In a recent BBC poll (5th Sept), 60% of those surveyed supported the government’s cuts agenda. The ConDem coalition has used the media to create a storm of deficit fetishism. This will pave the way for cuts that are driven by an ideology that is anti-benefits, anti-union and fundamentally anti-worker. How are we to respond to this?
Origin of the Crisis – Why was the UK vulnerable?
This was not a crisis caused by the public sector. Crises are inherent in our economic system - this one was just delayed by the financial trickery of global capital. The UK, at the heart of global financial markets, was hit hard because the government came to rely so heavily on the revenues of the banking and financial sectors.
The Ideology of the Response
The election campaign of the Tory party, and the line the media barons of the country are taking, is simple (Margaret Thatcher even used the same argument): that the country should run its finances is the same way a “housewife runs her purse”. If the money isn’t there, cut spending - if the money is there, cut taxes. George Osborne simplifies the situation further, equating national debt with personal debt: it’s as if he is unaware of the years of work done by economists! David Cameron openly admitted the ideological drive behind the agenda. In a “PM Direct” session he was asked if spending would resume once the recession was over. Unsurprisingly he replied no, because he saw this as a chance to “fundamentally change the way we do things in this country”.
The Tory agenda is nothing but privatisation. “Free schools” will be run by private companies. GP “consortia” will have to turn to private accounting and pharmaceutical firms to do the job of the abolished PCTs. In the name of “competition” Royal Mail will be sold to the lowest bidder.
The case we need to make
« The richest 5% of the population own 58% of the country’s wealth
« In 2009 the wealth of the richest 1000 people increased by £77 billion
« The poorest 50% of the population own just 1% of the country’s wealth
« Tax avoidance and evasion costs the economy an estimated £100-£120 billion a year
« If we cut government spending, the private sector will suffer as one of its biggest customers disappears
« Even the USA is announcing increased spending to get through the crisis
« Our national debt is not the same as Greece’s. Historically our debt is not even that high!
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