Britain has been ‘Con Dem-ned’ to a future of savage attacks on public services, pay and pensions and benefits combined with tax increases for working and middle-class people. The Tory/ Liberal Coalition has been cobbled together in a desperate attempt to create a government enough to launch an all-out onslaught on the living standards of the working class
STOP THE AXE-MEN
Two thirds of the new cabinet went to public school. This is a government of the elite, for the elite, and it is going to set out to hammer the rest of us. We are facing cuts of over £50 billion a year: that means, if we let them get away with it, that our public services and public sector pay and conditions will be cut by over 20%, the biggest cuts since the 1920’s.
But even if New Labour had won the general election there would have been no fundamental difference. Former Chancellor Alistair Darling explained New Labour’s cuts would have been deeper and tougher than those of Thatcher.
PREVIOUS CUTS IN LEWISHAM
In Lewisham the New Labour council and Mayor has agreed £50-£60 million cuts over three years, which will hit schools, libraries, nurseries, bin collections, street cleaning, housing services, youth provision and much more. Newly elected Lewisham East Labour MP Heidi Alexander says that “we need to protect public services” and that she “will fight tooth and nail to make sure that money comes to Lewisham”. Yet as deputy mayor on Lewisham council, Ian and I witnessed Heidi's loyal New Labour ways as she consistently voted for cuts in a whole number of annually set budgets.
Ok lets be fair though. If New Labour are serious about fighting the cuts, then the Socialist Party with their tremedous track record in opposing cuts and with numerous successful campaigns under their belts, will be prepared to help. Will the New Labour councillors follow our strategy of seriously opposing these cuts? Like those in the Liverpool City Council who stood up to Thatcher between 1984 and 1986 and built houses and schools and created jobs in the teeth of a vicious Tory government.
Or is this just chest beating?
Sadly the reality is that it is the latter. As I blogged earlier, just three week after the election Lewisham’s New Labour council real intentions were made clear by announcing the closure of 8 childminding centres in July. These crèches are a vital service for parents who use the council’s adult education centres. These cuts will see one full-time and 25 part-time crèche workers lose their jobs. We say these crèches should stay and that Lewisham council should demand the necessary funding from government to keep these centres open. We will do all that we can alongside parents and crèche workers to defend this service.
WHY SHOULD WE PAY FOR THE ‘BANKSTERS’ CRISIS!
We are not responsible for the increased government debt. Our services are threatened with the axe because of the economic crisis triggered by the bankers reckless gambling and £1.2 trillion that the government promised to rescue the banking system from the consequences of the gamblers actions! That is more than ten times the annual spending on health. Yet this year the ‘banksters’ bonuses are as high as ever. RBS, which is 84% owned by the taxpayer, is paying out £1.3 billion in bonuses to its top executives, while 2,000 of its lowest paid workers have been thrown onto the dole. We do not accept that working class people should have to pay for the economic crisis, while ‘the Banksters’ laugh all the way to the bank.
Public sector workers, users, parents, young people and everyone who doesn’t want to see the Tories destroy our services must get organised to fight the cuts – be they initiated by the Tory-Liberal government or the Labour council. At local level we need to form anti-cuts alliances to bring together the different campaigns in one united campaign against all the cuts. Nationally, a huge demonstration against cuts, to be followed by a 24 hour public sector general strike, is necessary.
FOR A PARTY THAT STANDS UP FOR THE MILLIONS NOT THE MILLIONAIRES
All the establishment parties stand in the interests of the rich – the billionaires – rather than in the interests of the millions. We need a party that stands up for the millions not the millionaires. That is why the Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) which includes among its supporters, Bob Crow leader of the transport workers’ union (RMT) and many other socialists trade unionists and community campaigners. The Socialist party sees TUSC as a step towards a new party- based on the trade unions and working-class people – a party that stands up for the millions not the millionaires.
FOR A SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE
We live in a capitalist society where the profits of a few always come before meeting the needs of the many. We are fighting for a different type of society both in Britain and around the world. A socialist society, where the major corporations and banks that dominate the economy are taken into democratic public ownership. Production can then be democratically planned to meet the needs of the population and the environment rather than to line the pockets of a few billionaires.