12 thoughts on “Big Bristol, England march against Conservative austerity

  1. Monday 11th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The Tory vision for our country never changes. Power and privilege are rewarded, profit is worshipped and public service and our services disparaged, writes LEN McCLUSKEY

    COURAGE can be contagious, Michelle Obama once observed.

    She was right — we saw it over the summer when Jeremy Corbyn stepped over the smears piled up around him by the Tories, the media and, sadly, from within his party and powered on to almost, almost, a Labour victory.

    One more week, many say, and he would have had those keys. Michelle Obama also said that “hope can take on a life of its own” and she was correct in that too.

    Voters looked at Corbyn and saw courage, decency and dignity — qualities that they felt had been absent from our political life.

    Jeremy gave them hope, hope that we could have a better Britain.

    This was no summer of love feelgood factor. Our movement is not going to look back at the summer of 2017 and smile fondly. This is real.

    I can see it when I am out and about, like at Burston earlier this month when thousands, including many young people, gathered on the village green to celebrate the longest strike in history.

    But where do we go from here? In my view there is one mission and one alone for our movement now: getting these cursed Tories out of government.

    It is not just because their mindless austerity has dragged our economy into perma-doldrums, imprisoned by low and falling wages, rising job insecurity and the lousy productivity that accompanies a lack of investment in skills and kit.

    It is that their vision for our country never changes. Power and privilege are rewarded, profit is worshipped and public service and our services disparaged.

    These are Tory touchstones and are as true as night follows day.

    Our nations, regions and people now face the most profound change to their lives and futures since the second world war.

    Brexit will change our relationship with the whole world. It will undoubtedly transform our economy and living standards. In fact, life will never be the same again.

    The trouble is that these immense changes are being delivered by a hard right Tory Cabinet and a Prime Minister forced to bung a minority party £1 billion just to stay on life support.

    We are fighting them all the way to ensure that they row back from a hard Brexit that will cause immeasurable harm to our jobs, rights and democracy.

    But make no mistake, if they refuse to put the national good before party self-interest then this movement must mobilise.

    The Tories and their friends in the elite echelons are never ones to let an opportunity to seize more power, privilege and wealth to their ilk go by.

    We saw this with the global financial crash, where the high priests of big capital jumped at the chance to promote a new order.

    Across the West, governments attacked wages, cut jobs and sold off services while bailing out the corrupt. And we’re still seeing it.

    The universal credit programme rolls out over Christmas, certain to force working families to turn to charity to get by while big business powers on with poverty pay and piecemeal contracts.

    Our low pay culture may please the bosses, but has created a US-style culture of mass in-work poverty. The answer, surely, is not to hound and harass the workers forced to eke out a Deliveroo existence dashing between part-time minimum wage contracts; it is to go after the fat cats getting obese on decent workers’ hard graft.

    The social contract that underpins this nation, which keeps the evils of poverty and want at bay, is being destroyed by an obeyance to a US model where wealth is sucked ever up by fewer and fewer people, while food poverty is normalised.

    Last week, Theresa May had the opportunity to condemn corporate greed. She was asked in the Commons to side with the workers of Sports Direct and McDonald’s against the bosses earning 1,000 times their wage packet. She refused, point blank. She refused, not because she could not recognise the misery these workplaces are causing, but because her wilful submission to the creed of her party would not allow her to do so.

    With everyone from the head of management consultancy McKinsey to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby agreeing that our economy is truly broken, it must be the case that the only ones who refuse to sniff the change in the air are the 316 MPs sitting on the Tory benches.

    This week our job at Congress is to destroy the last shreds of credibility that this creed clings to.

    There is no trickle down. We were never all in it together. There will never be any pain relief for the “just about managing.”

    Enough of the Tory lies. We intend to challenge them head on in the Congress debates on Brexit and industrial strategy.

    On the fringe we will be exposing the secrecy of the Tories’ shady backroom deals with Trump’s advisers as Trade Secretary Liam Fox pleads for a deal and his political life.

    What is the Tory government offering up to the all mighty US administration if not our NHS, food standards and public services?

    We will also turn the spotlight on the reality for the near 10 million workers in this country without rights.

    Call it what you will — self-employment, bogus self-employment, agency work or the zero-hours gig economy — huge numbers of people now have no floor beneath them, and their numbers will only grow if austerity continues and our rights are thrown over in a cliff-edge Brexit.

    This is a time of huge challenge for our movement. We must find new ways to organise an increasingly fractured labour force, which needs strong unions more than at any point in recent history.

    But it is also a time of courage and of hope. Under Jeremy Corbyn we finally know what Labour stands for and who it stands with — the working class, the poor, the young, those who aspire to a better world, those who are tired of needless cuts and raging inequality, and those who simply want to see a more just nation. Labour stands for the many, not the few.

    It is our job to keep alive the mood of hope that swept the country in June. This Congress is where we turn and face the country to remind them that this movement will not let it fade and we will not rest until our common courage delivers Jeremy Corbyn to No 10.

    Len McCluskey is general secretary of Unite the Union.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a0aa-Our-one-mission-is-this-Getting-the-cursed-Tories-out-of-government#.WbbHPcZpwdU

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  3. Tuesday 12th September 2017

    posted by Lamiat Sabin in Britain

    THE £1 billion sweetheart deal the Tories struck with North Irish extremists to prop up Theresa May will need to be approved by Parliament, government lawyers admitted yesterday.

    Officials were challenged to come up with the legal basis for the deal with the DUP by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and Gina Millar, who sued the government to force a vote on Brexit in Parliament.

    “It beggars belief that, neither at the time the government sealed its dubious deal with the DUP in exchange for their votes in the Commons, nor at any point since, has the government made it clear that the £1bn of taxpayers’ money for Northern Ireland could only be handed over following Parliamentary approval,” Ms Miller said.

    The £1bn promise was made to cobble together a right-wing majority with the 10 DUP MPs after Labour snatched away Ms May’s majority in the June election.

    The government said that no timetable had been set for making the payment.

    Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said it was “a clear indication that the Conservatives’ chaotic attempts to circumvent Parliament must come to an end.”

    IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said that Parliament must vote according to the interests of working people whose jobs depend on public money.

    He added: “They are routinely told that there’s no money available to improve their pay, holidays and other terms and conditions they demand.

    “Yet when it comes to keeping themselves in power, this government’s fiscal discipline quickly dissipates.”

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c5bd-DUP-deal-needs-Parliaments-OK#.Wbfo18ZpEdU

  4. Tuesday 12th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE Tories’ post-election bung to the Democratic Unionist Party gifted trade unionists an easy retort to rhetorical questions of where money for a comprehensive public-service pay rise could be found.

    “From the same place you found the billion quid for the DUP,” was the answer.

    It now transpires that the dodgy cash-for-votes deal between Theresa May and Northern Ireland’s party of Orange bigotry cannot be pushed through by government prerogative powers.

    Parliament must be consulted on the matter and has the final word. Until it does, May cannot splash the cash.

    She and her colleagues will hope that the DUP accepts their word and provides the necessary voting back-up on tight divisions until the cheque is honoured, but Arlene Foster might be perturbed that her Tory friends didn’t mention Parliament’s role or suggest when a vote might take place.

    Was the Prime Minister hoping to get away without a vote or did she believe that the DUP leadership wouldn’t notice non-arrival of its bung?

    Grandees seeking to steady the Tory ship of state will call for calm nerves and point out that the Tory-DUP alliance has a clear Commons majority.

    That may be so, but several pro-government MPs on both sides of the bargain are uneasy about their shipmates of convenience and will not relish renewed public scrutiny of this tacky arrangement.

    Opposition MPs stress that they are not opposed to Northern Ireland receiving an extra £1 billion for public spending after seven years of cuts imposed by the Tories and, until two years ago, their Liberal Democrat allies.

    But the justification for redressing the balance applies equally to Wales, Scotland and England where working people have also suffered from the political decision to prioritise the economic interests of big business and the wealthy elite over those at the bottom of the heap.

    For a party that constantly proclaims its supposed “Britishness,” DUP readiness to take the Tory shilling — raised through inflation to a billion pounds — and spit in the faces of Welsh, Scottish and English working people by supporting May’s neoliberal approach may carry a future price.

    As TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has made clear, the trade union movement seeks a unified position.

    The seven-year-long 1 per cent maximum cap on public-service salaries must be lifted across the board not in piecemeal fashion in areas of particular embarrassment or concern to the government or its MPs.

    Divide-and-rule is in Tory politicians’ DNA. It was the weapon of choice in perpetuating imperial rule and is applied as assiduously today to undermine working-class unity.

    Tory MPs and media will attempt to separate workers into deserving and less deserving on a host of pretexts, not least that scarce resources enforce the need to do so.

    That will not wash. The labour movement has pointed out that cutting the top rate of income tax and slashing corporation tax for big business were deliberate policy priorities to favour the haves over the havenots.

    Reversing those decisions would make cash available to off er overdue pay rises to public-service workers.

    In reality, starving the public sector of adequate finance, which affects service delivery as well as staff pay, reflects Tory hostility to an ethos that puts service before public profit.

    The government will only be moved by a mass united campaign that makes the case for change and is extended to industrial action when required.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-4bc5-Could-the-Tory-ship-capsize#.Wbft38ZpEdU

  5. Tuesday, 12 September 2017

    TIME TO PUT THE TORIES OUT AS DUP PAYMENT HITS THE ROCKS!

    THE ultra fragility of the May government has been underlined by the fact that its attempts to stay in office via a £1bn payment to the DUP has now been legally challenged by the heroine of the pro-EU bosses and bankers, Gina Miller.

    After her latest legal challenge the government has now confirmed on Sunday that the fund will only be released to Northern Ireland upon ‘appropriate parliamentary authorisation.’ Jonathan Jones, the Treasury Solicitor, who also heads the government Legal Department commented that ‘No timetable has been set for the making of such payments.’

    The official said May’s government was going to use ‘long-established procedures, under which central government requests the grant of money by the House of Commons’ in order to pay the promised payment to the DUP. In her legal letter, Miller said: ‘It beggars belief that, neither at the time the government sealed its dubious deal with the DUP in exchange for their votes in the Commons, nor at any point since, has the government made it clear that the £1bn of taxpayers’ money for Northern Ireland could only be handed over following Parliamentary approval.’

    In his letter, the solicitor Jonathan Jones said the government intends to use ‘long-established procedures, under which central government requests the grant of money by the House of Commons’ in order to pay out the funds. No doubt such a grant will also be legally challenged as the ruling class civil war over the EU continues and gets even hotter.

    As well, the DUP deal is being challenged in a crowdfunded legal case by Green party activist Ciaran McClean, that claims it breaks the promise of impartiality in the Good Friday agreement and breaches the Bribery Act. The High Court has notified both sides’ legal teams that, because of the urgency of the claim, it should be heard in October, at the beginning of the new legal term.

    The May government has no future. It is all the more dangerous that the pro-EU bosses and bankers have been allowed to take the initiative against this minority government, and against the 2016 referendum result to leave the EU. Yesterday at the TUC Congress, its leader O’Grady underlined the complete bankruptcy of her leadership, and that of the General Council when she did not even make a call for the government to resign and made it clear that alongside the bosses and the bankers the TUC General Council supports the single market and the customs union and wants the the UK to remain in both, that is to remain in the EU.

    She limited herself to appeals to the government not to cherry pick the groups of workers that they will allow to breach the pay cap, namely the police and the prison officers.

    O’Grady told May that ‘The Prime Minister’s top priority should be to defend Britain’s best interests. Not stop the Conservative Party falling apart.’ But there are two Britains, the Britain of the ruling class and the Britain of the working class, and the two are irreconcilable.

    https://wrp.org.uk/news/13632

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