Saturday, 26 March 2011

Today is just the beginning

This government is planning a fundamental assault on the welfare state and the rights it gives to all of us. If they are successful, it won’t be the big society we are left with, but a broken society.

It is nothing less than a declaration of war against the poor by Cameron and his fellow millionaires. The bankers get their bonuses, and big business sees its corporation tax cut, while we see our incomes cut and services destroyed.

And like all wars, this one also comes with its own propaganda campaign.

We are told this is a crisis of public spending, and that cuts are the only solution. But this crisis was not caused by the public sector. Billions have been handed over to bank shareholders to save them from their own greed and stupidity. Meanwhile, tax revenues are falling because no government will make the rich pay their fair share. During Labour's three terms in office, they actually taxed the rich less than Margaret Thatcher did!

We should clamp down on tax dodging. The tax avoided and evaded in a single year could pay for the £81bn, four-year cuts programme! We should introduce a financial transactions tax – the Robin Hood Tax – on the bankers who created this mess in the first place. A tax of just 0.01% would raise £25bn.

This is the alternative way to reduce the deficit – one based on investment that will generate growth and refill the public purse through increased tax receipts.

This crisis is the result of corporate greed and the politicians who failed to rein them in. But with millions facing falling living standards, fewer jobs, and worse services, Cameron turns his fire, not on the bankers, but on our multicultural society. He is wheeling out another weapon of mass distraction – this time one that is even praised by the BNP.

The government have been forced to retreat over plans to privatise our forests. They need to be defeated again. That is going to need resistance across our whole society, uniting our diverse communities with the public sector workers who deliver the services on which we all rely. Today is just the beginning.