The disarray, confusion and splits within the Tory/LibDem coalition government were brought out sharply over Monday’s announcement by Tory chancellor, George Osborne, that he intends to cut £25 billion from welfare spending if the Tories are elected at the next general election.
First out of the traps with condemnation was the LibDem deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, who accused the Tories of committing a ‘monumental mistake’ by trying to place all deficit reduction on ‘working-age poor’.
This was met with an amazing response from Tory London mayor and would-be Tory leader, Boris Johnson, who on a radio phone-in dismissed Clegg as nothing more than Cameron’s condom saying: ‘He’s there to serve a very important ceremonial function as David Cameron’s lapdog-cum-prophylactic protection device’.
But the split is not just confined to Tories versus their LibDem partners, the Tories are at each others throats as well.
The bourgeois press reported yesterday that the work and pensions minister, Iain Duncan Smith, who is responsible for pushing through his own draconian cuts in benefits through his Universal Credit scheme, is up in arms about Osborne’s welfare cuts.
Government sources said that Osborne’s announcement had ‘highlighted stark differences of approach’ between the chancellor and Duncan Smith over how to slash Britain’s social security system.
This is the nub of the matter. The crisis tearing the coalition apart centres on how best to smash the welfare state without causing a revolutionary uprising by the working class.
Osborne and Cameron are opting for trying to split young workers from the elderly – hence Cameron’s announcement the day before Osborne’s speech that pensions would be ‘protected’ by the Tories much trumpeted triple-lock, while heaping all the blame for British capitalism’s bankruptcy at the door of youth, the unemployed and low paid workers.
What terrifies Clegg and Cable, is that this attempt to blame the working class for a crisis caused by the banks is cutting no ice with workers or pensioners who are not stupid enough to be taken in by all these lies.
But if the coalition is in complete crisis, what of the Labour party and trade union leadership.
With the government split, divided and at war with itself there has been not a single call from these leaders for their removal.
All Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, could say about Osborne’s declaration that he intends to ‘shrink’ the welfare state out of existence was to complain that Osborne was just ‘desperate to stop talking about the cost of living crisis on his watch’ adding that the failure of Osborne to do anything about the cost of living going through the roof meant ‘Labour will have to make cuts’ if it wins the next general election.
Balls here was explicitly promising that any future Labour government would carry out cuts to match any made by Osborne.
Len McClusky, leader of the largest union, Unite, called Osborne’s speech ‘an unprecedented ideological attack on the state, with Britain’s young people on the front line,’ as if this attack on the welfare was driven purely by ideology and not by the necessity of capitalism to survive through destroying all the gains made by the working class.
What unites the bourgeois politicians of the coalition with the reformists of the Labour and trade union leadership is the unshakeable belief that capitalism and the banks must survive at all costs, even if it means plunging the working class into the most abject poverty and misery.
The splits are caused by the very weakness of capitalism today and the undiminished strength of the working class that is being driven down the road of socialist revolution.
The only way forward for workers and youth is through the building of a revolutionary leadership to replace the treacherous reformists in the trade unions and lead a general strike to bring down this coalition and advance to a workers government and socialism.
Only the WRP is building this leadership and we urge every worker and young person to join us today.