Socialist Worker

The hateful Tories unite to attack us

A budget of cuts for working class people is one thing the bitterly divided Tory party can still agree on, writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans

Issue No. 2495

The junior doctors strikes last week were a sign of the growing anger against the Tories attacks

The junior doctors' strikes last week were a sign of the growing anger against the Tories' attacks (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Tory chancellor George Osborne plans accelerated attacks on working class people in the budget this week.

The Tories said they would slash at least another £4 billion of public spending.

Osborne is desperately trying to deal with two mounting crises—in British capitalism and within a Tory party at war with itself.

His predictions about “recovery” have once again turned out to be smoke and mirrors.

Osborne now warns that the world is a “dangerous place” and that Britain is “not immune to what’s going on”.

For the second time in a month he declared he had discovered that the British economy was smaller than he thought.

The budget comes as the European Central Bank cuts the base interest rate to -0.4 percent. That means banks have to pay to deposit their money in a safe place.

It was another sign of the European Union (EU) sliding into slump—just as David Cameron and Osborne are fighting for Britain to remain within it.

Top accountants PwC have said that the Tories’ forecasts could be out by £50 billion by 2020.

Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers have used fears of rebellion to influence Osborne’s budget. Osborne now hopes to unite the Tories around attacking working class people.

In the face of criticism, he snorted that £4 billion was “not a huge amount in the scheme of things”.

Osborne should tell that to the over half a million disabled people who rely on the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit.

Strip 

The Tories want to strip up to £150 a week from as many as 640,000 people by 2020.

That’s on top of the decimation of disability benefit, social care and the NHS after more than half a decade of austerity.

The NHS is sliding further into crisis. Patient waiting times for accident and emergency (A&E) are the worst since 2004 and 51,000 patients have been forced to wait on trolleys for four hours or more.

It will take real resistance to break the Tories.

The junior doctors’ walkouts are a sign of the growing anger against the government.

The support they have received is another. Some 65 percent of people back their action, an Ipsos Mori poll suggested last week.

Around 8,000 people marched against the Tories’ housing bill last week in another sign of the mood for a fightback.

Every activist needs to build solidarity with these struggles and build initiatives such as the People’s Assembly demonstration on Saturday 16 April.

It’s also essential to pressure the union leaders to start fighting, and calling the kind of action that can hit back hard.

The Tories are divided—it’s time our side put the boot in.


Labour right plots coup against Corbyn 

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have rightly attacked Tory austerity.

But McDonnell has also laid out a new “fiscal responsibility rule”, essentially borrowed from austerity-lite former shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

It commits a Labour government to balancing “day to day” spending, but still allow borrowing for long-term investment.

Without a package to scrap Trident, tax the rich and increase public ownership this will mean working class people pay for a crisis they didn’t create.

McDonnell’s plan won’t appease the Labour right, who are on a renewed offensive against the Corbyn leadership.

Even deputy leader Tom Watson was forced to tell both sides to cool off last week.

The Labour right is on manoeuvres and is hoping to parachute Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis into the leadership if Labour does badly in the May elections.

Nick Clark 


Day of action for benefits

Protesters across Britain held a day of action against benefit sanctions on Wednesday of last week.

It was called by the Unite union’s Community section.

In London Gill Thompson led a march on the Department for Work and Pensions office.

Her diabetic brother David Clapson’s death was linked to benefit sanctions.

Outside Portsmouth job centre, activists used street theatre to draw attention to people who have taken their own lives after their benefits were sanctioned.

Unite said 70 job centres saw protests.

Benefit sanctions cut off unemployed people’s income to penalise minor failures to comply with job centre procedures or prove they’re looking for a job.

This can leave people destitute for weeks or even months at a time.


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