Jobs, Growth, Justice Say no to unnecessary and unfair spending cuts Saturday 26 March 2011Assemble 11am Victoria EmbankmentMarch to a rally in Hyde Park For more details of the TUC’s March [Read more]
By Andrew Williams
The Tory-led government has already responded to the emergence of a significant wave of resistance to the start of its assault on public services with threats to the right to protest. In response to the wave of student protests it has raised the potential of using water cannon against demonstrations and called for even tougher police tactics. It has justified this by claiming it is a majority of the protesters that are violent, and therefore all protesters must be treated as presenting a threat to breach the peace. Such claims also de-legitimise protest and deter participation in future demonstrations through fear of violence from the police.
By Stephen MacAvoy
There is increasing awareness that the deep cuts proposed by the Tory-led government – amounting to £81bn in 2014/15 alone – pose a threat not only to living standards of large sections of society who did not cause the crisis, but also risk sending the economy back into a downturn or years of low growth.
By Nicky Dempsey
Delegates launch the TUC’s All Together for
Public Services campaign outside TUC Congress
The TUC Congress in Manchester marked an important development in the campaign to oppose the coalition government’s frontal assault on the living standards of workers and the poor.
When the Labour leadership of Darling and Mandelson introduced their own measures in March this year, Darling left no-one in doubt – infamously boasting that these cuts would be ‘worse than Thatcher’. Not only did this guarantee that Labour lose the election, it disoriented many and opened the floodgates for the media to wage a relentless campaign that cuts were unavoidable to address the public sector deficit. It is only as the reality of the cuts begins to be widely recognised that the mood has shifted. That shift has been aided by the handful of national politicians who have publicly opposed the cuts and instead proposed a programme of government investment to revive the economy and narrow the deficit through growth. These include Ed Balls, Ken Livingstone and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas.
By Jane West
Last week Ed Balls made a speech on the economy, entitled ‘There is an alternative’, which saw the first break in the political consensus in support of cuts and a framework of ‘paying down the deficit’, and puts forward a strong case for investment rather than cuts.
Not surprisingly, the speech was a leading item on the news the day after it was made and was widely covered in the print media, as Balls is the first senior politician – apart from Ken Livingstone in setting out his case as Labour candidate for London Mayor – to advocate an alternative strategy to that of the Coalition.
by James Norton
All the opinion polls which have come out since the budget confirm the politically damaging character of the budget and the consequent deliberate decision by Alistair Darling to declare that public spending cuts would be ‘tougher and deeper’ than under Thatcher.
Three new polls were published on 29/30 March. Opinium registered the Tories lead increasing from 7% on 22 March to 10% on 29 March. ComRes, which had give a Tory lead of 5% on 28 February, by 28 March recorded a Tory lead of 7%. YouGov, which prior to the budget had seen the Tories lead fall as low as 2%, on 29 March recorded the Conservatives having opened up a 7% gap over Labour.
In short the period prior to the budget, when Labour had been emphasising the difference between its position and Tory cuts, saw the Conservatives lead shrink dramatically. The moment that Alistair Darling delivered the budget, and deliberately talked about cuts worse than Thatcher, Labour’s position worsened significantly.