Socialist Worker

Coalition in turmoil - Kick 'em while they’re down

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2247

The government has had a terrible week.

A serious row about its health “reforms” has exposed tensions at the heart of the coalition, as politicians rushed to distance themselves from its plans.

Ministers are terrified at the thought of mass working class resistance to cuts.

Tories and Lib Dems are also tearing each other apart over the looming referendum on the Alternative Vote system. Both parties are dreading next month’s elections, fearing the public will give them a drubbing.

Fury at the government has reached such levels that even Nick Clegg’s son asks why everyone hates his “papa”.

All of this shows something very important—the government isn’t as strong as it likes to pretend, and action can force them into retreats.

Privatising the NHS is supposed to be one their flagship policies. But the scale of the crisis is such that Clegg’s chief political advisor, Norman Lamb, this week threatened to resign unless the plan is ditched.

David Cameron has now promised “to pause, to listen, to reflect”.

Of course, the threat to the health service has not gone away. But the coalition’s backpedaling reveals its fears.

Major trade unions are talking about coordinating strikes. This could see a million workers out on strike together against the government.

Already teachers, lecturers and civil service workers are preparing for joint action in June. That workers across Britain will cheer them on is making our rulers panic.

A study of 400 businesses this week found that more than 70 percent of bosses predict that more strikes will come in the next 12 months. A third say they expect strikes in their own firms.

The government repeats its ­mantra that cuts are the only way out of recession. But its lies look increasingly threadbare as the crisis deepens.

Unemployment figures were due as Socialist Worker went to press. As the International Monetary Fund slashed its forecast for economic growth in Britain, it revised upward its predictions for unemployment.

It now expects unemployment to hit nearly 8 percent this year. Youth unemployment is now expected to reach one million.

The scale of last month’s TUC protest against cuts revealed the extent of the anger towards the government.

Every strike and protest can act as a beacon of resistance. And every act of resistance can in turn build the momentum for bigger strikes.

Together we can bring this government down.


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Tue 12 Apr 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2247
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