Resolution for 2010: make them pay!

5 January 2010

The New Year started with a kind of comic relief - with politicians from the 2 main parties each lambasting the other, over promises they have no intention of delivering.

Labour's promise to cut public expenditure without affecting "frontline services" (and they emphasise the NHS!) is farcical, given what they have already done in terms of cutting frontline services - right across the board - and even before the crisis!

Do they think we have all forgotten the wave of closures of A&E departments, maternity and paediatric units in hospitals up and down the country which began in 2005 - and which is still underway to date? But more recently and still "in process" are the massive job cuts affecting postmen and women and closures of post offices! And what about the local councils cutting the wages and jobs of refuse collectors and street cleaners? Can't get more frontline than that!

They think we lost our memories?

Labour even went to the trouble of producing a glossy dossier devoted entirely to "proving" that the Tories have not "costed" their promises properly, at this early stage of the campaign - as if this will convince anybody! They say the Tories are hiding more cuts behind the up-front cuts. But do they really expect voters to believe that Labour will be cutting only the "backroom public service jobs", when, as most public sector workers will know, there aren't any backroom jobs left to cut?

As for the android-like Cameron, he may surprise us, by being able to shed tears at all, let alone over the growing gap between the rich and poor, or about "health inequalities being as bad as in Victorian times"! But (besides the sanctity of marriage), this is what he has been going on about!

He promises that he, unlike Labour, will increase NHS spending. But who does he think he is fooling? One thing we haven't forgotten is that it was the Tories who began to increase social inequalities 30 years ago, under Thatcher, and that it was they who started to hand over the NHS to private sharks.

In fact, all this electioneering - or "pre-electioneering" - as they call it, is just a diversion from all the real issues which they don't want us to think about.

The real issues

Why is it that there is no politician who bothers to raise what is today's most shocking fact : that while the stock market has regained its pre-crash level (the height it reached before Lehman Brothers went down) unemployment is still rising, house repossessions are still increasing and living standards are declining to almost worse than what they were 20 years ago!

Whatever they may say about the "coming recovery" (which has now been postponed to the end of this year) the truth is that only profits are recovering.

And we, workers, are all paying for this "recovery" with job losses, full-time jobs cut to part-time or casualised; with reduced wages in many cases, and with worse working conditions. In many plants, fewer workers are actually producing as much as before, or even producing more, since the bosses have used the "crisis" as a pretext to turn the screw.

The recent refuse workers' strikes in Leeds and Brighton, haven't stopped other councils trying to impose the same kind of cuts in wages. Neither has the postal strike resolved the jobs issue facing postal workers.

BA cabin crew will be re-balloted in their fight against job cuts after a 12-day strike was declared unlawful. (Unfortunately, they have leaders in Unite who never intended the strike to go ahead anyway.) Attacks on jobs and conditions at Corus and Fujitsu are just a few more examples among many others of the general turn of the screw, just over the last few months, alone.

If we allow the politicians and the bosses to get away with it, they intend to make all of us pay a far higher bill still, over the years to come, under the pretext of absorbing the deficit caused by the largest handout of public money in history to the financial system.

So let's forget about politicians and their electioneering. None of this has anything to do with the problems that working people are facing. If this New Year calls for resolutions, then we should resolve to make the bosses and all of the wealthy classes pay their full share for the crisis. After all, it is their system. Let them pay for it.