No change for better from the Con-Dems

DAVID CAMERON’S coalition government has launched a propaganda offensive against the workers in the run-up to his emergency budget. Cameron says “tough decisions” are unavoidable because Labour had left the state’s finances in a much worse state than he feared. The Tory leader frankly warns that the new government’s cuts will change British life while his coalition partner, Nick Clegg, claims that there will be no return to the harshness of the spending restraint of the Thatcher years. He’s right. It will be a lot worse.

It’s clear that the Con-Dem answer to the capitalist crisis is the usual bourgeois recipe of massive cuts to public sector pensions, wages, jobs and services and across-the-board means-testing and freezing of benefits. We’ll all be told to tighten our belts, blame our current woes on the past Labour administration and forget about the fact that the rich will be left unscathed by this offensive against the working class.

The unions clearly need to close ranks to defend their members’ jobs and living standards but it hasn’t been helped by the sorry spectacle of the front-runners in the race for the Labour leadership drivelling on about immigration rather than mobilising organised labour and the rank-and-file for the fight-back.

In fact immigration is not much of a big issue these days. The fascist BNP was heavily defeated in its bid to win parliamentary seats and council control in the last election. Much of the mass immigration to this country in recent years has, in any case, come from the rest of the European Union. So there’s little point in promising to curb it without calling for a withdrawal from the EU altogether, apart from trying to pander to racist sentiment that has already been monopolised by the Tory right, UKIP and the BNP.

Needless to say the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Andy Burham are all supporters of the European Union and its institutions, which social-democracy likes to tell us are positively beneficial to working people. What those “benefits” consist of is VAT on virtually everything, the highest food costs in the world and a single currency that has stripped countries with weak economies like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland from taking any moves beyond those dictated by Franco-German imperialism to deal with the slump.

The Con-Dem coalition claims there is no alternative to the draconian measures they seek to impose on the working class to make the people pay for the capitalist crisis. But in the short-term considerably savings could be made by pulling our troops out of Afghanistan and scrapping the immensely expensive and ultimately useless Trident nuclear weapons programme, while money circulation could be maintained by easing consumer credit, renationalising the energy, transport and the telecommunications industries and taxing the rich by restoring income tax to 1970s levels.

Though all the would-be Labour leaders are falling over themselves to distance themselves from the discredited, class-collaborationist policies of the Blair era, none of them, apart from the Left’s John McDonnell, are offering anything more than a rehash of the policies which cost them the election in May.

Making the rich pay for the crisis in one thing. Ensuring it never happens again in another. There is only one way out of cycle of booms and slumps and that is to replace the capitalist system of oppression and exploitation with the socialist alternative. The communist answer to the crisis must be made in Britain and throughout Europe in the struggle to defeat the plans of the British ruling class and the bourgeoisie throughout the European Union.