From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
High profile figures pen anti austerity letter
Wednesday 25th March 2015
The statement read: “In what we hope was his last Budget, George Osborne made a series of false claims about his economic record.
“The reality is that his priority is to raise profits for the corporations, top executive salaries and bonuses at the expense of ordinary working people.
“His achievement is the slowest ever ‘recovery’ from recession while those ordinary people suffer increasing hardship during the longest continuous fall in living standards since records began.“
That is the real Tory record of this Parliament.”
The signatories announced a national demonstration against austerity due to take place in London on June 20.
Also from the Morning Star:
Press hard to end austerity
Wednesday 25th March 2015
TRADE unions, community organisations and political groups should begin planning already for a mighty turnout on June 20 for the People’s Assembly national demonstration and festival against austerity in London.
The is not an alternative to campaigning to defeat the Tories and Liberal Democrats in the general election. Nor is it a diversion from that essential task.
The conservative coalition parties have put the bankers’ austerity agenda at the heart of their political approach, slashing working people’s living standards.
But no-one can be complacent over the response of the Labour opposition, which has repeated some of the basic mantras of the austerity fallacy while promising more gentle punishment.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls signed up to the idea that the deficit can only be cut and the economy rebuilt by reducing public expenditure.
He jangles on about “sensible” cuts and making “tough” decisions that are inevitably tough for the working class and feather-light for big business.
Public spending cuts are wrong anyway, but when official inflation figures have dipped to 0 per cent and deflation threatens, they are even less appropriate.
Balls gives the impression of believing that Labour can offer precious little to voters at the general election because they have nowhere else to go.
Such an attitude contributes to the rampant political alienation of many of the poorest people who perceive no substantial differences between the major parties and see no reason to encourage their ambitions by voting for them.
There is no point in criticising disillusioned people for not voting. Labour and its supporters would be better occupied by confronting the party’s fixation with the deficit.
Balls’ obsession with cutting public expenditure, duly absorbed by Ed Miliband, ignores the reality that public investment, especially in green energy and a modernised infrastructure, is both a more efficient way of reducing the deficit and a more positive image to offer the electorate.
Former frontbencher and London mayoral candidate Steve Norris’ view that his party has failed to shake off its image of the “party of the 1 per cent” ought to present a real opportunity.
His assessment that David Cameron, who endeavours to hide his vast inherited wealth by taking his family on package-holiday media photo opportunities, will lose in May confirms that every party has its Simon Danczuk.
Labour’s economic team should be putting on the pressure with a clear class line that emphasises the sharp divisions in society.
What of any originality has Labour to say about the Department for Business and Skills list of top businesses that make millions of pounds in profits yet fail even to pay the inadequate £6.50 an hour minimum wage to all their staff?
Why does that party fall in line silently with George Osborne’s decision to hand back the banks that screwed us all to the private sector now that public finance has nursed them back to rude health?
Slavish devotion to neoliberal orthodoxy, albeit with a slightly different timetable and scale of anti working class viciousness, does not provide a real alternative to the coalition.
A coalition defeat in the election in May will provide a warm glow as background for the June 20 events, but it can only be the first step in a radically different political and economic direction away from the austerity obsession.