Democrat - Editorial September-October 2010 (Number 120)
ConDems play the cards dealt by Brussels
Cutting out the welfare state
The current era consists of those who have large sums in the bank or invested here and abroad versus those of us who hold little but would like to live with dignity, enough food on the table and a roof over our head. To increase money held in bank vaults and investments the system of diverting money from pockets and purses is being accelerated. Part of the means to carry this out is to transfer everything from the public sector to the private sector. Capitalism rests on three fundamentals – rent, interest and profit which is enshrined in the EU Constitution (aka Lisbon Treaty). This is the herd of elephants in the room which is not referred to by the political class.
The means to carry this transfer in 27 EU Member States is to be found in all the legislation, regulations, directives and policies emanating from Brussels. EU common austerity programmes are being forced into place not only in Britain but all of the other 26 EU Member States. To make sure governments carry out the programme they will be fined by the EU if the deep cuts are not achieved. This takes us back to Dickensian times when people were locked up in a debtor’s prison until they could pay off unpaid sums of money when robbed of the very ability to earn an income.
According to the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact rules, Britain and all EU Member States must bring down budget deficits to 3% of GDP and the debt to 60%. Respectively Britain’s deficit is 11% and the debt is 71.3%*. The Commission has decreed that debts must be brought down each year by 5%. Finance ministers have agreed that national budgets should be approved by the Commission. The shell of decision making is left in Westminster which detracts from the real governors – the Commission and Council of Ministers in Brussels. Big Ben may still ring out the time but the works are in Brussels.
The national debt can be reduced by withdrawal from the EU and end paying for the infamous corrupt CAP which consumes a large part of the EU Budget. Over the period of 2007-13 which covers the period of planned ConDem cuts Britain is due to pay net into the EU Budget the princely sum of £50 billions.
The last two large institutions in the public sector, Royal Mail and the NHS, have been lined up by the ConDem government for privatisation. Royal Mail is now to be handed to the private sector with the possibility of a foreign company taking over the postal service which was first put together by the ingenious Victorians. This is all in line with EU Directives on postal services which lay down that “market forces” must be adhered to within the definition of the Single European Market - namely the “free movement of capital, services, goods and labour”.
The NHS set up after World War II has been eroded over the past period and is to be torn apart by the latest reorganisation by removing Primary Care Trusts (PCT) and pass commissioning of services to very busy GPs. These doctors are not trained in running a business and will be forced to turn to private business managers who are interested in making profit not looking after the health of people. Hence, the real objective of the reorganisation is to let “market forces” loose on the NHS to enable private medical companies to pick all the flesh and bones out of the NHS. The result will be a health service industry where patients are turned into customers as in the United States where money dominates. Allegedly giving GPs the power to pick and choose service providers is a con to cover the “free market” being imposed on the NHS to smash this institution to pieces. In a nutshell, the latest reorganisation is the nearest to privatising the NHS that successive governments have got.
These are only two examples of the overall scheme. Other aspects subject to cuts include pensions and benefits currently provided by the welfare state. And, before you are entitled to a pension people will have to work longer. This is the very point that workers and students are striking and protesting about in France. Greece has had workers on several general strikes and miners have withdrawn their labour in Spain. Ireland is also lined up for massive cuts and is suffering a recession which can be seen in all the building sites at a standstill across Dublin.
It becomes quite clear that the alternative is to oppose all the cuts however many fig leaves are produced to cover them called “fairness”, “efficiency”, “sharing the burden” and “we are in this together”.
The economy must be taken back and based firmly on manufacturing and skills used and not on the disastrous financial sector with bonuses for speculators which has taken Britain to the mess we are now in of rising unemployment .
Part of the way out of a bleak future is to bring to an end the military-industrial-complex which costs enormous amounts of money and ends up with Britain taking part in wars the other side of the world which do nobody any good and cost precious lives. Britain must stop playing deputy chief constable of the world carrying out US foreign policy.
The world needs manufactures especially the continent of Africa and large parts of Asia where for instance an electrical generation and distribution systems are required, transport systems based on railways and a huge range of material articles. Trade with these countries must be based on mutually agreed terms and not on any form of imperialism.
This rational and progressive course must be taken to put people back in work with old and new skills where they can pay taxes rather than drawing on unemployment benefits. Instead of playing in a mad casino wealth must be created and trade enhanced for the benefit of the world including the peoples of Britain and their future wellbeing.
*Office of National Statistics quoted in Mail 1.10.10