‘Recessions hurt, but austerity kills’. This was a title from the Guardian newspaper a few months ago that really carved into my mind.
Austerity has equated in a two tier society and class divide has truly impersonated Lazarus and come back from the dead. It is without doubt that austerity is hurting many and even killing some, and the response to austerity has been positive but far too divided to challenge these bunch of posh bully boys. We have had the People’s assembly, trade union response, UK Uncut, Occupy and the 99% movement but it can be argued that the Labour Party is the only opposition that can counter this government and their austerity agenda.
The spirit of the Labour Party, the real Labour Party, is in some form starting a revival; and it is each and every one of us who can pressurise the leadership to adopt opposition to austerity stance and be pro-growth. That is growth for all. Next Generation Labour has kicked things off with the ‘Labour Assembly Against Austerity’ event to be held on the 9th of November.
300,000 more children in absolute poverty than last year, real wage value down 8.5% since 2009, slowest economic recovery since the great depression, savage cuts to the welfare state that many gone before us fought hard and long for, co-ordinated attacks and demonization of welfare recipients and immigrants. The list of this government’s failure is endless but at the same time they have cut taxes for the rich, ruled out a mansion tax, refused to co-opt into an EU wide cap on bankers bonuses and Robin Hood tax, cut HMRC staff and let tax avoidance/evasion flourish and overall, let the rich get richer.
Yet despite all of this, the Tories have pretty much ruled the day and won the economic argument so far, even though they are profoundly wrong. This is because Labour, sadly, has yet failed to chase the Con-Dems on their wrong-doings, shout from the roof-tops and most importantly; orchestrate the debate. Because of our lack of direction, the debate has always been orchestrated by the Tories therefore subverting the real debate with their war on ‘scroungers’ and immigration. We need to organise, unite and find our voice to decide the topic of debate i.e. falling living standards, workers’ rights, exploitation by the rich and corporations and incomes.
The economy is starting to grow and this growth is being dressed up as successful and sexy and the Con-Dems are doing their best to sell this to the public. Just look at PMQs where endless amounts of Tory MPs try to occupy the debate by spouting the rhetoric that the Government was right after all regards to growth and austerity. The sad fact is that this growth is in many parts artificial and has grown in a way which it doesn’t distribute proportionally and is passing the majority right on by. We need to scrap any commitment to austerity and focus primarily on growth, the growth of income, jobs for all, meaningful infrastructure, re-distribution, prosperity, manufacturing. This is what will win us the election. The electorate will choose growth over austerity, but if we adopt (like we have been previously doing) a Tory-lite austerity offer then we are destined to lose. Furthermore, Miliband should focus more on his pre-distribution idea with private rent caps, Living Wage, controlling the costs of utilities.
For all of you who joined the Labour Party (of which I believe we are the majority) for passion of the Labour movement, social justice and socialism; then it is time we unite and assemble. We have had positive calls for a day of co-ordinated strike action from the TUC. Let them hear our ferocity and anger, let’s awaken the sleeping giant.
We can start by attending the Labour Assembly Against Austerity on the 9th of November. We can make change by showing the leadership the direction its membership wants to head towards. This is one apple we can’t afford to wait for to get ripe, let’s cause it to fall now.