George Galloway Online
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- Anatomy of a Tory U-turn
- Who feels 'entitled', posh boy? Cameron's welfare ...
- MPs call for ban on EDL march
- BRADFORD VOTERS ARE DIM, SAYS LABOUR MP
- Free the Olympics
- A World of Chaos - talk by Kevin Ovenden
- Why doctors are taking industrial action to defend...
- MPs act over Thomas Cook closure
- UK Uncut - The missing billions
- Palestinian hunger striker Mahmoud Al Sarsak nears...
- Bleeding us dry
- Bradford gets Respect
- COOK PUTS PROFIT OVER PEOPLE
- Tickets, Anybody Got Tickets?
- John Carlos - the whole nine yards
- A diamond job: the inhumanity of Workfare
- It's the taking part...
- ▼ June (19)
- ► 2011 (145)
Sunday, 17 June 2012
by George Galloway MP.
The outlines of this government of millionaires are now being hashed out daily.
The British economy has already returned to recession - after a near flat recovery which left most of our people untouched. Now both the Bank of England and the Treasury have woken up to the threat of an outright economic catastrophe, having spurned the warnings of increasing numbers of independent economists over the last year.
This week they came up with another eye-watering £80 billion for Britain's enfeebled banks to try to stave off what could in the coming days and weeks be a financial hurricane more ferocious than that ushered in by the collapse of Lehman Brothers nearly four years ago. But the underlying dogmatism of austerity for the many and largesse for the few remains right at the centre of the coalition government's policy. Like some demented First World War general Osborne and Cameron, with Clegg as recruiting sergeant, are throwing wave after wave of working people over the top and into the canon fire of unbridled capitalist crisis.
Five hundred workers and their families paid the price in Bradford this week with the announcement by Thomas Cook that it was closing down its operation in the city. And according to Osborne and co, it's everyone's fault but his own. Apparently we face further economic meltdown thanks to weak banks and the spiralling crisis in the eurozone.
But why are the banks in such a state? It is precisely because their immoral grip on the economy has been left intact even as hundreds of billions of pounds have been stuffed into their mouths. Against all the evidence, this government - following the worst of the policies of the last Labour government - has decided that instead of the public exercising control over investment and lending decisions at least commensurate with the government funds that have gone into the banking system these levers must be left in the same private hands that enriched themselves while leading us into the financial crisis in the first place.
So despite record low interest rates and the Bank of England churning out more cash at the touch of a computer key the banks are not lending and investment is not taking place. We now have the absurdity of government borrowing costs at near zero, but a determination in Downing Street not to invest in infrastructure, jobs and actually making things that people need and in a way that can be sustained economically and environmentally for future generations.
These people are supposed to believe in the market. But what the market prices are telling them is that with interest rates so low there is a healthy return to be made by any state enterprise that was given the funds to invest now. Instead, the grim orthodoxy, of the kind that turned the Wall Street crash into the Depression of the 1930s, prevails - even as the consensus is breaking across Europe, radically among the people and more timidly in the figure of President Hollande in France.
The chill winds cannot be put down to events far away over which the British government has no control. Britain is not in the eurozone, but the British government has volunteered out people for the shock therapy that elsewhere is being imposed in Greece, Spain, Ireland and other countries that have been forced by the unholy trinity of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission to bleed their citizens dry.
The British centre right government remains as adamant as Angela Merkel and the sado-monetarists in Berlin that the people of Greece must bleed yet more. So it was nothing short of sickening to see Osborne at the Mansion House playing Pontius Pilate and blaming the eurozone crisis for mounting suffering here.
Tomorrow sees fresh elections in Greece, which in antiquity gave us the word democracy. Every anti-democratic trick is being deployed in the country and across the continent to frustrate the will of the Greek people, who have rejected the failed austerity dogma. If the bullying and bludgeoning (there's nothing in the way of bribery) fails and a government which reflects the popular mood is returned tomorrow, which could happen if the radical left Syriza coalition wins a plurality of the vote, then expect the most ferocious hue and cry from the elites across Europe who have been both handing out billions in bailouts and been receiving them for the last four years.
Greece, quite simply, will be treated as Europe's Gaza - we allowed them democracy but they voted the wrong way and broke the rules: so they must be punished. There is already the filthiest of chauvinism directed against a people who have the longest working hours and among the lowest pay in Europe. The labour movement in Britain cannot sit on the side lines as our government elbows its way into the front row to give Greece a further kicking. Nor can we rely on the front bench of the Labour Party to voice a clear alternative. It stands on the unreconstructed right of European social democracy. If Hollande's break from the orthodoxy is tepid, then Ed Balls's is barely hand hot.
The suicide rate in Greece is skyrocketing. Hospitals are running out of medicine. Images of whole families on the streets in Athens could have come out of the US dustbowl in the 1930s. A policy which says we should have just a little less austerity today rather than a radical change in direction inspires no one - not the unemployed generation in southern Europe and not the families in Bradford reeling from another major jobs massacre.
The left must find its voice. If we do not, then the siren calls of the racist right will. As working people across Europe struggle to resist there are signs that the values and principles which have guided the left, and which underpinned the social settlement that put an end to the hungry 1930s are finding a resonance.
Now's the time to assert them in plain language, with conviction and with whatever concerted action can be mustered.
The trade union movement in Britain has called for a major national demonstration against the austerity on 20 October this year. It should be congratulated for doing so. These are not normal times and this cannot be a ritualistic parade. It should be an immense outpouring rejecting the fundamental course this government and the European elites are taking.
Every city, town and village should be represented. The distressed areas - as the leader of the movement of the unemployed Wal Hannington put it eight decades ago - should come en masse to central London and declare for an alternative. The work for that begins now and must be carried out with verve and imagination, connecting the bastions of union organisation with the vast numbers who feel unorganised, unrepresented and alone. Every MP and councillor who claims to represent the interests of working people should be at the head of vast contingents of their constituents on the streets of London - Bradford says no, Manchester says no, Glasgow says no to austerity and yes to a new course.
And as we aim to rewin the left's case here, we do so not alone, but alongside the peoples across Europe and beyond.