Well we knew that it was coming and we knew that it would be nasty, but it certainly didn't make Tuesday's Budget any more palatable. Truth has been turned on its head and the economy is being adjusted to deal with a fiction. That fiction is that swingeing cuts, the like of which we haven't seen in a generation, are necessary if the country isn't going to be thrust into chaos and bankruptcy; but they aren't necessary and the economy wouldn't have collapsed into entropic disaster without them. The truth is that the massive public-sector cuts and the vindictive attack on the benefits structure that Chancellor George Osborne has inflicted on us is a sop to the pressure from international bankers and speculators, to the grey men of the IMF, the European Union and the City. It's a capitulation to those who have said that, unless the government inflicts massive pain on the population, they will attack the currency and the country's credit rating with all the considerable weapons in their armoury, bringing about a crisis which would make the Greek disaster pale into insignificance. The poor are once again targeted disproportionately by this pack of coalition wolves, this collection of Tory class warriors and Lib-Dem turncoats.
There's £11 billion to be slashed from the benefits bill.That's a mind-boggling sum to rip off from those least able to defend themselves. And it's being done in the most dishonest way possible, by linking benefits to the CPI measure of inflation rather than RPI at a time when the RPI measure has gone up by 5.1 per cent in the past year , while the CPI has risen by 3.4 per cent. This will hurt households reliant on benefits significantly because of the way that spending in poorer households operates. And it will hurt even more when the 2.5 per cent VAT rise comes into effect on January 4, taking it to 20 per cent. Spending by government departments will, we are told, be cut by 25 per cent over the next four years - put like that, it doesn't seem to be that significant. But when you realise that government departments deal with everything in your life from schooling to health and safety at work, the impact becomes a little clearer. Public-sector wages frozen for two years will certainly not please civil and public servants. But this real-terms pay cut will hit the manufacturing and retail sectors as well, with the dramatic cut in the amount of spending power in the economy that it represents. And freezing child benefit for three years sounds like picking on families rather than saving the nation's credibility.
But perhaps abusing families is what it takes to win brownie points with the City? If we're all taking the hit equally, why is corporation tax going to be cut by 1 per cent every year for the next four? Doesn't sound all that equal to me at least. What this says is that we can forget about any recovery. The Tories and their Lib-Dem toadies are going for broke. They are front-loading a huge attack on working people early in their term of office and attempting to use phoney claims of a financial crisis to justify redrawing the economic map of Britain. Every service that is crippled will be accompanied with a transfer to the private sector justified by the specious claim of "attracting private capital," when what will happen in reality is that what will be attracted are profiteers and speculators. The leeches will have a field day and the profits will flow freely - as freely as the lifeblood of an economy that is being hijacked by those who see public service as an opportunity to milk the public purse and benefit recipients as mere parasites and scroungers, not people in need of help and support from their society. It's an attack of huge proportions and unlimited malevolence and we are going to have to tell this government that we are having none of it. It's an assault that will have to be resisted by every parliamentary and extra-parliamentary resource that we can summon. And it's a fight that must be won.
A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.