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Editorial Democrat January-February 2011

Where are we now?
What must be done?

Demonstration by 20,000 against the ConDem cuts in Edinburgh

Demonstration in Edinburgh in October 2010 by 20,000 trade unionists against the ConDem cuts

The EU has a rumbling financial crisis in the eurozone which has caused traumatic symptoms one after the other in several Member States. The latest episode has seen the Irish Government fall. The crisis has been attributed by political elites and “economists” to over-expenditure on the public sector, poor economic management by governments and greedy bankers. Remedies prescribed for the symptoms and not the cause include huge amounts of money being pressed on governments which eventually have to be paid back at high interest rates and handing over huge chunks of the public sector to the private “free” marketeers.

   The disease consists mainly of the cobbling together of 17 economies into one currency. The economic levers and rules for the eurozone are held in the hands of a centralised executive in Brussels and an unaccountable Central Bank in Frankfurt. At the base is the capitalist system now fixed in concrete in the European Constitution (Lisbon Treaty).

   Estonia is latest recruit to the crisis-ridden eurozone which is like joining the Titanic after it’s hit the iceberg!

   All this may appear to be over there, not including us. And we can enjoy the spectacle on TV as events unfold. However, it must be borne in mind that Britain is in the penultimate stage of joining the single currency, is subject to the Growth and Stability Pact rules and EU policies. This includes the four freedoms for capital, goods, services and labour within the European “free” Single Market.

   Although our Government repeats ad nausea that the country is broke the Government has raised money to lend to Ireland for a profit. Contrast this with the austerity policies now being put in place by the ConDem Government to get Britain out of debt and reduce the deficit. This prescription is one being forced onto the peoples in Member States right across the European Union and not just here in Britain.

   One proof of this is the agreed presentation of the Budget for approval to the Commission in Brussels as agreed by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer and millionaire Osborne. This is to make sure the Budget is austere enough, aligns with EU policies including the EU Constitution and to ensure that the working people in Britain take massive cuts in their standard of living and way of life. Top of the list is to hand over the public sector, including the NHS, to the privateers for profits.

   Resistance is growing to the cuts but what must be fully understood and put across to the labour and trade union movement in particular are the major EU factors and the key role they play in the current situation. This requires full support and participation by CAEF members and supporters in the TUC sponsored demonstration on 26 March by CAEF members and supporters where we can put the Democrat to good use. We can ensure that the basic causes of the crisis stem from Brussels and that bankers bonuses are only one minor part of the problem.

   In the longer run the objective must be to get Britain out of the EU and regain the right to self-determination and control our own resources, economic and financial affairs. We are now living through a period where the stakes are extremely high and opportunities are there to grasp. We have a near black and white scenario that requires a government which will look after the interests, wellbeing and future of the peoples of Britain. That objective can only be achieved with the participation   of the labour and trade union movement.

   These and other issues will be discussed at the CAEF AGM on 5 March 2011 preceded by a social on the evening of 4 March. This requires the support and presence of members and delegates from affiliated organisations.