NEW TORY Chancellor George Osborne delivered the economic attack on Monday — the first of many to come — with his £6.2 billion cuts package.
And the next day the Queen delivered the political attack in the speech written for her by the new Lib-Con coalition government. Gone are the days of Gordon Brown’s subtle tweaks and shifts; they are replaced by an array of sharp-edged weapons being readied to attack the working class.
These include changes to the bourgeois political system that will make it more difficult than it already is for the voices of the working class to be heard in Parliament.
These include a cut in the number of constituencies, a redrawing of the boundaries that is sure to favour the Tories; fixed term five-year governments and a 55 per cent majority needed to bring a vote of no-confidence.
But far more sinister is the proposed “Action will be taken to reform the funding of political parties.” This will undoubtedly be an attempt to break the link between the trade unions and the Labour Party and deny millions of workers the right to pool their small political donations through their unions to secure a representative voice in Parliament.
The benefits system will also be changed to penalise unemployed people who do not take up whatever job is offered to them. Every time an unemployed worker is bullied and badgered into taking a job on low pay and intolerable conditions it is a victory for the capitalist class and a defeat for the whole working class.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber commented; “Unions will support measures to help unemployed and disabled people into work but there is no excuse for such a heavy handed, punitive approach.
“The recession — not lazy individuals — has caused rising unemployment and most people on disability benefits are out of work because today’s labour market is a tough place for those with severe health conditions.
“Moves to eliminate fraud are to be welcomed but cutting the number of administrative staff will only make the problem worse. Jobcentre Plus staff are already under tremendous pressure and further cuts will lead to more errors being made and fewer fraudsters caught.”
Pandering to the racist tabloids, the Government will set a cap on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain from countries outside the European Union.
This one is a bit of an own-goal for the Tories as bosses are now complaining it will deprive them of essential skilled workers — educated at some other country’s expense.
Schools will be encouraged to turn themselves in “academies” — equivalent to NHS foundation trusts. These schools will operate outside local education authority (LEA) control — or support. Effectively LEAs and the idea of local schools cooperating will be replaced by competition between them.
The academies will be exempt from the straitjacket of the national curriculum, Sats tests and league tables — all brought in by the Tories in the 1990s but now only to be applied to LEA-run schools.
Parents will be allowed to set up their own schools — which will quickly be taken by the private sector and which will drain taxpayer funding away from other schools in the locality.
The Tories are planning to increase the role of “social enterprises”, charities and co-ops in the delivery of welfare benefits — replacing professional social workers with well-meaning but condescending “Lady Bountifuls”.
The Royal Mail is to be privatised piecemeal — following the blueprint drawn up and abandoned by Peter Mandelson last year. A number of Tory newspapers campaigned against Mandelson’s plans; how will they respond now?
We are to get elected police chiefs — as they have in the United States, where the position changes according to the balance of forces in local party politics.
Income tax allowances will be raised — a measure often presented as a benefit but in reality of far more benefit to the filthy rich, who see a greater proportion of their bloated income taxed at a lower rate.
There are a few good points: the dropping of ID cards, the possibility of voters recalling MPs who have seriously failed them and the restoration of the link between average earnings and the basic state pension — though this was on the cards anyway and the level of the link — about 17 per cent — is scandalously low.
But make no mistake; we are back to serious, no-holds-barred class warfare.