Lead story

Give us a reason to vote Labour

by Daphne Liddle

THOUSANDS of NHS workers took strike action briefly on Monday. On Wednesday it was the turn of thousands of civil servants to do the same. Teachers are balloting for a national strike next month. The common theme in all these strikes is the shockingly low level of pay of public sector workers compared to the rising costs of living.

The TUC has been campaigning for a long time now with the demand: “Britain needs a pay rise”. Public and private sector workers in Britain have seen the value of their wages steadily shrinking now for three decades and it is shocking now that families with two people in work are not getting enough in their wages to cover the most basic living costs and have to depend on tax credits and housing benefits to survive.

And now that these benefit levels are being steadily reduced workers are having to turn to food banks to feed their children. A TUC analysis published last Sunday shows that workers in Britain suffering the longest and most severe decline in real earnings since records began in Victorian times.

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Europe-wide anger at TTIP

PROTESTERS against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) filled Parliament Square last Saturday to draw attention to this pernicious international agreement that will allow big business to ride roughshod over democratically elected national and local governments to extract maximum profits, regardless of damage to the population or the environment.

The protesters were part of a Europe-wide day of action and during the protest they marched on to Westminster Bridge and hung a long banner over the parapet, saying: “HANDS OFF DEMOCRACY # NO TTIP”.

The Con-Dem Coalition is supporting the deal, claiming it will add billions to the national economy. But it will expose all public services, at local and national level, to the full effects of the free market.

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Playing the race card

MEDIA responses to last Thursday’s success for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the Clacton by-election and near success in the Heywood by-election presage a very unpleasant race to determine which party can adopt the most racist and most xenophobic policies.

The overriding message from bourgeois analysts is that voters — most of whom have suffered a big drop in living standards, wages and conditions — are concerned with only one issue and that is immigration. It is, of course, a completely false analysis.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was predictably very full of himself and boasting that there were no safe seats in the country anymore and that he was taking voters from all major parties. But that is not true. In Heywood the Labour percentage of the total vote went up slightly; Farage came a close second by taking votes from the Tories and the Lib Dems — an indication only of the disillusion among former supporters of the Coalition parties.

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