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So, Rishi 'Rich' Sunak has warned us that, post-pandemic, we are all in for a rough ride. It's predicted that the economic decline, which was on the cards even before the pandemic, will be the worst in 300 years.
Unemployment is expected to reach 2.6 million, and this won't include those on casual contracts, who struggle on just a few hours a week.
Amidst this economic crisis, Sunak says he can't justify an across-the-board pay increase for public sector workers. For key workers, who have stepped up during the pandemic, including education workers, behind-the-scenes NHS workers, firefighters, civil servants, etc, this is a kick in the teeth.
Even Johnson and Sunak's promise of free courses for workers who lose their jobs is worthless if there are no jobs available at the end of the training. It will, however, be useful for the Tories as it will take those retraining off the unemployment figures.
Sunak is attempting to use divide and rule tactics. He wants to set private sector workers against those in the public sector, young against old, etc. But remember, the real divide in society is the class divide, and the Tories are certainly looking after their mates.
Companies with links to the Tories have 'won' £1.5 billion worth of NHS contracts. This included a firm set up by a Tory councillor being given a £156 million contract for PPE.
And although Tories purport to love the free market, other firms weren't able to compete for such contracts, because the government had a clause that suspends normal tender procedures - crony capitalism!
The Rishi 'Rich' of the world are getting richer. The vast majority of us are expected to pay the price.
This isn't just a case of the Tories being rotten to the core, it is the system of capitalism that is thoroughly rotten.
My school's budget is going down the plug hole as more money is poured into extra cleaners and staff to maintain bubble restrictions. Following the new lockdown, management awaited new guidelines from the government on new restrictions. None came, and neither did any financial support. Because of staff sickness, I was responsible as a 1:1 for two boys with autism, which meant I couldn't social distance. An extra member of staff was not a financially viable option.
Schools need more money, and they should run on a rota basis to lessen stress on staff. The stress among staff carrying on through a lockdown, especially those with families, has begun to show over the last few weeks. Staff question why we are still open or not operating on a ratio basis, why we are not receiving more funding as staff isolation increases.
Our capitalist government has used scientists' reports to create guidelines which are dubious at best, and show no regard or value to school staff that are vulnerable to mental stress.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) has launched its latest initiative "XR Money Rebellion", which encourages members and supporters to commit "financial civil disobedience". XR argues that taking out large mortgages, loans and extending overdrafts with no intention of paying them back is an attempt at "economic sabotage".
The poll tax campaign of the late 80s early 90s showed that mass non-payment campaigns can be effective, what's missing from the middle-class leadership of XR is the understanding that it's the 'mass' in 'mass non-payment campaign' that is crucial! During the poll tax campaign we, as Militant, organised mass meetings, canvassed door-to-door, built support and mobilised millions to participate.
XR does not have this sort of mass support and has no intention of building it. Anyone who is to sign up and follow through on defaulting on loans, as part of a relatively small number, will do so at serious financial and legal risk, risks that are more pressing for working-class supporters.
With one breath Angela Rayner threatens to suspend thousands of Corbyn-supporting current members of Labour. With another, Keir Starmer welcomes back the saboteurs who stood against the party while Corbyn was leader. It couldn't be clearer that the door is shut for socialists. Better to build something new than to leave only big-business parties in the field.
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Article dated 2 December 2020
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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