THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 8th December 2017


Tory delusions

THE JOSEPH Rowntree foundation this week issued yet another report showing that poverty is growing in real terms, especially amongst children and pensioners.

Almost 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners are now living in poverty than in 2012/13. Since that year, there have been continued increases in poverty, across both age groups.

But Tory spokespersons are still wheeling out the old myth that the poverty that is growing is only relative poverty but not absolute poverty — “like they have in Africa”. The Tories claim that everyone’s living standards have been rising so much that those once though of as comfortably well off are now lagging behind the majority.

They are absolutely wrong. When a Birmingham primary school headmistress reports that on Fridays at school dinners children are cramming food into their pockets to take home because there is little or no food at home for them over the weekend, that is absolute poverty.

When the incidence of rickets and other diseases associated with poor diet and hunger are increasing, that is absolute poverty.

The Tories then try to shift the blame on to parents who “don’t know how to manage” or are “substance abusers” and again they are lying.

Most low-income parents, whether they are on minimum wages or on benefits or a mixture of the two, are struggling with soaring rents, sky-high domestic fuel costs, rising travel costs, rising food costs and trying to pay back emergency loans at interest rates that would be illegal in any civilised society. Once the bills are paid there is very little left for food. Buy food instead of paying bills and you are deeper in debt and the weekly burden of repayments is higher.

Tories say that foodbanks are growing because “free food is always popular”. But it is not given to anyone who cannot prove they are in desperate need. To get food from a food bank you need a voucher from the social services and/or written proof that you have no income from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Foodbanks only dish out three-days’ worth of food at a time. But you can only claim it now and again.

Tories see, usually on television in a news report or documentary, the inside of the homes of the poor and see clean furniture and wide screen television sets — bought some time ago. These are capital goods that last when bought but are not edible. They cannot be exchanged for money or food. In our high-pressure consumer society there is virtually no market for second-hand electronic and household goods.

The biggest single cause of real and absolute poverty is low wages, and the cause of low wages are the anti-trade union laws that prevent workers from fighting for a fair deal for the work they do.So the Tories can stand up in the House of Commons and tell their usual absolute lies about how they are tackling poverty or this or that social problem whilst providing no funding at all to carry out their imaginary programmes, and pretend everything is getting better and that their policies are working.

The policies are working for them — with their £billions stashed away in tax havens they are getting wealthier and happier by the day. They are in denial about the absolute hell they are creating for millions of people and they don’t want to know. They hold us in contempt; they think us stupid and lazy and that whatever happens to us is our own fault.

And it is our fault in as much as we let them get away with it. But people are waking up and getting organised around a mass struggle to get Jeremy Corbyn elected as Prime Minister. That will be an advance comparable to the election of a Labour government in 1945. But that struggle cannot end there. We must prepare to sweep away the whole lousy capitalist system or it will just creep back again as it did before.