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Let’s break the Coalition – before it breaks us

WHEN THE 2010 general election produced no outright winner, uncertainty gripped the markets: would a weak government push

austerity hard enough? But within weeks the champagne was flowing once more in City pubs and Tory shires, with Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of huge cuts. Andy Yorke writes

The Tory and Lib Dem Coalition are using this capitalist crisis to launch part two of the revolution that Thatcher began in 1979. Their aim is quite simply to destroy the post-war welfare state. This cabinet of 23 millionaires is openly a government of the top 1 per cent of bankers and millionaires who own 21 per cent of all private wealth.

The National Health Service (NHS), education, welfare, social housing and pensions are all being broken up, cut back and opened to a swarm of profiteers. But there are still untold billions for bank bailouts and bombs, while Britain descends deeper into economic and social decline.

Both parties in this illegitimate government won votes under false pretences. Middle class and student voters, who fell for Lib Dem promises to oppose tuition fees, were furious when Nick Clegg supported the Tories.

A government built on lies
His grovelling “apology” to them backfired when it was instantly mashed up on YouTube and millions laughed at his insincerity.

For their part, Tory promises that the NHS was safe in their hands, with real funding rises and no more “top-down reorganisations”, were ripped up within weeks of the election.

The Health Act, which has hit the NHS with an avalanche of privatisation, followed efficiency “savings” worth £20 billion of cuts in real terms.

Now David Cameron has reshuffled his cabinet even further to the right, aiming to create headlines bashing Europe and immigration, and pushing law and order buttons, to distract people from austerity and other unpopular policies. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, for example, wasted no time coming out with his view that the time limit on abortions should be halved to 12 weeks.

This widely hated Coalition holds together because both parties, and especially the Lib Dems, have no option but to cling to each other and sit it out in government. It’s not polls but a mass action and a general strike that will kick these millionaire axemen out of power.

Before the election, George Osborne said that “we’re all in this together”, that everyone would make sacrifices to clear the debt. After the election, Cameron said cuts would be “open, responsible and fair” and that “we must take the whole country with us”. And they certainly have: they’ve taken us to the cleaners!

Rebooting profits
The bosses hope to use Tory austerity to boost profits at our expense, slashing labour costs by destroying the welfare state and breaking the public sector unions at the core of the today’s labour movement.

Taken as a whole, this involves a series of obvious, brutal transfers from the 99 per cent to the super-rich:
• Austerity Slashing state spending by £83 billion while raising taxes on the working class, by hiking National Insurance rates and VAT.
• Privatisation Outsourcing the few remaining public services, to create new sources of profit and new brands for the global market. Virgin and Serco are already eating into the £100 billion NHS budget by taking over the management of local health services.
• Two-tier services Market forces in education and health will provide an increasingly paid-for service for the affluent, and a shrinking, shoestring service for the rest. University tuition fees of £9,000 a year, central state funding for selective Academies and “free schools”, and Gove’s new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) will mean the end of comprehensive education, pushing working class kids away from university and into low-paid jobs.
• Attacking public sector workers’ pensions, pay, and jobs With 880,000 jobs predicted to be cut by 2017, this will mean the smallest public sector since the Second World War, making roughly the same number of private sector workers unemployed, and hitting women workers particularly hard.

• Slashing workers’ rights Attacking employment rights, access to legal aid, pensions and (especially) benefits will create a new low wage, super-exploited workforce, with workfare schemes to force the unemployed to work for free (massaging unemployment statistics in the process).

Trade unions if they resist this process are to be broken, with draconian new rules on balloting, and injunctions and army scabbing to break strikes. Meanwhile no amount of corporate welfare – Olympics contracts, workfare or Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts – is too much for the big monopolies like Virgin, Tesco and Balfour Beatty.

Britain in decline
After four years of a double-dip recession the wealthy are doing just fine, while the rest of us are being squeezed. Unemployment stays stuck at 2.6 million; hands eager for work are kept idle, while a housing shortage sees rising rents and homelessness. Boardroom pay and bankers’ bonuses rise while our wages – for those of us lucky enough to have a job – stay flat.

The Tories say they want to make Britain a more competitive and export-oriented economy. But as The Economist has noted, Coalition policies will instead boost the same service and financial sectors whose domination of the economy was a feature of the great financial crisis of 2008.

The trillion pound bank bailout that followed it saw the capitalist class loot the state’s coffers. It was their bubble of speculation that torpedoed the rest of the economy and created the 2009 recession, deepening the crisis of state finances and adding to the debt. We didn’t cause this crisis, why should we pay for it?

Workers must struggle to break this wave of austerity, renounce the debts, and kick out the Tories. It’s we, and not the bankers, who can run a productive economy, to end poverty and fulfill human needs instead of private profit.

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