Time to get rid of these ancient trappings and organise that "general revolt"

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
9 May 2023

The worst cost-of-living crisis in 40 years continues. Yet instead of offering the population "circuses and bread" - like the Roman rulers of antiquity, all the public got was the circus. No bread.

    Millionaire PM Rishi Sunak himself appeared in the coronation circus-ring on 6 May - as ringmaster. Thereby showing how it's parliament which really wears the British crown... And he's standing firm against raising public sector pay!

    Last month, RPI inflation had increased to 13.5%. In fact this week the Financial Times complained that the British economy has suffered double digit inflation for seven straight months - while it carried on shrinking. A scenario not replicated anywhere else in Europe...

    Economists say inflation is about to fall. But the cost of food and other basics, is still going up. And speaking of bread, a loaf of sliced white is 22.8% more expensive than this time last year!

No to coronation quiche!

Rents are soaring, with evictions and homelessness growing again. At these high levels some renters might find a monthly mortgage repayment even cheaper. So, enter Skipton building society! Yes, with the offer of a "deposit-free, 100% mortgage"!

    But there's a catch. To get one, you need to prove a clean rent and credit history. Skipton's required repayments would be no higher than your rent was. But since the reason to take a mortgage in the first place, was to escape the unaffordable rent, it's right back to square one! In fact most mortgages have a minimum income requirement. So the majority of low-paid workers haven't a hope of getting one.

    No. The only remedy for workers - whether renting, or buying, or neither - is to get a decent cost-of-living pay rise, as soon as possible!

    Meanwhile, in the midst of the housing crisis, capitalist "king" Charles presides over a £20 billion real estate empire, which includes 7 palaces, 10 castles, 12 houses, 56 cottages, and 14 ancient ruins "where he can hang up his crown". No wonder he looks so glum. It must be painful to be so spoilt for choice.

    And now the Bank of England, driving force behind the "pay rises fuel inflation" lie, is raising interest rates for the twelfth time, bringing them up to 4.5%. So much for "helping to buy"... No bread there, either.

Their gruesome "entertainment"

But back to circuses. The next one up is the Eurovision Song Contest, which used to come and go without anyone even noticing. However this year, Liverpool - famously anti-monarchy - is hosting it in place of Ukraine, last year's "winners", so there's not just over the top razzmatazz, but glorification of the war...

    Yes, it's gruesomely distracting entertainment, fitting the bill perfectly, of Roman poet Juvenal's "gladiator games" of 100AD.

    The " bread and circuses" policy was a sign of degenerate times. The Roman public had lost all trust in their political system. Providinggames and "wheat dole" was the emperor's attempt to forestall general revolt...

    There are parallels. At most 30% of the electorate, vote in local elections. Up to 40% abstain in general elections.

    Contrast that with today's votes for strike action- averaging 90%! Even after a year of sectional strikes, due to union leaders' refusal to coordinate action, decisive majorities of workers are voting to renew strike mandates.

    So what about that "general revolt"? A good start would be for striking RMT railway workers - accused of"sabotaging" Eurovision on 13 May(!) - to join Aslef drivers, ambulance workers, teachers, civil servants and even Ford Dagenham's Lineside workers, to generalise this fight, and turn it into a strike for enough "bread" for all!