A budget for the rich

THOUGH Roman Emperors and the slave-owning aristocracy they represented lived out their lives surrounded by luxury and splendour they nevertheless tried to appease those they exploited with free food, chariot races and bloody spectacles in the arena.

The Romans diverted the masses with bread and circuses. Now it seems the Tories think a penny off the price of beer and a 10 per cent cut in bingo duty will suffice.

None of us should be surprised at last week’s budget. We have a rich man’s government and we’ve got another rich man’s budget. While the bourgeoisie wallow in their wealth the workers get a few trifling cuts in duty that’s covered by upping the tax on cigarettes and a tax break on savings for the few who still have them.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, says he has a “long-term economic plan” and that the British economy is “recovering faster than forecast”. Boris Johnson tells us “It is free market, it is libertarian; it is all about trusting people to run their own lives”.

What it’s all about is trusting the ruling class to run the lives of workers, who create all the wealth in this country, but get only a miserable pittance back in return.

It is certainly is a “free” market for the rich. But it’s not “free” for the unions whose right to free collective bargaining has been severely curtailed over the decades. And it’s not free for the millions on the dole or the elderly and disabled who are forced to live on the bread-line in a country which is still one of the richest in the world.

This budget is supposedly aimed at restoring the British economy, which has been the doldrums since the slump began in 2008. But these austerity measures, like the previous four of this wretched Tory-Liberal Democrat Coalition, are not simply a response to the global capitalist crisis but a reflection of the demand of the capitalists, industrialists and landowners to maximise their profits and improve the competitiveness of their businesses.

The capitalists and landowners would have us believe that their system of exploitation and oppression is totally justified and positively beneficial while the suffering and misery of working people is entirely of their own making.

The ruling class, their politicians and their media lackeys drivel on about the virtues of the “free market”, libertarianism and capitalism but they cannot point to a single capitalist country where it does work for anyone apart from themselves.

Neither can Labour, whose leaders feebly bleat on about “fairness” for “hard-working families” while agreeing with more or less everything the Chancellor says. While Labour has promised to abolish the hated Bedroom Tax it will not oppose plans to set an overall cap on the amount that future Governments can spend on welfare, while Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls brags that Labour is committed to reducing the welfare bill as if that was a virtue in itself.

There is an immediate alternative and that is for a massive council-house building programme, increases in social welfare and pensions, the restoration of the public sector and the abolition of the anti-union laws. It can all be paid for by a return to the progressive taxation levels we had in the 1970s, and scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Capitalism, of course, does work for those at the top. That, in the final analysis, is all it is, a system designed to perpetuate the rule of the landowners, industrialists and capitalists to keep them in plenty. It will continue until we end the system altogether.

There is only one answer to the crisis and that is to take all the means of production — the factories, mines, the transport industry, the land and the machinery to till it from the hands of the capitalists into state and collective ownership on behalf of the working class.