CHANCELLOR Darling yesterday admitted that the Labour government, cold-bloodedly, in the last budget, abolished the 10p tax rate for the lower paid, knowing that it would affect over five million low paid workers – at the same time as it was once again lessening the tax burden on the rich and the better off.
He, however, did not stop there.
He added that the measure would not be reversed. A Downing Street spokesperson said that reversing it would cost the government £8 billion – presumably this is the amount that the lower paid are being mugged for.
The response in the Labour Party has been one of shock, and panic. Labour MP Ian Gibson warned Brown and Darling that ‘there will be a poll tax moment’, referring to the issue that spurred the Tories to dump Thatcher.
There are also a flock of junior ministers who have become hysterical that Brown is going to lose them their livings, when, as one said, comparably paid jobs will be hard to come by.
Even hardened right wingers such as Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, could not support the measure. It was the TUC and the trade unions which refused to give adequate support to John McDonnell, to even allow him to stand against Brown on a moderate socialist platform in the recent Labour Party leadership election.
Now Barber is singing another tune entirely. ‘We have concerns that on a whole range of issues the call has been wrong, that the government has been paying too much attention to the siren voices, those campaigning for the super-rich and the corporate elite.’
In fact, the Brown government has decided that its main task is to rescue crisis-ridden capitalism, and in particular to prop up the bankers.
The Bank of England has already handed over £100bn to the banks, and is about to hand over at least another £50bn. In receipt as collateral it will take over the banks’ dodgiest mortgages.
However, the banks have a bottomless pit of debt to be redeemed.
This means that the working class and the poor will have to be caned, mugged and robbed repeatedly by the government and the Treasury, to try to prevent state bankruptcy.
Brown and Darling have begun with an attack on the lowest paid – single people, who the government reasons will not scream as much as families with hungry children to feed.
They are also seeking to speed up their privatisation programme to raise extra billions and to impose three-year wage cutting deals on the public sector to raise billions more, all to hand to big business.
All that matters to this government is saving crisis-ridden capitalism.
It is not concerned about how the capitalist crisis affects millions of workers and their families.
Brown and Darling also know that the Tories will condemn their abolition of the 10p tax rate, but are confident that they will not support the Field amendment (that is if Field puts it) opposing the cut in the 10p rate, because Cameron and Osborne are not seeking to bring down the Brown government at this time.
The Tories know full well that the crisis of capitalism will demand, as it worsens, huge attacks on the working class and the middle class that will require the formation of a national government.
When that moment comes they will be prepared to form such a government with Brown, who already has anti-Labour party people as ministers (Lord Digby Jones and Admiral Lord West).
There is only one way that the working class can defend its interests and the interests of the middle class in this situation.
This is by organising a general strike against this attack on the lower paid, and by bringing down the Brown government to go forward to a workers government that will carry out socialist policies and expropriate the bosses and the bankers.
The reformist leaders of the trade unions would rather see a national government than carry out this necessary revolutionary policy.
This is why these leaders must be removed and a new leadership built that is not afraid of using the huge strength of the trade unions to defend the working class and go forward to socialism.