Public school bullies and cowards

NEW ATTACKS from the ruling class are coming thick and fast under David Cameron’s coalition government and they are attacking the most vulnerable first — those least able to mount a political self defence, knowing that if the rest of the working class stand by and let it happen they can pretty much get away with anything.

The attacks are theoretically related to saving Government spending and resolving the huge deficit created by the greed and recklessness of the bankers. But a lot of the measures will have very little impact on that deficit; they are measures of gratuitous spite; they are punishing us for being poor and jobless because they can. It is the morality of the public school bully towards the younger new intake; it is the morality of the regimental sergeant major towards new recruits. It is a demonstration of power with a message that utter subservience and conformity is the only way to survive. They seek to make us all feel insecure and obedient.

Last week David Cameron said that council tenants must no longer have secure tenancies — that tenancies must be reviewed at regular intervals and some tenants who have been in good jobs for a few years must be turfed out to sink or swim in the private housing market.

The provision of legal aid is being taken away from vulnerable people who need it most: victims of domestic violence, victims of rape, asylum seekers and those going through complicated divorces. With very little legal aid available, these victims will be discouraged from going to law to defend themselves.

They are going to turn a private army of profit-seeking bounty hunters on suspected benefit scroungers, who no doubt will stitch up as many genuine claimants as they can for the bounty money — leaving hard pressed Department of Work and Pensions staff to pick up the pieces and reinstate people’s benefits while they wait hungry and threatened with homelessness for the mess to be sorted out. In the long run it will cost more than it will save.

Jobs are still being cut and wages frozen. And now food prices are about to rise steeply — due to rising petrol costs and harvests throughout the world hit by the effects of climate change. But mostly because of speculators betting on the prices of commodities to make themselves a fortune.

In dozens of other ways our class is under attack. People who are being deprived of jobs, homes, food and legal protection — or are being threatened with these things — are going mad with anxiety, insecurity and depression. In a little while they will stop going mad and start fighting back.

The organised labour movement must give a lead in this fight back — uncoordinated, nihilistic, suicidal rampages will not help the class. The Greek labour movement is showing us that it is possible to say no to the ruling class, that the working class can be organised and mobilised for an effective fight back. Their morale is high.

There are some good proposals for a real fight back to be debated at this year’s TUC conference. But the reassurance given to the ruling class by Derek Simpson, the joint general secretary of the biggest union Unite, that they do not really have much to worry about, amounts to class treachery and a betrayal of all the vulnerable people who are being hit.

We must fight back and that fight must be well organised. If RMT wants a national demonstration against cuts in October and Unison wants one in September, let’s have both. Let’s have strikes and protests every week, as they do in Greece. Let us make it clear to the bullies that we will not take it anymore.

Bullies are also cowards; Cameron did back off from taking away free school milk from the under-fives. The Tories are testing out what they can get away with — we must give them an appropriate response from the united, angry working class.