THE class message of the Labour government is clear.
It is that if you’re a banker, you can do no wrong and are eligible for unlimited aid from the public purse to keep you and your bank afloat.
However, if you are a worker, especially a public sector worker, your wages are to be held down or cut so that you are able to assist in the rescue of the banks.
Worse still, if you happen to be an immigrant, or an unemployed, disabled, or a sick person, then you are beyond the pale, and will be subjected to a beat, beat and beat again regime, to make sure that you are not a drain on government spending, and don’t get in the way of propping up the luxury life style of the bankers.
Yesterday, Labour ministers spent the day bashing the working class. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was insisting that unemployed workers will be forced to take on voluntary unpaid work or be ‘stripped’ of their benefit.
He was following up on an earlier diktat that all 16-18-year-olds not in employment, education and training are to be forced to go on unpaid work experience or lose their Jobseekers Allowance.
Purnell considers that unpaid forced labour will ‘unlock the talent of all our people. . . The message I want to send is clear – if you can work, you should work and that will be a condition of getting benefits.’
The government is to invite slave drivers from the private and voluntary sector who will be paid bonuses to run the New Deal programme.
Non-EU immigrants coming to Britain are to face an ‘immigrant levy’ so that they assist in paying for the schools and hospitals that they might use while they are here. There will be health checks and those who are estimated to be a potential greater burden to the state will have to pay a higher levy. There will obviously be no rebates for the young and healthy.
This tactic is believed to be the thin end of the wedge for making non-EU immigrants pay in full for all NHS and other Welfare State facilities, since they will all have identity cards by the end of this year.
Immigrants will really have to kow-tow to become British. They will be subjected to reviews and a points system, until they reach the stage of sub-citizen, called a ‘probationary citizen’.
In order to graduate to full citizenship they must speak English, and show a willingness to work for nothing for voluntary agencies. Non citizens will not get benefits.
There are to be three ‘bands’ of citizenship. Those hoping to become British will be accorded temporary resident status for five years. They then become probationary citizens for a year, after which – if they pass the tests – they get British status.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson revealed yesterday that he was sick with worry not about the crisis in the NHS, but that ‘stress, depression and back pain can cost employers millions every year. . .’
He is a minister in a government that is closing 28 Remploy factories for the disabled, to cut costs, and which reckons that at least two million of those on incapacity benefit are fooling the government and should be working.
He said that ‘The public sector, which employs one in five workers in this country and has a poorer record on sickness absence, must lead by example.’
He gave the GPs the task of forcing sick people to return to work.
He stated: ‘Again, I expect the public sector – particularly the NHS – to lead the way. Each GP practice is a small business. . . .’
Johnston added: ‘While we don’t expect GPs to police the border between having to work and being entitled to claim benefit, I want to explore how GPs can change our sick note culture into a well note culture – just as incapacity benefit is being changed to Employment Support Allowance, which will set out their capabilities.’
Trade unions must not stand idly by and watch this government victimising the most oppressed sections of society, the youth, the unemployed, the sick and non-EU immigrants.
They must bring down the Brown government with a general strike that will bring in a workers government and socialism.