Politicians have their eyes on the general election. The leaked proposals from George Osborne’s last pre-election Autumn Statement were all about spinning the line that the Tories rescued Britain from economic crisis.
Osborne declared he could announce big spending packages because, thanks to him, Britain is in economic recovery.
Osborne’s announcements don’t include any new money. And much of the road and flood control spending is blatantly targeting marginal Tory seats.
The blur of figures and pre-election spin cannot hide the reality of the last four and half years of Tory rule.
A new poll by the bosses’ Financial Times newspaper showed that 60 percent of people think the recovery has helped “people who are comfortably off” but not “people who are struggling”.
The Tories have made sure that the rich and powerful have come through the crisis–and many are even richer than before.
At the same time they have relentlessly attacked ordinary people’s living standards.
Food bank use has gone up by 700 percent, homelessness is up by a third and 3.5 million children officially live in poverty.
Low wages and rising prices mean that record numbers of people in work are also living in poverty.
Yet Labour is offering nothing different. The party’s leadership is attacking the Tories for not cutting the deficit enough.
But this is as good as saying that the government hasn’t slashed public spending enough.
We don’t need more people saying “cut public spending”. We need an alternative that supports the struggles of working class people against cuts.
Hundreds of thousands of health workers are fighting because the Tories won’t even give them a measly 1 percent pay rise.
Firefighters are striking to stop the government robbing their pensions if they can’t work till they are 60.
These are the people offering real resistance to the Tories’ assault.
Yet time and again union leaders have held back from calling strikes that could challenge the Tories. And the Labour leadership keeps away from the protests and picket lines.
Instead of an outright challenge to the Tories, we see the mainstream parties’ dangerous drive to make immigration a key election issue.
Politicians are intent on distracting us from their responsibility for poverty pay and cuts. This determination to scapegoat migrants has allowed the racists of Ukip the space to grow.
That’s why we have to build an alternative that opposes austerity –whoever is imposing it– and stands against the racist agenda that blames migrants.