British Labour party and inequality

This video is about British trade unionist Bob Crow‘s last speech in Ireland, at the Jim Connell Festival on the 5th May 2013.

The editorial of daily The Morning Star in Britain says today:

Who’s really at the sharp end?

Labour will not win in May by sucking up to big business

BRITONS on the breadline will raise their eyebrows at Ed Miliband’s assertion yesterday that business leaders have been “at the sharp end of the most difficult times we can remember.”

There’s a case for saying women have been at the sharp end of Tory-imposed austerity, with the attacks on pay and public services hitting them four times harder than men, according to analysis by the House of Commons Library.

You could argue that the disabled have suffered worst, being forced through humiliating “fit for work” tests that are clearly unfit for purpose, with thousands dying within weeks of being declared ready for employment.

The number of homeless people has risen 26 per cent since the Tory-Lib Dem coalition came to power, while the number sleeping rough in London is up an astonishing 77 per cent, according to homeless charity Crisis.

The latest stats from the Trussell Trust foodbank charity show dependence on food handouts is up 1,468 per cent since this government entered office.

And the real value of workers’ wages has plummeted, with even bosses’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which Mr Miliband addressed yesterday alongside David Cameron and Nick Clegg, pointing to a drop of £2,132 per year for an average couple with two children between 2009 and 2013.

The Con-Dem offensive against the working class has been so brutal and wide-ranging that millions of people in this country are at the sharp end of the most difficult times we can remember.

But business leaders?

Big business has spent the last four-and-a-half years on an investment strike, sitting on hundreds of billions in reserves that they have refused to channel into the economy.

Pay at the top has been rising while the rest of us lag further and further behind, with CEOs earning 257 times the average worker’s salary compared to 181 times in 2009.

Mr Miliband’s pitch to the CBI was obviously tactical. Prising out differences between sections of Britain’s ruling class, such as by encouraging businesses irritated by banks’ refusal to lend to back banking reform, could put pressure on the Tories.

And his refusal to offer the British people a referendum on EU membership also plays well with the capitalist class, since the European Union has proved an effective mechanism for subordinating elected governments to corporate power.

But Labour’s leader is wooing the wrong audience.

In the war being waged by Britain’s rulers against Britain’s people, workers will either win or be beaten — the long succession of defeats for our class since the 1970s have shown the bankruptcy of so-called social partnership.

The CBI welcomed Mr Miliband’s commitment to the EU — no surprise there — while simultaneously warning him against government intervention in the economy.

Except when it takes the form of handouts for business, of course. Through tax credits, housing benefit and a range of other welfare grants, Britain’s taxpayers already subsidise employers who won’t pay their staff a living wage.

Mr Miliband’s pledge to help business with extra tax credits to support his party’s plans to raise wages might therefore do some short-term good, but it will not address the dysfunctional nature of the economy.

He evidently hopes to capitalise on doubts raised by the IMF and Financial Times about the Conservatives’ economic plans to win business backing for Labour.

But the fat cats running the country are doing far too well out of austerity to back a different horse. All Mr Miliband’s pleading with the boss class is so much pissing in the wind.

Pledges to defend the EU and maintain “the most competitive tax regime in the G7” will not resonate so well with the millions of working people Labour needs to get to the polling booths in May.

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