Labour promises yet more anti-working class austerity!

2 October 2012

British politics look increasingly like the presidential show-business in the US. It's not about policies, but primarily about the standing of aspiring prime ministers in opinion polls. The only thing that's still missing - but for how long? - is a parade of "pom-pom girls" to enhance Ed Milliband's public appearances at his party's conference.

So, we get a party political broadcast starring Milliband. However, it is not meant to spell out his plans, nor in what way they are really different from the ConDems' policies. No, the objective is only to promote his media "image" - the problem being that the "great man" is not doing too well in the polls.

We learn what a bright kid Milliband was when he was at school, in North-London (note: a state school, not a public school, unlike his rivals). Moreover, witnesses are called in to tell us how, at the time, Milliband remained stubbornly "true to himself", whatever this may have meant.

We voters are meant to conclude from this that Milliband is "close to the people" (because he was educated in a state school, no doubt) and that, if elected, he will remain "true to himself" - all of this, unlike his rivals, of course!

Labour's planned austerity

The problem, however, is precisely that Milliband and the Labour leadership are determined to remain "true to themselves". What they've already said speaks for itself - they stand firmly and squarely on the side of big business in the present crisis.

Long before this year's Labour party conference, Milliband and his sidekick, shadow chancellor Ed Balls, were repeating, ad nauseam, the same line: a Labour government will not reverse the ConDems' cuts, not even for the poorest.

Ed Balls put Labour's policy in a nutshell when he said that it would be "ruthless and disciplined in how we go about public spending". Like under the ConDems, "deficit reduction" will remain the watchword. And since, apart from the 50%higher rate income tax rate which might be restored (even under Thatcher it remained at 60% for 10 years), Labour has no plan to make the capitalists and the wealthy pay for their crisis. No, the working class will be expected to carry on footing the bill. It's no surprise that Milliband never found a word to say against the large profitable companies' systematic attacks on jobs, wages and conditions!

In the public sector, a Labour government will not restore the many jobs savaged by the ConDems - too bad for the vital services which are crippled. Nor will a Labour government reverse the impact of the wage freeze and subsequent cap on wage increases introduced by Osborne - too bad for low-paid workers! On last Sunday's Andrew Marr's show, Milliband had the nerve to claim: "we put jobs in the public sector ahead of pay rises". The truth, however, is that Labour is clearly planning to put both jobs and wages on the backburner!

We can only rely on our own forces

Yes, Labour is "true to itself" - true to the policies that were implemented in government by Blair and Brown, for thirteen years.

Let's not forget what they did. During these years, the British army was sent to bomb, kill and maim the populations of Afghanistan and Iraq (and install a puppet government in Sierra-Leone), in order to enforce "regime changes" that suited the interests of the London City.

During these years, Labour ministers developed a "flexible labour market" by dismantling most obstacles to the casualisation of labour by the bosses. Zero-hour contracts and other non-jobs became the main form of job creation in many sectors of the economy and the only way for the jobless to avoid having their benefits docked.

During these years, bankers and speculators were encouraged to suck the economy dry, before being awarded tens of billions of public money to cover their losses, when the crisis broke out because of their profiteering.

Finally, it was during Labour's last years that the austerity drive against the working class began, in the form of cuts in jobs and services.

No, there's nothing to choose between Milliband-Balls and Cameron-Osborne. They represent two versions of the same anti-working class policy, at the service of the City, and they should both be fought as class enemies, with the weapons of the class struggle.

Whatever the government in office, the only way forward is to use our collective strength to stop the capitalists' offensive against our jobs and living standards - and to start regaining the ground lost. These country's politicians and their masters in the City need to be taught a lesson: they need to learn to respect our class, which produces all the wealth in this society. But this will only happen if they learn to fear our collective power.