The Tories wasted no time in gearing up for new attacks on the working class after their shock general election victory last week.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street with a sickeningly smug face, David Cameron claimed we were all “one nation” and the new all-Tory government would be “fair”.
But he was already preparing to launch class war on millions of ordinary people.
Within hours Tory MPs were laying out plans for the devastating new round of cuts they want to rush through in the next three years.
The head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, has said Tory plans could mean cuts of more than 5 percent in 2016-17 and in 2017-18.
This would be “twice the size of any year’s cuts” during Cameron’s first term.
The hated Iain Duncan Smith has been dragged out of the shadows where he was kept hidden during the election campaign. He is back as work and pensions secretary, ready to unleash £12 billion worth of cuts to welfare spending.
This is the man who said it was “ridiculous” to blame the government for the fact that almost a million people in Britain are forced to resort to food banks to feed themselves. He wants to limit child benefit to the first two children, despite Cameron’s denials. This would affect a million families.
He also wants to lower the benefit cap, which has already pushed people into poverty, from £26,000 to £23,000 a year.
Cameron’s favourite and the architect of austerity, George Osborne, remains chancellor—and has been rewarded with a promotion to first secretary of state.
As Socialist Worker went to press Osborne was talking about calling an emergency budget to announce the next austerity attacks.
Former education secretary Michael Gove returned to the cabinet less than a year after Cameron demoted him to defuse teachers’ fury. He is now justice secretary with a mission to repeal the Human Rights Act.
The Tories are looking to cut a staggering £30 billion worth of public spending. But during the election campaign they refused to give details.
Now they have to admit just how hard they are going to hit some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Documents leaked days before the election revealed some of the proposals the Department for Work and Pensions was considering.
These include abolishing statutory maternity pay, stopping young people under 25 claiming incapacity or housing benefit, and taking carers’ allowance away from 40 percent of those who claim it.
The next five years are not just about austerity.
The Tories want to attack the rights of migrants, abolish lifelong council tenancies and limit trade union rights. Theresa May is defying requests to allow refugees into Britain.
They plan to ban strikes if they aren’t backed by 40 percent fo those entitled to vote, denying workers’ the right to take action on a simple majority.
Yet they received only 37 percent of votes cast in the general election themselves. The Tories can’t count on the support of most people.
They only won because Labour failed to pose a serious alternative.
And while they are delighted to be free from the need to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, this also leaves them with a much thinner majority in parliament. The Tory right will get its referendum on the European Union that could seriously divide the party.
The Tories’ proposals will fill millions with horror. The question is whether this can be turned into anger—and a willingness to fight.
Cameron hopes the working class will be crushed by his victory. We have to use every opportunity to prove him wrong.
Surrender to austerity costs Clegg and Miliband their job
While the Tories are driving through their plans for their first 100 days, the Labour Party is in disarray. Ed Miliband resigned as Labour leader within hours of the final election results.
The battle for a new leader began with various Blairite figures touring the television studios on the Sunday after the election denouncing the Miliband campaign. They declared it too left wing and more concerned with zero hours workers than “aspiring” middle class voters.
This view is an excuse to drive the Labour Party even further to the right to chase votes from Ukip and the Tories.
But workers who looked to Labour in vain to oppose the Tories’ attacks know that painting Miliband as a left wing firebrand is rewriting history.
Miliband tied Labour to austerity, declared that it had to be tougher on immigration and blocked with the Tories to defend the Union against Scottish independence.
Pushing the agenda even further to the right will only ensure Labour will not offer any sort of alternative to the Tories.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg also resigned after a catastrophic election. The Lib Dems are down to only eight MPs from 56.
Voters did not forgive them for keeping a vicious Tory government in office. They have been reduced from a party in government to no more than a footnote to the national political picture.
To add insult to injury the Scottish National Party, as the new third party in Westminster, is demanding its right to occupy the large suite of offices traditionally used by the Lib Dems.