Darling's "public" spending is only aimed at boosting the private sharks

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20 October 2008

Some "experts" say that the "era of plenty" is now over and Britain is entering a recession. Hard data is expected to follow later in the week, which will make this economic recession "official".

One has to wonder what sort of a world the pundits and economists, let alone the politicians live in? Certainly not the real one!

As if there ever was an "era of plenty" for the working class, who make up the majority of the population. The financial parasites and big shareholders may have lived in luxury, thanks to their now-failed bingo machine. But haven't we been facing what amounted to a protracted recession affecting our living standards and working conditions for years already?

Permanent squeeze on our conditions

The serial killing of millions of full-time and permanent jobs in the public and private sectors over the past several years, was certainly not evidence of an "era of plenty"!

All along, the government has been able to lie through its teeth about the real employment situation in this country. Because the full-time and permanent jobs have been systematically replaced by part-time and temporary jobs, on low wages, and without pension rights and sick pay - allowing government ministers to boast about a rise in the number of people in jobs! Never mind that these jobs could not and did not sustain a decent standard of living! But all ministers were concerned about was that the bosses' profits were booming - on our backs! The plight of the working class was never a problem for them!

The fact that, as the "experts" now admit, job cuts are now running at 50,000 per month, only means that the past permanent threat to our jobs is getting much worse. And this only means a further, serious, deterioration in the situation for us.

The same goes for our living standards, since even before the so-called "credit crunch" hit, wages were frozen, in other words, cut!

Local government workers and health workers were already fighting below-inflation pay offers in April 2007 of 1.9% or less. The same year, postal workers were actually offered 0%! These issues are not yet settled as far as local government workers are concerned. Postal workers ended up with an increased wage offer, but Royal Mail then set about savaging jobs, conditions, and pensions. And this remains unresolved, so far, especially as the union leaderships are terrified to "undermine" their good relations with Brown!

Yes, the fact is that the economy of the working class is in a constant state of recession, unless we fight off the attacks designed to make us pay the price for the system's failure.

Public spending to prop up business

So what is the government aiming to do, in order to face up to a recession whose consequences may well be comparable to the 1930's Depression?

Having already spent around the equivalent of 2/3 of his government's annual budget of £600bn on propping up the banks, Brown's Darling now boasts of a "New Deal", bringing forward public infrastructure projects to "stave off the recession".

But where will this money go? Mostly to PFI private contractors. In other words this is just a way of helping the same private construction companies which were early casualties of the bursting of the housing bubble. Will vitally needed social housing be built as a result? Surely a programme of public works should mean that social housing is a priority?

But only a pathetic £400m "injection" into the housing budget is planned to help stop the repossessions of homes! While at the same time, it is revealed that Northern Rock, now in government hands, is one of the biggest culprits of all. Its repossession rate has increased by 50% since the government takeover! That says it all!

Even if £400m was actually used for building "social housing" how many family homes would such a miserly sum build? A couple of thousand? Nobody would argue that schools and hospitals, and infrastructure like railways and roads, are not needed, of course. But the actual plans which are so far announced have nothing to do with launching new programmes to solve the shortfalls in public services!

This is why all this talk about "New Deals" is such a joke! Roosevelt's programme of public works in the USA in the 1930s did at least result in the building of huge new dams, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, while employing at various instances, millions of workers. Darling's "plan", is merely to feed the sharks.