Osborne pledges balanced austerity budgets

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CHANCELLOR Osborne used his annual address at the Mansion House on Wednesday night to announce that he will be selling off the government’s share in RBS to the City of London at a loss estimated to be £13bn, and that he is also seeking to dictate what future governments must do.

He announced that there would be new legislation to make all future governments carry out the present government’s aspiration, which it hasn’t achieved, to raise more cash than it spends, maintaining a permanent government surplus in ‘normal times’.

The plan is for Osborne’s dictatorship to be overseen by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which will apparently have the right to veto an elected government’s spending plans! Its implication is that to get to the position of establishing a base for a permanent government surplus, the most savage cuts in spending that have ever been seen, effectively demolishing the NHS and the Welfare State, have to be carried out in the next five years.

Danny Gabay, co-director of Fathom Consulting and formerly of the Bank of England, commented on this: ‘Given that the last five years was the tightest fiscal settlement that we’ve seen in modern times … it was extremely hard on spending, and yet the level of debt continued to go up.’ So very strong medicine is required.

On the EU crisis, Osborne explained that the UK was in fact being pushed out. He said: ‘So, for example, soon the Eurogroup will not only have an automatic qualified majority on all financial services legislation for the whole EU – but in the European Central Bank it will have a single financial supervisor guarding the Eurozone’s interests, even if it’s at the expense of the rest of the single market.

‘We’ve already been told that certain financial businesses can only locate in a subset of Eurozone member states. That was a fundamental challenge to the principle of the single market, which we successfully overturned in the court. But it points to the looming challenges ahead, when proposals like their financial transaction tax are developed. Even the most pro-European in the room would, in time, come to question the benefits of British membership of the EU if we did not tackle these issues now.’

In his Mansion House speech, Bank of England Governor Carney denounced the banking class for a ‘culture of impunity’, and warned the bankers that ‘The age of irresponsibility is over’ – that is, the age of ‘too big to fail’ or too big to be jailed. He added: ‘Criminal sanctions should be updated, with market abuse rules similarly extended and maximum prison terms lengthened.’ He said the Bank of England under his predecessor, Lord King, failed in the run-up to the financial crisis because it failed to effectively control markets where abuse was rife.

Capitalism is in such a desperate crisis its fate cannot be left in the hands of ‘irresponsible’ bankers and capitalists filled with a sense of ‘impunity’ where abuse has become systematically ‘the norm’. Even Osborne had stated: ‘The public rightly asks: ‘Why is it after so many scandals so few individuals have faced punishment in the courts?’

The Lord Mayor, Yarrow, had opened the show by saying, ‘Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. … It’s like a supermarket with no security cameras – if someone takes something without paying, it is theft. Theft is theft.’

Theft is theft is exactly the way that the working class feels about capitalism and the exploitation carried out by the bosses and the bankers. A system that exists by stealing the surplus value produced by the working class, in the era of the decline and collapse of monopoly capitalism, has degenerated into organised, theft, pillage and plundering by the ruling classes.

There is no way that the bankers and bosses can be policed into a more ‘ethical conduct’. They are happy as they are. They must be overthrown by a socialist revolution that takes society forward from capitalism to socialism, with a planned socialist economy on a world scale that functions solely to satisfy the needs of society.