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March on Tory Party Conference – 29 September

The illusion has been shattered. The austerity coalition – which was cobbled together by David Cameron and Nick Clegg after the election, on a set of policies never put to the people – can be beaten.

When the government lost the vote to send Britain hurtling into another war, millions of people rejoiced. Not just because parliament stopped another military adventure, but also because it weakened this illegitimate, welfare-cutting, income-sapping government.

The number of unemployed remains at 2.5 million, with nearly a million youth out of work and the same figure for the long-term jobless – a 20-year high.

Average wages have declined in real terms by 5.5 per cent since 2010. In Europe, only Greek, Portuguese and Dutch workers have fared worse.

All state pensions and benefits have lost value, too, as rising food, fuel, transport and housing costs cause millions to fall below the breadline and resort to food banks. Child poverty has risen to 3.5 million: more than one in four.

Meanwhile the rich get richer. Corporation tax and the top rate of income tax have been slashed, while evasion and avoidance schemes are in hot demand. The top 1 per cent now take home 10 per cent of the country’s income, while the bottom half of society get by on just 18 per cent of the UK’s wages.

Fightback

That’s why tens of thousands are marching on the Tory party conference in Manchester on 29 September.

Unions like Unite and Unison are laying on trains and coaches. Antiracists, environmental campaigners and benefits activists will also converge on the bosses’ party. This issue unites us all.

Workers in Crown Post Offices and Royal Mail are set to strike this autumn against job cuts, closures, the pay freeze and privatization. Teachers and firefighters are also in line to take action on a national scale.

NHS workers from West Yorkshire to East London are defending jobs, services and conditions by mounting pickets. They follow a magnificent victory for campaigners fighting to keep Lewisham A&E open.

General strike

But the truth is that our NHS remains in mortal danger. If Cameron, George Osborne and Jeremy Hunt get away with it, this will go down in history as the government that dismantled and privatized the NHS.

Even if there were no other crippling cuts – of which there are very, very many – this callous attack would be enough to warrant a general strike.

Cameron has lied through his teeth on the NHS. He claimed he would “cut the deficit not the NHS” – in fact the deficit remains high, while the NHS is facing historic cuts of £20 billion.

The Tory’s 2010 manifesto said nothing about handing the NHS budget over to private healthcare multinationals and the likes of Virgin and Sainsbury to make a profit. But that is what they have done.

So let’s get as many people down to Manchester and surround the conference venue with shouts for a general strike to save the NHS, stop all the cuts and bring down the government.

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