by Chris Floyd
On Wednesday — the day before Britain’s unions launched the largest strike the country has seen in almost 90 years — the UK’s coalition government finally removed its mask of ‘moderation’ and showed its true, ravenous face. The government’s economic honcho, George Osborne — a young, smirking, smarmy upper class twit who makes George Bush look like Will Rogers — announced yet another round of savage cuts that will batter and cripple the lives of the poor, the vulnerable, the young, the sick, and ordinary working people.
It is all part of a relentless program of “austerity” that is ostensibly designed to “cut the deficit” but is actually a ruthless, draconian — and very deliberate — attempt to radically remake society for the benefit of the wealthy few. (And considering how elitist British society has always been, this is ideological extremism at it most fanatic and frothing.)
But it’s important to remember that this is not just a Conservative government. It is a full and formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats — precisely the kind of “moderate centrists” and “serious, savvy progressives” so highly praised by the American commentariat. The LibDems are, in essence and practice, “Blue America”: the goodhearted liberal folks who know “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and are willing “to work within the system,” making the “tough choices” and sausage-grinding compromises necessary to mitigate the system’s worst elements and maybe, just maybe, make things a little better.
But here is the result of all this serious savviness on behalf of progressive ideals: the LibDems are now helping implement the most regressive policies that Britain has seen since the Victorian era. They are presiding — happily, even giddily — over the wanton ravaging of a society already brought low by the brutal, bipartisan religious extremists — blind, fanatic worshippers of Mammon — who have held sway in Britain, America and Europe for more than 30 years. The LibDems are Obama: socially liberal, fiscally conservative, willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of millions of innocent people to save a thuggish elite from facing the slightest consequence of their own criminal greed and stupidity.
Still, today’s strike is a hopeful sign — a one-day “Occupy Everything” movement that is clearly just the beginning of a long, fierce pushback against the Mammonists. Even so, things are going to get much darker as the extremists fight with equal fierceness to preserve their feudal privileges. Polly Toynbee details the impact of the latest barrage from Osborne and his savvy, progressive enablers:
Class war, generation war, war against women, war between the regions: George Osborne’s autumn statement blatantly declares itself for the few against the many. Gloves are off and gauntlets down, and the nasty party bares its teeth. …
Exposed was the extent of pain for no gain, exactly as Keynesian economists predicted, a textbook case. Things are “proving harder than anyone envisaged”, says Cameron. But precisely this was envisaged by Nobel-winning economists. Extreme austerity is causing £100bn extra borrowing, not less, while everything else shrinks – most incomes (the poorest most of all), employment, order books and exports. …
What was missing from his list? Not one penny more was taken from the top 10% of earners. Every hit fell upon those with less not more. Fat plums ripe for the plucking stayed on the tree as the poorest bore 16% of the brunt of new cuts and the richest only 3%, according to the Resolution Foundation. … But not a word passed Osborne’s lips on tax avoidance and evasion .. while some £25 billion is evaded and £70 billion avoided. In a time of national emergency, Osborne had no breath of rebuke about the responsibility of the rich not to dodge taxes, no threat to curb the culture of avoidance. Despite the High Pay Commission report on out-of-control boardroom pay – which even the Institute of Directors has called “unsustainable” – the chancellor said nothing. How adamantly he ruled out the Tobin tax on financial transactions, called for by those dangerous lefties Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.
Instead came the great attack on public sector employees on the eve of the biggest strike in memory. This was a declaration of open class war – and war on the pay of women, 73% of the public workforce. After a three-year freeze, public pay rises are pegged at 1% for two years, whatever the inflation rate. That means this government will take at least 16% from their incomes overall. …
But the direct assault on the poor is almost beyond belief. Watch how the big, powerful charities on Tuesday expressed uncharacteristic outrage. Along with the Children’s Society, Save the Children is fiercer than I can ever recall, calling this “dire news for the poorest families – both in and out of work”; “A major blow”, says 4Children; while Barnardo’s calls it “a desperate state of affairs when the government’s own analysis shows that a further 100,000 children will be pushed into poverty as a result of tax and benefits changes announced today”.
That 100,000 is added to the 300,000 that the Institute for Fiscal Studies already expected to join the numbers of poor children from Osborne’s previous cuts. ….
100,000 children crushed with a single stroke of a pen! That’s class war with a vengeance. Not nearly as many children as our Anglo-American elite have killed outright in, say, Iraq, of course — but still, pretty good work for one day. And the little twit says there will be at least “six more years” of austerity to come before his sacrifices to Mammon — sorry, I mean his deficit reduction plan — is complete.
Looks like I’ll be trotting out this old chestnut for years to come.