Title: Fight the Cuts!
The Coalition Government is cutting public services, making hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed and undermining welfare. Nothing will be left untouched. Schools, universities, local services, health care and benefits are all to be cutback, sold-off or lost completely.
Our leaders want us to believe that these cuts are inevitable, but they are deliberate policies, pursued to appease global financial markets at the expense of ordinary people. This is an attack on our communities.
Of the 23 people in the cabinet, 17 are millionaires (it was 18 before David Laws was forced to resign) and 12 went to public or independent schools. These people are insulated from the effects of their policies by their privilege and wealth.
Chancellor George Osborne (real name Gideon), for instance, is worth an estimated £4 million and is heir to the Baronetcy of Osborne. What does he know about life for somebody in a council house in Nottingham? Or a destitute pensioner? Or somebody on the dole?
We shouldn’t forget this, no matter how many times they try and tell us, “We’re all in this together.”
Obviously, everybody hates the Tories, but we shouldn’t have any illusions about the Labour Party. It was Labour who failed to control the banks leading to the credit crunch and Labour who spent billions bailing the banks out out. In Nottingham, it is the Labour-run city council who are actually implementing the cuts.
City councillors have made it clear that they will do nothing to fight the cuts. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Twenty years ago, the same council – and many of the same councillors – implemented the hated Tory-initiated Poll Tax. We beat them then and can beat them again.
If we want to defeat the cuts we need a strong, independent movement. This is already beginning to emerge locally and nationally. In Nottingham, the meeting to set the budget was disrupted by protesters and workers at the county council have been on strike against cuts there. In London, students turned their anger on the Tory Party HQ in Millbank and as many as half a million people demonstrated on March 26th.
Defeating the cuts will not be easy, but it is not impossible. The government are already on the back foot: public pressure compelled them to abandon plans to sell-off publicly-owned forests; mounting criticism has forced the postponement of the Social Care and Health Bill which would have privatised large sections of the NHS; and student protests over the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) forced the government to introduce a partial replacement.
Even the smallest actions can be important: talk to people at your workplace or in your community; if you’re in work, consider joining a trade union and getting involved; join one of the anti-cuts groups or, if there’s an issue you’re particularly concerned about, start your own group and call a protest (remember to invite us). Individually we can be picked off, but together we can start to fightback.