As Polly Toynbee points out today is a defining moment for the Tories and their sycophantic partners who allowed this day to happen. A class war is declared as benefits are cut, the health service is changed beyond recognition and justice is dependent on the ability to pay. This is not to mention what is happening to education as schools are destroyed, handed over to mercenary chains of companies that have shown their ineptitude at running prisons, the Olympic Games or whatever they have been able to hoover up to feed their insatiable greed. Minister Ian Duncan Smith says he could manage on £53 a week. On which planet? We should send him there.
It has been the avowed aim of the Tories to roll back the state. The idea of “cradle to grave” support originated in World War 2 when the Beveridge Report was written, the Labour government implementing ideas it contained, including a National Health Service.
A group of MPs from the 2010 intake saw it as a mission to decrease state intervention, allowing individuals the freedom to thrive (or not). Today it is the catch word “austerity” used to buy acquiescence from a huge swathe of voters, but given the stated intention to do this anyway makes it look the contrived vehicle it is.
Benefit reduction affecting the most vulnerable coupled with tax reduction for the most wealthy offers a high relief view of what this government intends. While we know what a Tory looks like once more Liberal Democrat supporters should be profoundly shocked. Somehow they survived at the Eastleigh bye-election, buying time for their beleaguered leader Nick Clegg. “I’ve always said ‘scratch a Lib-Dem and you’ll find a Tory'” intoned a friend. Too bloody right! But what about Labour?
Liam Byrne has long sounded indistinguishable from IDS on calling on the http://blogs.channel4.com/jackie-long-on-social-affairs/no-fairytale-ending-for-osbornes-welfare-reforms/638 invention of the ruling elite to get off benefits and into work. There are many examples of the agency ATOS, paid to ensure the unfit are press-ganged back into employment, unemployable as they may be. Labour MP Michael Meacher speaks of a secret deal between Labour and government in this respect. Labour has shed crocodile tears today about the dire hardships being faced. Is that the extent of opposition?
For a Socialist alternative look elsewhere.
40th anniversary Saltley Gate, Birmingham, 1972.