Brown and Cameron went in for a beauty contest this week in front of the bosses of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) - during their annual conference. And what a ridiculous spectacle it was! One argued for "growth" and public spending cuts, and the other argued for public spending cuts and "growth"!
They were so much the same that participants who were interviewed on the BBC explained in a rather bewildered tone, that they really could not see any difference at all.
As the Financial Times wrote: "Business reacted with bemusement to the ferocity of the debate, suggesting that the clashes were largely for political effect..." And it quoted Richard Lambert, CBI director-general saying, "There may not be in policy terms all that much to separate the duo." A bit of an understatement!
More cuts for us, more handouts for them
One striking point of agreement between the two party leaders was their insistence on the fact that "growth" would have to be "helped" by massive state intervention. Not, of course in order to increase services, or take over vital industries, like transport. No, they will intervene to "service" the bosses!
And we all know what that means. Yet more handouts from public funds to the private sharks; yet more public sector jobs going and yet more cuts in public services - to pay, precisely, for these further handouts! And this will be over and above the repayment of Darling's and Brown's banking bail-outs and the cost to the working population of all of that.
Yet when there is even the slightest hint that the bosses might be asked for something in return - like that mere token "suggestion" in the Queen's speech that banks and companies might like to disclose the size of the pay packets of their top executives, well the bosses throw their hands up in horror! As the CBI president exclaimed, this would be far too "prescriptive"!
Back in the real world though, for the time being anyway, Cameron is only talking, while Brown is actually doing ... exactly what Cameron would do, if he was in government!
"Growth", yes, in unemployment!
Brown tells us about growth, but apart from the profits of the banks growing, all the indicators which affect the lives of working people, are actually still shrinking.
Excepting of course, for one of these indicators - which is certainly growing - and that is unemployment! The fact that unemployment is growing "more slowly" than in previous months (apparently it will not go over the 3m mark this December, after all), is hardly comforting.
The latest announcement, only this week, from Lloyds, one of the banks which the government itself controls (it is 43% government-owned), includes around 700 job cuts in its Buckinghamshire offices. That is in addition to the 5,000 job cuts announced by Lloyds at the beginning of the year. What is more, RBS, the government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has already cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, mostly here in Britain, but this is estimated to be only half the total cuts it plans to make. So there are yet more(state-owned) banking job losses to come!
On the other hand, the case of Threshers and First Quench off-licence businesses - which are closing 734 stores with the loss of 3,700 jobs - not only shows that job cuts are still increasing in the private sector, but reflects the fact that working class people have a lot less to spend in the shops, simply because incomes have gone down.
We have to make our own recovery
For the working class today, this is the real meaning of the so-called "recovery" and the "growth" politicians keep going on about in order to vie for our votes.
Against that, and against whoever gets into office at the next election, there is only one effective medicine - and we know very well what it is. We have our huge collective strength, so far unused, with which we can force the bosses to foot the bill for their crisis. And we had better not wait until election day to use it.