After months of "softening up" public opinion and of trying to get us, workers, used to the idea that we have no choice but to tighten our belts, the past week has been full of speculation, leaks and semi-official announcements ahead of Osborne's "cutting review". But what for?
Because everybody knows what the name of their game really is. It is not about "reducing the budget deficit", nor is it about "economic growth" or "job creation".
On the contrary, it is about destroying jobs and welfare, while cutting vital services and public investment - and all this, so that big shareholders can have a larger share of public funds to play with.
In short, it is all about stepping up the racketeering of the working class by the capitalists' state, for the sole benefit of capitalist greed.
Liars and hypocrites
The Con-Dems may well try to make their nasty medicine more palatable, by going through the motions of "getting the rich to share the pain", as they say. But who do they think they are fooling?
We are told, for instance, that pension tax relief will be cut for very high earners? But they will still be left with a £50,000 yearly tax-free allowance on their pension contributions and a £1.5m lifelong allowance on the balance of their pension pot - many times more than what the rest of us can ever manage to put aside for our retirement.
As to the really rich, whose fabulous incomes will not even be dented by this increased tax, they already manage to avoid paying a large part of their taxes. What do the likes of Philip Green care about pension tax relief? This special advisor to the Con-Dems on "efficiency savings", robs public funds of hundreds of millions every year, by stashing most of his wealth away in a tax haven!
In fact, this Monday's Channel 4 "Dispatches" Programme gave us some insight into the many tax avoidance schemes that millionaires like Osborne and some of his fellow ministers use. These are the real "cheats", the real "scroungers" - not the claimants whose benefits they want to cut!
Worse even, the banks whose gambling caused the crisis and the black hole that we are now supposed to be filling with cuts in jobs and services, stand to benefit from unprecedented tax privileges. By combining the Con-Dem cut in corporation tax and the legal tax rebates which already existed under Labour, they will be able to reduce the tax they pay to just 17% of their profits!
It is precisely this past and present largesse towards banks and the very rich that Osborne's cutting review is meant to be funding - period!
Together against these attacks, now!
It was not for nothing that Osborne's cutting review rallied the support of 35 business heavyweights, even before its publication. In the letter sent to the Daily Telegraph by the 35, they write: "The private sector should be..capable of generating.. jobs to replace those lost in the public sector."
What a joke! These are the same bosses who have been cutting jobs and wages, left, right and centre, over the past 3 years. Among the 35 are notorious job slashers, such as Ian Livingston, the CEO of British Telecom, who bragged about a 17% increase in profits achieved by exceeding his own job-cutting targets - with 35,000 jobs cut over 2 years. Who believes that they have the slightest intention of creating jobs - that is decent jobs, not like those on reduced wages and conditions which, for eg., Jaguar Land Rover is planning to "create"!
The 35 in Osborne's fan club know that his cuts are good for them - less tax on profits, more public money for them through privatisation and sub-contracting, and a larger pool of jobless workers who could be pressurised into accepting lousy terms. This means bigger profits at no cost. So, yes, these people know where their interests are!
But the working class also knows where its interests lie. Against these concerted attacks by the bosses and their politicians, our best weapon will be to join ranks across industries, public and private, and make our opposition heard.
Union leaders have certainly not shown much urgency in organising such a response. Here and there, they hold strikes, like in London, in the Underground and the Fire Brigade, but without helping the strikers to break from their isolation and reach out to other sections who are also affected by similar attacks. Yet this should be our aim.
To prepare for this, every opportunity must be used. On 23rd October, several local unions are organising marches and rallies in various cities, including London. Workers' Fight calls on its readers to join these marches and demonstrate their conviction that the only response to these attacks is a united counter-offensive bringing together all sections of the working class.