Happy New Year

A HAPPY New Year to all our readers and may it be the year when we finally get rid of this savage and cruel Con- Dem Coalition. The chances for a Labour win in May should be good: the Tories are hated for policies that have brought about a steep drop in living standards for the working class. In particular the unemployed, the disabled and long-term sick and the young have been treated with a cynical and callous cruelty that would be hard to match in any period in history. Benefit funding cuts have led to thousands of people having all benefits taken away on the flimsiest and most contrived of excuses and left to just go away and starve.

The Coalition has seriously damaged the NHS and we know that many of them are opposed to its existence in principle. Their bible is the Book of Mammon, which dictates that no one should get anything unless they pay for it and if working class people cannot afford health care they should accept that it is their lot to suffer and die young.

Likewise with housing, their bible says that people who cannot afford the exorbitant rents charged by private landlords — who do nothing to earn the money except corner the market on land and property — should not expect to be able to live under a roof. And when they are on the streets they must be treated as criminals and vagrants with no rights to sit or rest anywhere. Access to redress through the courts is now limited to those who can pay.

Millions of people now have very good reason to fear and loathe the Coalition.

The Tories are bitterly divided over Europe and the UK Independence Party is likely to steal many votes in their strongest seats. Globally stocks and shares are starting to vacillate furiously as financial trading based on wind, water and fairy dust is again sliding towards the black plughole of toxic debt as it did in the run-up to the collapse of 2008.

It is hard to see how Labour could lose the coming election but we must never underestimate the ability of that party to snatch defeat from the jaws of success.

The biggest problem is that the Labour leadership is failing to commit to reverse the public spending cuts and undo the damage. They have said they will spend an extra £2.5 billion on the NHS but that is only a very small sum compared to what is needed. A pledge to end PFI agreements and to reverse privatisation policies would do much more to restore the NHS but Labour will not even contemplate such measures.

And there are no pledges yet to restore public sector jobs and wages.

There is a great risk that many people will see little point in voting at all.

The unions have a vital role in putting much more pressure on Labour to commit itself to undo at least some of the damage being done by the Coalition but union leaderships are again failing when they are most needed. A couple of national marches and the odd one-day strike are not enough. Strikes are the workers’ most powerful weapon but they must be co-ordinated, massive and last for more than a day or two to have an impact. There have been a handful of all-out, open ended strikes and they have succeeded. We need a lot more.

Ultimately we need a whole new system created by the workers for the workers. But that will need working class anger and frustration converted into hard-headed organisation and confidence among workers in their own collective strength. If we cannot get the Con-Dem Coalition out after all it has done, working class confidence and unity will be damaged.

So with all its faults we must again back Labour to be elected with a big majority so that once in power it will have no excuses to ignore workers’ demands. We do not want a minority Labour government that will use its weakness as an excuse to do nothing.

Whatever happens we must keep working and organising for a much bigger change than any parliamentary election can bring us.