- Friday, 26 October 2012
- Written by Socialist Appeal editorial
Splits and divisions are haunting the Coalition. Such a situation could not have come at a worse time for Cameron and Osborne, as they sharpen their knives for further cuts.
The whole Establishment stinks. The cynical police cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster goes to the very top of the state. The chief constable of West Yorkshire police, Sir Norman Bettison, “boasted” about having helped “concoct” the evidence. It reveals how the powers-that-be operate against working people.
Hillsborough has now been followed by the South Yorkshire police fabrications over the Orgreave mass picketing during the 1984-5 miners’ strike, where 95 miners were falsely charged with serious crimes of riot and unlawful assembly. The police chiefs were clearly acting under orders from Thatcher and the state security forces to demonise the “enemy within.”
Now we have a further cover-up at the highest levels of the BBC over the Jimmy Savile affair, which is likely to become the biggest ever crisis faced by the Corporation. Labour MP Tom Watson says there is evidence of a powerful paedophile ring linked to parliament and beyond. Papers have even raised links to the Royal family. The whole system is rotten and coming apart at the seams as scandal after scandal appears.
The Murdoch scandal exposed the collusion between the press barons, the police chiefs and the government. Clearly, this is still continuing, despite claims to the contrary. New allegations of phone hacking have been laid at the door of the Daily Mirror and the People.
In the meantime, judges have recently ruled that Prince Charles’ correspondence with government ministers cannot be disclosed for fear of “compromising” the heir to the throne. This unelected parasite has more “influence” than those who vote.
For the ruling class, democracy is a device and nothing more. It is they who take the real decisions behind closed doors in their posh clubs and penthouses.
The Coalition is in disarray with Cameron’s back-peddling over energy pricing, and the forced resignation of Andrew Mitchell, the Tory chief whip, over allegedly calling police officers “plebs”. They are stumbling from one blunder to the next.
“Most of my time is spent on day-to-day crisis management,” admitted Oliver Dowden, Cameron’s deputy chief of staff.
“This dog of a coalition government has let itself be given a bad name and now anyone can beat it”, said arch-Thatcherite Lord Tebbit, who stuck in the boot.
We would agree. There has never been a better time to get rid of this millionaire government.
However, the October 20 demonstration, organised by the TUC, was a half-hearted affair compared to last year. Far more is needed than simply another protest march. Workers are looking for action, not words.
That is why a motion was passed at this year’s TUC to consider the practicalities of organizing a general strike. Most unions came behind this due to the growing pressure from below to act. However, the TUC leadership is dragging its feet.
At the same time, the Labour leaders are not offering any real alternative to the Coalition’s austerity. All they are offering is austerity “lite”. It was no accident that Ed Balls was heckled at the TUC for supporting a wage freeze. It was no accident that Ed Miliband was booed at the TUC demonstration when he said a Labour government would have to take “hard decisions”, namely, carry through the Tory cuts, but in a different way. But cuts are cuts. It is the choice between death by hanging or by firing squad.
This is where attempting to patch up capitalism gets you. The idea that you can have “responsible” capitalism is a sham.
Ed Miliband has now become the champion of Disraeli’s “One Nation “ Toryism. As if the office cleaner has the same interests as the millionaire landowner, or the nurse the same interests as the City banker. The nature of capitalism is a class-ridden society.
The rich have never been richer, while the gulf between rich and poor has never been greater.
While Miliband quoted Disraeli, George Osborne sickeningly misquoted Marx at the Tory party conference, in urging workers to unite to “sell” their rights at work, for instance, against discrimination on grounds of sex or race, or unfair dismissal. They want to make it easy for employers to sack workers by doing away with so-called restrictive “red tape”.
With Britain’s economy shrinking this year, we will see more attacks on workers’ living standards. With the recession continuing, the Coalition has missed its austerity target. The scene is now being set for a new round of austerity cuts.
And yet there is no end to this. The austerity programme is serving to drag the economy down further by slashing purchasing power. The shrinking economy in turn drives up the deficit which demands even more cuts. It is a vicious downward spiral.
There is a crazy logic to this. Capitalism is based on the drive for profits. Capitalism in crisis can no longer afford the reforms of the past. Living standards must be driven down, while workers must work harder and longer for less. This is today’s reality for millions.
There are those who talk of increasing spending, such as the Keynsian economists. But spending must either come from taxing the working class or taxing the capitalists. If you tax the workers you will simply cut into demand, but if you tax the monopolies more they will cut back on investment. Either way, the system still suffers.
Today, the world economy is slowing down. What we have today in a crisis of capitalism brought on by over-production.
This is over-production not due to need but through producing commodities that cannot be sold at a profit. This is the basic contradiction of capitalism.
It is this that produces mass unemployment, poverty wages and falling living standards.
There are huge productive resources in society but they cannot be fully used under capitalism. Farmers are paid to leave their land idle. Industry runs at 70% of capacity at the present time. Millions are unemployed or in part-time work. Some have been forced to have two or three part-time jobs to make ends meet. Such is life at the beginning of the 21st century.
We have the scientific know-how to send sophisticated computers to Mars, but scandalously society is incapable of giving everyone a job. That is the insanity of capitalism and the domination of the market.
If we are to provide jobs for all, give everyone a roof over their head, provide a decent wage for everyone, then we have to take the economy out of the hands of big business. If we were able to democratically plan the economy in the interests of the majority, then these basic things would be available to all.
A socialist plan of production, based upon the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy, the major banks and monopolies, and run under workers’ control and management, is the only way forward.
On the basis of capitalist crisis, there is no future, except permanent cuts and austerity. Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has again warned that the crisis may force younger generations to "live under its shadow for a long time to come.
The time has come to put an end to this nightmare. This means that workers will need to take back their organisations – the trade unions and the Labour Party - and to clear out the place-seekers and careerists.
It means putting socialism back on the agenda, not in words, but in action. Only then can we put an end to this “race to the bottom” and offer a real alternative to the chaos of capitalism.