Tories Declare Class War – By Permission Of The Liberal Democrats

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Young Socialists marching in Cambridge for a socialist future and against workfare
Young Socialists marching in Cambridge for a socialist future and against workfare

The draft coalition agreement reached by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats published on Wednesday makes clear their number one priority is to make the working class pay for the economic crisis.

Tory savage cuts and imperialist policies will be implemented with the Liberal Democrats allowed to ‘make the case for alternatives’, and even to abstain in parliamentary votes without affecting the coalition with the Tories and removing the Tory majority.

The agreement states

‘1. Deficit Reduction: The parties agree that deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain.

‘We have therefore agreed that there will need to be: a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes. . .

‘The parties agree that a plan for deficit reduction should be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of the signing of any agreement. . .

‘The parties agree that modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front line services can be made within the financial year 2010-11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability. . .

‘2. Spending Review – NHS, Schools and a Fairer Society: The parties agree that a full Spending Review should be held, reporting this Autumn, following a fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the private sector. . .

‘The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments. The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place.

‘We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.

‘The parties commit to holding a full Strategic Security and Defence Review alongside the Spending Review with strong involvement of the Treasury.

‘The government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. . .

‘The parties commit to establishing an independent commission to review the long term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights. . .

‘3. Tax Measures: The parties agree that the personal allowance for income tax should be increased in order to help lower and middle income earners. . .

‘The increase in Employer National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives will go ahead in order to stop Labour’s jobs tax. . .

‘We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement. . .

‘4. Banking Reform: We agree that a banking levy will be introduced. . . We agree to bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector. . .

‘We agree that ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and should be a core priority for a new government, and we will work together to develop effective proposals to do so . . .

‘We agree to bring forward proposals to give the Bank of England control of macro-prudential regulation and oversight of micro-prudential regulation.

‘The parties also agree to rule out joining the European Single Currency during the duration of this agreement.

‘5. Immigration: We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work.

‘We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

‘6. Political Reform: The parties agree to the establishment of five-year fixed-term parliaments.

‘A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. . .

‘The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. . .

‘We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motions by December 2010. . .

‘In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election. . .

‘The parties will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups. This will include a full review of local government finance.

‘7. Pensions and Welfare: The parties agree to phase out the default retirement age and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. . .

‘The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work.

‘We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work should be referred to the aforementioned newly created welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case.

‘We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged under 25 should be referred to the programme after a maximum of six months. . .

‘We agree that receipt of benefits for those able to work should be conditional on the willingness to work.

‘8. Education: Schools: We agree to promote the reform of schools in order to ensure: that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand; that all schools have greater freedom over curriculum; and, that all schools are held properly accountable.

Higher education: We await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding. . .

‘If the response of the government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.

‘9. Relations with the EU: . . .We agree that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom. . .

‘10. Civil liberties: The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.

‘This will include: A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill. The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.

‘Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission. . .

‘Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

‘The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury. The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

‘The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech. Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. Further regulation of CCTV. Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason. . .

‘11. Environment:

‘The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including: The establishment of a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters. . .

‘We are agreed that we would seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.

‘Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new national planning statement) and provided also that they receive no public subsidy.

‘We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible. . .’

In return for five cabinet seats and a number of other government posts, the Tories have been given the go-ahead for immediate savage £6bn cuts, which the Lib Dems opposed during the three pre-election debates.

They will now also allow the Tories to go ahead with their Trident programme and even their nuclear power programme.

On the question of the EU the Liberal euro enthusiasts agree not only that there should be no more transfer of powers to the EU in the next five years. but that they will oppose any attempt to join the euro!

They have also forgotten their amnesty for illegal migrants, and now support keeping them out, and presumably will support repatriation.

They also agree, despite all the pledges to the opposite to allow the Tories to accept and implement the results of Lord Browne’s inquiry into student finances which is expected to recommend a steep increase in fees or even the ending of the capping of fees.

They will be allowed to abstain on the vote without any comeback as far as he coalition is concerned. They however will not be allowed to vote against.

They have betrayed millions of students for five cabinet seats!

The Liberals also show their hatred of working class youth, agreeing to one Workfare scheme for youth and that youth can be directed onto it as soon as they become unemployed.

They also join the Tories in kicking the pensioners in the teeth!

The Tories have been given the majority that they require to attack the working class.

The Liberals have been given the right to abstain on a number of issues, but not to oppose, without wrecking the coalition.

The reality is that they are now part of the Tory assault on the working class since the Tories could not carry out their attack without them.

They have betrayed the millions that voted for them!

The moment the Tory-Lib Dem coalition moves to implement this anti-working class programme whose essence is public spending cuts, pension cuts, welfare cuts and workfare, they must be met with a general strike – to bring down the bosses’ coalition and go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.