Socialist Worker

Divided Britain

Issue No. 1676

So why won't Labour take action?

TONY BLAIR this week claimed it was wrong to talk of a north-south divide in Britain. There are 'haves' and 'have nots' in all parts of Britain, he said. That is true. Class, the reality New Labour denies, is the biggest divide in every area, not geography.

But it is Blair's New Labour government which is presiding over growing inequalities. Blair does not talk of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. Instead he has the gall to suggest that 'all parts of Britain are benefiting from more jobs.' This simply flies in the face of the reality for those workers in the north east of England or in Scotland or elsewhere who have been made redundant. And in line with New Labour's 'business friendly' philosophy, those who do have a job are forced to bow down to the god of flexibility. That means working horrendous shifts which threaten physical and emotional health. Those who can't work-because they have been sacked or are disabled or single parents-face benefit cuts and moral lectures.

For all Blair's talk of creating a 'modern' Britain, we face a growing gap between rich and poor. Yet nearly one in four of Europe's super-rich live in Britain-and New Labour assures them their loot is safe from any extra tax demands. Poverty means broken, stunted lives and early death. This government has totally failed to tackle it. Instead it is handing out even more money to the rich who feed off the exploitation of the rest of us.

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Sat 11 Dec 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1676
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