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« Is Western-style democracy suitable for Africa? | Main | God, Tony Blair and mass murder »
Sunday
Oct312010

Spending cuts, job losses, housing benefit crisis – the “nasty party” returns

By Julian Samboma

Theresa May (right) lambasted her Conservative party in 2002 for being "nasty"; fast-forward eight years and many people would attach the same adjective to the Coalition she now serves as Home Secretary.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced spending cuts that will lead to half-a-million job losses.  Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron signalled changes in the housing benefits system which could see thousands forced out of major British cities.

You can gauge the public reaction to these policy announcements by that of the Tories’s own Boris Johnson.  The London Mayor broke ranks to warn that cuts in housing benefits could lead to "Kosovo-style social cleansing" of London and other cities.

Right winger Johnson, who may have been sounding off with an eye to upcoming mayoral elections, was promptly slapped down by Tory high command. 

Class War – nasty, brutish and very long

Make no mistake; the Tories have declared war on the less-well-off in society.  It’s class war – and it’s going to be nasty, brutish and very long.  Along with their Lib-Dem partners and a pliant media establishment, they have been softening up the public for it for months.

We’ve been told there is no alternative (Tina) to the austerity drive - drastic measures for drastic economic times.  Even opposition leader Ed Milliband (left) agrees with the thrust of the policies; Labour only quibble about the scale and speed of the cuts.

Let’s first dismantle the so-called “Tina” argument and show how it’s used to justify the class war.  Osborne and his fellow-travellers would have us believe the economic recession was caused by profligate irresponsibility "when Gordon Brown turned on the spending spigots."

David Cameron’s Class War

This proposition is the thin end of the wedge.  Once you agree with this seemingly innocuous assertion, you’re stuck with its corollary:  To get out of the crisis you have to undo what Labour presumably did – and this is then defined as whatever it is the Coalition want to cut.

In effect, without realising it, you have endorsed Tina’s argument and signed up to Cameron’s class war.  What they have conveniently omitted to tell you is that the recession was caused by the banks and hedge funds playing fast and loose with the world economy while governments looked the other way.

They can’t very well come out and say a recession would have happened regardless of who was in power at the time.  That will give the lie to the claim it’s all Labour’s fault.  (This is not a case of eBeefs defending Labour’s honour; we’re only telling it like it is.)

Gangsters awarding themselves phone-number bonuses

So the Coalition and their friends have to maintain this fiction that it’s all Labour’s fault.  We’ve already seen how they use it to justify the cuts/class war.  The second reason is they need to shield the real culprit – the capitalist system – from blame. 

Otherwise, people might just get fed up one day and start a bloody revolution.  Just kidding!  But seriously, what do you think people could get up to if they were angered enough by the great huge ride they’ve been taken for? 

First the gangsters in the financial institutions played roulette and blackjack with their money and lost the lot – but not before awarding themselves telephone-number bonuses.  And they had to be bailed out by taxpayers’ money.  There we were thinking this was the free market system. 

The Great Leader

The banks were allowed to buck market forces because all the mega-rich moneybags had their assets in them.  So our money is used to give them “their” money back.  But what happens when the capitalists interpret market forces as saying that our jobs have to go?

What happens is the coalition tells us we are part of a public sector that became “bloated” under Brown and will have to go!  The Great Leader himself says thousands of jobs will be created by the omnipotent private sector.

But fiscal tightening and class-based bloodletting has choked off confidence in the economy and the small number of jobs created is soaked up before you can say “Show me.”  You lose your home and are under threat of forcible relocation because of pending changes to housing benefit. 

The Nasty Party is Back

If you don’t get a job after a year, your benefit is cut.  The nasty party is back!  Tax rises on the rich?  Get lost.  The nasty party don’t do “fairness”!

The Tina argument is specious.  Even the OECD believes the government’s fiscal tightening is too tight.  As Stelzer notes in his piece, Osborne is on a mission to roll back the state.  

He states:  “Which leaves two questions: the pace of cuts, and the distribution of pain. The latter, generally referred to as "fairness", I leave to others.”  The guy couldn't have put it better had he been official spokesman of the Nasty Party itself.

Cameron’s Big Con

Remember Cameron’s fatuous "Big Society" speech?  If it told one anything, it was that these guys were hell-bent on waging an ideologically-driven class war if voters were foolish enough to buy the Big Con.  They’re now using the convenient excuse of “Labour’s economic mess” to wage their nasty little war.

And, apparently, those feeling the pain need not complain for, according to the received wisdom, the Coalition commands the votes of over half the electorate.  No matter that Lib-Dem supporters didn’t vote for their party and policies to be effectively commandeered by the Nasty Party.

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