THE three-day meeting of Labour’s ‘policy forum’ ended on Sunday with a massive vote to commit the Labour Party to carrying on with the Tory-led coalition’s savage austerity cuts designed to pay off the huge national debt run up in order to bail out the banks and bankrupt British capitalism.
Shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, hailed the vote as demonstrating mass support within the party for ‘big reform, not big spending’.
Balls said: ‘The Labour Party knows that this Conservative-led government’s failure to balance the books in this parliament means we will have to make difficult decisions after the next election. Party members have endorsed the tough fiscal position Ed Miliband and I have set out. We will balance the books, deliver a surplus on the current budget and get the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next parliament. But we will get the deficit down more fairly.’
In short, Balls was boasting that the Labour Party leadership continues to be firmly on board with making the working class pay for the banking crisis and reassuring the capitalist class that any future Labour government would carry out whatever policies necessary to ensure its survival.
All talk about fairness in making huge cuts in public expenditure is just rubbish – who are the undeserving members of society who deserve to have their benefits cut?
One such section has already been identified by Balls and Miliband, unemployed youth!
Last month, Miliband announced that under a Labour government three quarters of young people would be thrown off Job Seekers Allowance as they do not have level-3 or above qualification.
As a sop to the working class, Balls and Miliband made great play about their promise to freeze electricity bills, allow the public sector to compete for rail franchises – none of which require any government spending.
The idea that any future Labour government would be able to dictate to the private energy companies how much they can charge is laughable.
If they tried, these companies have already made it clear they will simply pull the plug on the country’s energy supplies.
As for allowing the public sector to compete for rail franchises, as a recent survey by the RMT rail union has shown, the vast majority of people don’t want rigged rail franchise competitions loaded in favour of the private rail companies, what they want is the complete re-nationalisation of the entire rail network.
This, of course, is a complete anathema to the Labour Party leadership, a message that was rammed home by Jon Cruddas, head of the policy review, who stated that the decisions of this forum represented ‘a turning point in the history of the Labour Party’, adding that this programme of accepting every cut made by the Tories represented ‘a fundamental rethinking of the basic assumptions around which social democracy has been built for 30 years’.
The basic assumptions of social democracy that Cruddas refers to is the belief that workers can win concessions and reforms from capitalism.
Today, gripped by an acute and ever increasing economic crisis, British capitalism not only cannot afford to make concessions but is forced to attempt to smash up all the gains of the past – especially the entire welfare state.
Equally clear is that the Labour Party is incapable of defending any of these gains, instead it is prepared to carry out every cut and inflict even more in order to keep bankrupt British capitalism staggering on.
All those trade union leaders who preach that nothing can be done and that all the working class can do is sit back for the next general election and hope for a Labour government, are guilty of a massive betrayal.
The only way forward for the working class is not to wait for a Labour government committed to the same austerity as this rotten coalition but to demand that the TUC call an immediate general strike to kick out the government and go forward to a workers government and socialism.