Thursday, 4 October 2012

Natalie Bennett: The trouble with Labour... public sector pay freeze, NHS privatisation, green economy

Natalie Bennett on Huffington Post

As October begins, and the Labour Party conference is in the headlines, people across the country are preparing to unite for a march in London to stop austerity's attack on the UK.

And while the two are in the news, the obvious question is: 'Will Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members express unequivocal support for the March for a Future That Works?'

The march, which takes place on 20 October, has been organised by the trades union movement and will see thousands of members of the public, union members, political organisations and campaign groups show their opposition to the Coalition's heartless, failed, false economies.

The government's cuts have not only failed the most vulnerable, who are forced to watch as the services on which they rely are taken from them, or even those who have lost their jobs as the government sets about trying to make the economy grow by removing money from it.

They have failed everyone. Even those of us fortunate enough not to have lost our job, or a benefit on which we relied, must face the fact that the coalition's policies have not even achieved what Osborne promised.
In June 2010, he told us that the cuts would hurt. They have. He told us that they were necessary. The Green Party disagrees, but if the chancellor lacks the imagination even to consider a 'plan B', he can perhaps be forgiven for thinking that they were.

But he also told us that his cuts would reduce the deficit. They have done the opposite. Instead of reducing the deficit by 4.6%, as the Chancellor promised, his economic illiteracy has instead forced it to grow by 22%t between April and August.

The Coalition promised 'change'. Instead, the government has given us more of the same privatisation, casualisation, and demonisation of the poor, people with disabilities, and public sector workers.
So much for the Coalition. But isn't this where we would expect the Labour Party to step in?

To take care of its traditional supporters, those who work, or want to but cannot, to build a better future for us all?

The opposition is in the middle of a 'policy review'. So far, it has taken since February 2011.

Nobody expects rebalancing the national finances to be straightforward. And nobody believes it's in Labour's interests to reveal policies which could be 'stolen' from them - even though it could be in the nation's interests to hear them.

But the problem with Labour at the moment is not what it is NOT saying: it's with what it IS.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was RIGHT to warn that the coalition's austerity plans would crush any chance of a 'recovery'. But he has recently told us he would stick to public sector pay freezes, which will leave thousands of workers worse off, year on year, in the face of inflation.

And while Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham tells us he will 'repeal the Health and Social Care Act. Full stop,' the party's leader seems not yet to have made up his mind whether to reverse the effective privatisation of almost half of the NHS.

Perhaps he doesn't know. Maybe his Party hasn't yet made up its mind. But on 20 October, I and other members of my Party will be out on London's streets, supporting working people and making it clear that we understand you cannot put an economy back on its feet by throwing people out of work and undermining the public services that keep society ticking.

We believe that the green economy - vital in any case to avert international climate disaster - holds one key to tackling the deficit. The government's own figures show green business is the only sector bucking the recession, with 4.7% growth from 2010-11, providing an extra £5.4bn of economic activity.

We must get serious about reviving our manufacturing industries and bringing food production back to Britain. That's essential - environmentally and economically. And we need workers to be able to buy the goods and services they need. The Labour Party may not agree, although we hope it does. But whatever its view is, now is the time its traditional backers - and the country as a whole - need help.

We will be marching on 20 October. Will the Labour Party?

1 comment:

Trevor said...

Anyone that supports the labour party are gluttons for punishment.
whoever voted for them in 97 because you fell for that rubbish about things getting better,surely your illusions were shattered once they showed what they are inside?
I truly Believe that Politicians belong not in number 10 downing street or the houses of parliament, but in one huge trash -can specifically created for all of them to be dumped in and for it to be sealed forever....and then those who are qualified for running the country and won't abuse and exploit the people they are meant to serve and will put principle before profit, they are the ones that we should forever be grateful to and give our whole hearted support and loyalty to.