The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 25th March 2016
DAVID CAMERON and George Osborne must be secretly thanking the fascist terror group ISIS as the tragedy this group has inflicted on Brussels has ensured that there has been little media coverage of the astounding events unfolding in Westminster this week.
Chancellor George Osborne has been forced to tear up a large part of the budget he announced just a week ago and promise not to make big cuts to the Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) of disabled people — while cutting the taxes of the rich by the same amount.
The public outrage at this, as the mainstream media suddenly discovered after six years that the disabled have been bearing the brunt of the austerity cuts while the rich have been enjoying tax cuts, prompted the resignation of former Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith, who suddenly discovered he had a conscience.
That discovery may also have been related to recent High Court orders under the Freedom of Information Act that the Government must reveal the impact its introduction of Universal Credit will have on claimants and the statistics for deaths, including many suicides, of long-rem sickness and disability claimants who have been ordered to look for work or had their benefits “sanctioned”.
That resignation rocked Cameron’s government as other Tories suddenly started discovering their consciences.
Jeremy Corbyn demanded a debate on the cuts to PIPs but the Tories dodged that by saying they were withdrawing it and rethinking the budget — an unprecedented scenario.
But it leaves disabled people in a quandary, not knowing whether the cuts have been abandoned or will they re-appear in some other equally damaging form. No one is betting that Osborne will solve the money sums by raising the taxes on the rich.
On Wednesday a large group of people with disabilities invaded the Houses of Parliament but were prevented by stewards from entering the chamber of the House of Commons.
A BBC hack was ordered to stop filming an interview with the campaigners, because it is now against the law to film “this sort of thing” inside Parliament.
Nevertheless Green Party MP Caroline Lucas managed to film herself with the campaigners using her less conspicuous mobile phone. She sent them a message: “Congrats to disability campaigners for protest currently taking place in central lobby — their voices must be heard.”
One of the campaigners, Claire Glasman, of WinVisible, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, said: “We are lobbying MPs to make sure the budget cuts to PIP do not go ahead and ask them to reverse the cuts to other ones. People are suicidal.”
Paula Peters, of Disabled People Against the Cuts, said the group wanted “an apology from George Osborne for the deaths of disabled people” and accused the Government of having “blood on its hands”.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, called on David Cameron to apologise for having worried disabled people, and urged him to reverse the ESA cuts. He said: “If it’s all so fine and dandy, then the question has to be asked: why did Mr Duncan Smith feel it necessary to resign as Work and Pensions secretary, complaining that the cuts being announced were to fit our three fiscal targets?
Corbyn made the point that these cuts were not necessary fiscally but based on extreme right wing political views.
Cameron responded claiming that “after seven years of economic growth” his government felt the need to create a budget surplus for a rainy day. “I don’t want to be part of a government that doesn’t have the courage to pay off our debts and leave them instead to our children and grandchildren and that is the truth,” he said. “What is dressed up as compassion from Labour just means putting off difficult decisions and asking our children to pay the debts we weren’t prepared to pay ourselves.”
He said this while defending the tax cuts for the rich.
The mood of the broad anti-austerity movement is rising, with calls for a general strike coming even from the top of the giant union Unite. This call is gaining strength though other unions are hesitant about the legality of it. No date has been set but 4th July has been suggested.
But there is no reason we cannot demand from the rooftops that this shambles of government should pack its bags and resign at once.
There will be a big People’s Assembly march on 16th April in London assembling a 1pm in Gower Street near Euston to march to a rally in Trafalgar Square.