By Nicky Dempsey
The growing recognition that the 2015 election is Labour’s to lose has led to increasing rightwing pressures on the Labour leadership to maintain the essential thrust of ‘austerity’ policy.
The overwhelmingly Tory press focuses on the demand that Ed Miliband in particular commits to maintaining Tory spending plans.
By Jane West
The death of Margaret Thatcher is being shamelessly exploited by her Tory successors, including by awarding her an entirely inappropriate national funeral. This is all in the service of presenting the most divisive British Prime Minister of the 20th century as the most successful post-Churchill Tory leader, an electoral wizard, a paragon of statesmanship, the flame-bearer of liberty and ‘freedom’, a feminist icon and an innovative policy maker.
None are true.
The Financial Times has reported that the government’s plans to boost spending on infrastructure have effectively been blocked by the leading banks and investment funds (Infrastructure hopes hit by City stand-off, November 18).
By Paul Roberts
Since this summer a renewed wave of mobilisations has emerged across the Middle East and North Africa. The unrest has included big and often violent protests against the US in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Turkey.
In addition to demonstrations against US-inspired Islamophobia, protests have been sparked off by a wide range of other issues – examples of which include the following.
As the Euro-crisis unfolds and Greece heads to new elections, the left party, Syriza is capturing the support of most of those in Greece who want to reject the austerity programme imposed by the EU.
It is striking that the impact of the world developments, and particularly the growth of the left in Latin America, has clearly interacted with this political leadership of resistance to austerity in Greece. It was recently reported in the Guardian, of Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras: 'one of his heroes is Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, with whom he shares the same birthday.'
By Stephen MacAvoy
George Osborne’s latest budget launched another assault on living standards of millions of people whilst defending narrow interests and further entrenched the policies that are creating economic stagnation. Only a clear break with these policies will prevent a detrimental impact on the living standards of the majority and years of slow growth.
By Jane West
While it is welcome that Stephen Hester, CEO of the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been forced to forego his grotesquely inflated bonus – and that his predecessor Fred ‘the Shred’ Goodwin has been stripped of his knighthood – the truth is the whole furore has been used to divert attention from the most central issue and real scandal relating to the banks.
By James Wilkins
The latest economic figures showing that the British economy shrank in the last quarter of 2011 underlines the damage that Tory economic policy is causing – both to growth and living standards. A clear alternative to its ‘austerity’ policies is needed, but the Labour front bench’s recent further capitulation to the Tory economic framework weakens both the struggle for such an alternative and its own electoral position.
By Brian JowellsIn a serious admission the Financial Times, which cannot be accused of pro-socialist bias, has set out the facts on how capitalism, at least in the imperialist economies, now makes you worse off. In an article under the title ‘Spectre of stagnating incomes stalks globe’ it notes:‘In the postwar years, there was a belief in developed economies that each generation could expect to have materially better living standards than their parents. Yet the outlook for income growth has rarely looked worse than it does today…
By Nicky DempseyOpen disagreements have broken out between the EU Commission and the European Central Bank on the issue of whether Greek government debt should be ‘restructured’ or ‘reprofiled’ in some way. Debt restructuring would require that the bondholders, mainly European (including British) banks, take some losses on their bonds by having their value written down. ‘Reprofiling’ is a much more modest proposal which may involve little more than extending the life of the bonds, so that interest and capital repayments are drawn out over time.
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