Socialist Worker

Politicians might bicker, but they all still want austerity

Issue No. 2313


It’s a little unnerving when the representatives of global capitalism say we need to make fewer cuts.

But that’s exactly what happened last week. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared that austerity in Britain isn’t working.

It said that self-proclaimed saviour of the economy, George Osborne, should think about spending more instead.

The Tories claim we have to suffer short term pain for long term gain. Now even the IMF has admitted that the real agenda is short term pain for long term pain.

As David Cameron cheerily put it last week, “I don’t see a time when difficult spending choices are going to go away”.

Of course, the IMF hasn’t come around to being on the side of ordinary people. It’s just had a touch of Labourism. So it still wants cuts—but just at a slower pace.

And it stressed that Osborne should stick with his attacks on welfare and public sector pay.

The IMF warned that the cuts could lead to “permanent” damage to the economy—by which it means the bosses’ ability to make profit.

Of course the Tories know there’s a risk of permanent damage—to our services and welfare state. That’s why they’re making the cuts in the first place.

But they’ll throw any amount of money at the rich in the name of “solving” the crisis. So the Bank of England chucked more money at the banks this month as part of its “quantitive easing” strategy”. So far it’s made £375 billion available. It hasn’t solved the crisis.

The Tories pretend to be giving money to bosses to encourage them to invest. But it seems bosses prefer to take the money and run. A report last week showed that the global rich have stashed away at least £13 trillion to avoid tax.

Whatever the criticisms of Osborne, the entire political establishment has lined up to attack ordinary people and protect the rich. It shows up a system that’s rotten to the core.


Fruitless bullets

Hilariously the Home Office accounts has a section called “fruitless payments”. In it appears a purchase of rubber bullets for £427,000 in the wake of last summer’s riots.

But they can’t use them—because they don’t meet UK safety standards. How exactly rubber bullets can be defined as “safe” is left unclear.


Ultra unsound

Could a new Margaret Thatcher be on the way? Mark and Dawn Smith from Kent found an uncanny resemblance to the hated Tory leader in an ultrasound image.“It was a bit of shock,” Mark said. He added that if the baby was a girl “we’re totally anti-Tory so she won’t be a Maggie”.


Olympic rules—you couldn’t bake it up!

Police descended on a south London bakery last week, ordering the removal of a display of bagels in the formation of the Olympic rings.

It seems the official Olympic sponsors want to keep all the dough for themselves. Councillor Richard Livingstone admitted the move was an “overreaction”.

But is the crackdown being imposed to everyone equally? Royal relatives the Middletons are advertising goods to help us all “celebrate the Games” on their Party Pieces website.

They include a ring toss game with Olympic coloured rings. But strangely there are no reports of the brand police descending on them.


Senator riled

US senator Harry Reid may have taken good-hearted Olympic xenophobia a little too far. He called on the US Olympic committee to put US athletes’ uniforms “in a big pile and burn them”—because they were made in China.


Are you a boss? Stand for Labour!

Ah, the Labour Party, always right on the pulse of how ordinary people are feeling. It unveiled another great idea for winning over voters last week—getting more bosses to stand as Labour candidates.

“Many people who go into business share our values,” claimed shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

He added that the move followed the setting up of “NG: Next Generation, the party’s entrepreneurs network”. No doubt people will be queuing up to vote for them.


We don’t care for Blair

Not everyone is happy about Tony Blair’s political comeback. An opinion poll earlier this month asked people what they thought of the statement: “Tony Blair still has a lot to offer this country”.

Some 61 percent disagreed. Just 25 percent agreed that Ed Miliband is a good Labour leader.


Faulty firm

AP Security is the latest firm to be hit by an Olympic scandal. It was hired to provide stewards at the Games, but it breached agreements by subcontracting work out to Tungsten SIA.

Tungsten allegedly gave trainees fake documents for safety qualifications, and gave no first aid training even though stewards may have to give medical aid.


A stunning victory for the Troublemaker

Due to pressure from Socialist Worker’s the Troublemaker, multinational corporations backed down from an Olympic tax scam.

Last week we showed how firms sponsoring the Olympics were set to take advantage of a temporary tax break to avoid around £600 million in tax.

The day after the story was printed, McDonalds declared it would forego its tax break. Coca-Cola then did the same.

The Troublemaker will be watching closely to see if they keep to their word.


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The Troublemaker
Tue 24 Jul 2012, 16:43 BST
Issue No. 2313
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