Platitudes amid turmoil

UNEMPLOYMENT UP; Public sector unions calling for another joint strike on pensions in March; Angry crowds outside Downing Street — and Europe in turmoil as Greek workers rage against the draconian cuts imposed on them by the bankers of Europe and the United States. But all the Tories and their Liberal Democrat collaborators can come up with are the usual grin-and-bear it platitudes echoed by the bourgeois media, which tells us to save money by brewing our tea in the microwave and making tasty snacks out of potato peel.

Labour should be having a field day now but the party is barely ahead of the Conservatives in most national opinion polls. That’s not surprising when the best that Labour can come up to counter the Cameron-led coalition’s offensive against working people is a plan to boost spending with a handful of modest tax reforms.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is calling for a cut in VAT, a three pence cut in income tax for one year, bringing forward the planned personal allowance rise to £10,000 and higher tax credits. This is what Balls calls “decisive action” to “boost growth”.

But while even these half-baked Keynesian reforms are too much for the Tories to swallow they are hardly likely to capture the imagination of the millions of working people whose votes Labour needs if it is to win the next election.

Labour has come out in defence of the health service following the lead of the doctors, nurses, unions and the general public, who clearly see that this time the Tories want to finish the NHS off once and for all.

But the only way the health service can be defended is through adequate public funding. That can only be done by taxing the rich who can well afford to disgorge some of their vast incomes to pay for it and renationalising the utilities to invest their vast profits into maintaining the welfare state. If we want the NHS, free education and the welfare state that the people enjoyed in the 1970s then we must restore the tax regime and the state sector that paid for it.