Monday, March 11, 2024

Robbing the poor

Though the Tories care little or nothing for the working people they exploit to keep the bourgeoisie in clover they have to pose, like virtuous Roman Senators, as impartial governors of the state machine  –  especially in the run-up to the general election. When the going is good the bourgeoisie will sacrifice a tiny fraction of their immense wealth to maintain the health service and what’s left of the “welfare state”. When times hard – and they certainly are now as we enter the 16th  year of a recession that still shows no sign of recovery – they will try to pass the entire burden onto the backs of the workers with austerity measures that they call the “national interest”.
This week’s Spring Budget was no exception. Jeremy Hunt tinkers around income tax and national insurance contributions but at the end of the day it was as Keir Starmer said "just another short-term cynical political gimmick”.
This is a budget for the wealthy drawn up a government that represents the ruling class. People on low incomes or benefits will be hit by cuts in the social wage. Pensioners face an average £1,000 hit to their incomes because of the tax changes. The Labour leader says the Tories “give with one hand and take even more with the other" and "nothing they do between not and the election will change that” – and on this occasion he’s quite right. But Labour has nothing to offer in exchange. 
The renationalisation of all the utilities, industries and services that were once in public ownership would pour billions back into the Treasury. The health service could be rescued by restoring the wealth and profit taxes of the Wilson era and scrapping the Trident nuclear arms system could easily provide the funds to end the homelessness crisis. But the Starmer leadership is committed to maintaining the tax-break regime that began after the Tory come-back in 1979  
Paul Nowak, the General Secretary of the TUC slammed “a deeply cynical budget” packed with “wishful thinking on productivity and pre- election gimmicks”.  We need a government that will take responsibility for growth, Nowak said, with stronger public services and strengthened public infrastructure not least to meet the climate crisis. For working people up and down the country a change of government cannot come to soon.
Indeed. We will all be glad to see the back of Sunak. But we’ve also got to defeat the class collaborators and bureaucrats who run Labour and most of the unions these days. If we don’t we can only expect the same again from Starmer & Co.

A slap in the face for Starmer

Galloway bagged almost 40 per cent of the vote in the Rochdale by-election last week that was dominated by the war in Gaza. Starmer and the sad-sack Blairites that surround him told us that the average Labour voter wasn’t interested in Palestine. Last week proved them wrong.
Though there is a substantial Muslim minority in Rochdale the swing to Galloway and his new Workers’ Party of Britain went far beyond the Muslim community. Disowning their own candidate for supporting Palestine and making remarks deemed to be “anti-Semitic” by the Starmer bureaucracy didn’t help Labour either.
Galloway says he believes his win will “spark a movement, a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates in scores of parliamentary constituencies”. But, of course, we’ve heard all this before.
The MP kicked out of Labour for opposing the imperialist invasion of Iraq in 2003 returned to Parliament on two previous occasion on his old Respect platform. But Respect never took off as a national party. Whether Galloway is third-time lucky this time round remains to be seen but without the mass support of the union movement that seems unlikely. 
Nevertheless George Galloway’s victory was a slap in the face for Starmer & Co. It augurs well for Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election in London and it was a warning shot to Labour to never take their traditional vote for granted. Now it’s their turn to look over their shoulder. Let them wonder where their slavish support for Israeli aggression and boot-licking the Americans is taking them...   

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