 May 2016 |
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Tories retreat: now drive them out!
All strike together (Click to enlarge)
"There is no reverse gear when it comes to our education reforms" said Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan at the NASUWT teachers' union conference on 26 March.
However, the government appears to have not only found reverse but screeched into a full-on handbrake turn - announcing on the day after the local elections that it is abandoning forcing every state school to become an academy.
With the NUT teachers' union about to ballot for strike action and calling for joint campaigns and action with the junior doctors, the prospect of having to simultaneously take on take on both groups of workers may well have prompted the government's u-turn on academies.
There was also growing resentment among Tory county councils at the government's intention to remove schools' local accountability including parent governors, with one Oxfordshire county councillor complaining "they've all gone bonkers".
Cameron's government has been one of retreats - defeated in the House of Lords on extending Sunday trading hours, a backbench rebellion over refusing to accept unaccompanied child refugees, Osborne's reversal on tax credit cuts, and Iain Duncan Smith's resignation following a 'crisis of conscience' over cuts to disabled benefits.
They are deeply divided over the European Union referendum. They didn't do as well as they had hoped in the local elections in England (or Labour didn't do as badly). And they lost the London mayoral election to Labour following racist slurs in what Sayeeda Warsi, former Tory party chair, called "our appalling dog whistle campaign".
The junior doctors' determination to reject imposed and unfair new contracts has forced Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to new talks. But they should not be left to fight alone - especially as they are fighting to defend our NHS.
We need to press home this advantage by campaigning for coordinated strike action - including a 24-hour general strike - to defend all our public services and to build a powerful anti-austerity movement. This could not only lead to more government u-turns on student nurse bursaries, housing benefit cuts, and more, but force the Tories to call an early general election.