Not just "austerity", but the parasitism of the fat cats must be challenged!

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5 July 2017

The Tories’ tribal rivalries and cynical overbidding are, once again, occupying the political stage.  Except that, this time, they've chosen to use the public sector pay cap as the hot potato in their infighting.
    A string of ministers defied May by breaking cabinet discipline, calling for an end to this pay cap.  Yet these same characters had just voted down a Labour amendment to the Queen's Speech which was doing just that.  But then, of course, not rocking the Tory boat so as to avoid losing their cosy ministerial seats, is far more important for them than the squeeze on public sector wages!
    And, indeed, why would a millionaire toff like Boris Johnson give a damn about the conditions of low-paid public sector workers, when, as London mayor, he waged a vicious war against the jobs and conditions of firefighters and Underground workers?  And why would Michael Gove give a damn either, as the liar who promised that Brexit would deliver £350m/wk for the NHS before the referendum, only to renege on his pledge on the next day after the poll?
    What we've been hearing is just the barking of the "hard-Brexiter" hounds going for throats of their rivals - Hammond and possibly, even  May herself, since both are caught in the eye of this storm in the Tory tea-cup.  For them, the pay cap is just a pretext, one of many they would be willing to use, if only it could serve their ambition.

Poverty pay and all the other issues

Yet of course, regardless of this politicking, the public sector pay cap is an urgent issue.  Three years of a total pay freeze followed by four years of wage increases capped at 1%, have caused public sector workers' wages to fall by 14% in real terms since 2010.  And this is intolerable.
    Just as it is intolerable that the wages of many more millions of private sector workers should still be lagging far behind their pre-2008 level, or that so many of them should be forced into increasingly precarious non-jobs!
    But no-one should expect posturing politicians like Johnson or Gove to do anything about this.  Nor can they be expected to do anything about the long string of austerity measures taken by their party, which have driven so many working class households into poverty over the past years, while pushing public services to the brink of collapse.
    As to the catalogue of criminal neglect, cost-cutting and profiteering which led to the Grenfell Tower fire, not only will they do nothing about it, but they are directly responsible for it:  because they are among the promoters of the "bonfire of red tape" which played such a big role in the build up to this disaster waiting to happen!
    In the real world in which we, workers, live, the squeeze on public sector wages is an integral part of the squeeze on the public services, jobs and conditions, which is affecting our entire class.

Heads austerity, tails profiteering

But this squeeze did not come out of nowhere.  It was certainly facilitated by the politicians in office - of all parties, in fact, since it all started almost 4 decades ago, under Thatcher, with Labour obligingly continuing her dirty work for a whole decade, before the Tories came back into office again.
    But the real driver behind this squeeze on the public services, standards of living and conditions of the working class, has always been the ever-increasing parasitism and profiteering of the capitalist class on society as a whole.
    If, for instance, the NHS is 40,000 nurses short, it is not just because of the public sector pay cap.  It is also - and mainly - because nurses are leaving in droves due to the appalling conditions in which they are forced to work.  Such is the cost of the chronic under-funding of the NHS by the present and past governments.
    And when May's ministers dare to say that there is "no magic money tree" or that "Britain must live within its means", they conveniently forget to mention the billions that private fat cats are drawing directly out of the NHS budget.  Just as they forget to mention the handouts, worth many more billions, in subsidies and tax breaks, not to mention financial bailouts, that the capitalists have extorted from every past government.
    If there is something that is unaffordable, it is this capitalist parasitism which, in addition to exploiting our labour, deprives society of so much wealth and so many resources that could, otherwise, be put to good use for the benefit of all.
    But to challenge this parasitism, the ballot box is useless - quite simply because the job of Parliament and government, is to facilitate it.  Whereas what we need, is to fight it.  And this, we will have to do collectively, using our muscle as a class, in the streets and the workplaces.