This video from England in 2007 is called May Day Demo – Justice for Cleaners Speeches. It says about itself:
Speeches from Justice for Cleaners demonstration in central London – immigrant workers fight for a London Living Wage, block traffic in central London as they march from University to University – SOAS, UCL Birckbeck and LSHTM, all of which pay below the London Living wage of Â£7.05 per hour.
Equality of sacrifice
(Tuesday 29 July 2008)
You can bet your boots that neither Gordon Brown nor Alistair Darling [see also on Darling and the International Marxist Group; here] will condemn this display of greed as contributing to the rate of inflation.
Such criticism is reserved for low-paid public-sector workers who are condemned for complaining about having a pay “increase” of below 2 per cent imposed on them when even the retail prices index indicates a rate of double that.
Whatever the RPI indicates – and even less so the government-favoured consumer prices index – the rise in living costs for those on lowest incomes is way in excess of official figures.
But, in a phony evocation of social cohesion, the Prime Minister and Chancellor claim that we are all in this economic crisis together and must tighten our belts to see it through.
Equality of sacrifice? That sounds good. Just like the Dunkirk spirit in a modern setting.
So let’s hear it for supermarket giant Tesco and the sacrifices that its shareholders have been making.
Don’t hold your breath. It scraped by on an 11 per cent jump in profits to a fairly tidy £2.75 billion.
Let’s hear it too for Jake Ulrich, the managing director of Centrica Energy, the parent company of British Gas, who suggested most helpfully that, if we have difficulties paying his company‘s bills, we could turn down the thermostat and wear two jumpers instead of one.
This is the same Centrica that announced earlier this year that its latest annual operating profits were up 40 per cent to £1.95 billion.
And just to put things in context, British Gas profits jumped to £571 million from £95 million in 2006.
For his part in delivering these profits, Mr Ulrich was paid a salary of £1.1 million and a bonus of £536,000. Not much necessity for him to double up on jumpers.
Just over 200 years ago, the French queen’s refusal to understand the hardships of the people led her to lecture them that, if they had no bread, they should eat cake.
Or eat mud; like in Haiti today?
Whereas it may be considered unreasonable by some to suggest that the bodies of Mr Ulrich and his colleagues should be detached from their heads, they should certainly be detached from much of their ill-gotten wealth.
Big business and the rich should be paying more in tax.
They can certainly afford it.
Since 2006, the share of national income, excluding oil, going in profits has risen to 26 per cent from 22 per cent, while the share for wages has slipped from 26 per cent to 24 per cent, which was the norm under the Tories.
We need price freezes on selected essential products, windfall taxes on the energy, food and banking transnational companies and higher tax rates on the wealthy.
Working people are fed up with being exploited by big business and abused by new Labour.
Virgin’s Richard Branson is laying on a three and half hour trip 70 miles up into the stratosphere to the edge of space for the world’s super-rich, where travellers can experience just four to six minutes of weightlessness: here.
Conflicts in “new” Labour: here.