Friday 9 December 2016

When are British workers going to start blaming the Tories?

In 1896 Peter Kropotkin wrote that "the worker feels vaguely that our present technical power could give abundance to all, but he also perceives how the capitalistic system and the State hinder the conquest of this well-being in every way". Given the huge technological advances in the last 120 years his idea of abundance for all stands truer than ever, especially in an advanced and wealthy society like the UK.

The reality is starkly different. Workers in the United Kingdom have suffered the joint biggest collapse in the value of their wages of any country in the developed world. Since 2008 only workers in crisis stricken Greece have seen such huge declines in their real terms incomes.

Things have got so bad that a record high of 3.8 million workers are living in poverty, plus another 2.6 million children in working households who are living in poverty. In Tory Britain having a job is no safeguard from poverty, and having parents who work is no safeguard from poverty for children.

While the burden of Tory austerity has been loaded onto vulnerable people and ordinary working families, the bankers who actually caused the global financial sector meltdown continue to get vast bonuses and the tiny super-rich minority have literally doubled their wealth

It should be crystal clear to every worker that Tory economic policy is actively pushing things backwards. Technological abundance should mean that fewer and fewer workers should be living in poverty, but under Tory rule the huge advances of the 20th Century are being rapidly snatched back from the majority of people and redistributed to the super-rich minority (the people who completely bankroll the Tory party).

The really sad thing is that the modern British worker doesn't even seem to understand the basic fact that the Tory party exists in order to promote the interests of the super-rich at the expense of everyone else.

Millions of British workers actually went out and voted for for the Tories in 2015, then millions more voted for Brexit in 2016 thinking that their rebellion would somehow make their circumstances better by giving the political establishment a kicking.

Now the reality is becoming clear. Brexit has handed even more power to the Tory party, who simply switched their leader and then continued exactly the same policy of extracting wealth from the majority of people in order to redistribute it to the super-rich minority.

Brexit has simply given fanatically right-wing Tories like Michael Gove the green light to ask British businesses to draw up lists of the employment and consumer protection rules they would like to see scrapped so they can make more profits for themselves at the expense of their workers and their customers.

Brexit was a snake oil revolution that looks set to lead to a Tory bonfire of employment rights and even more rapid declines in standards of living for British workers than they achieved between 2010 and 2015.

If Brexit is going to come with a huge price tag, then it's absolutely guaranteed that a Tory government will extract that cost of it from ordinary people in order to protect the the interests of the super-rich*. 

Even if Brexit causes the already appalling declines in workers' wages to accelerate, it seems likely that the Tories will maintain their grip on power. They only needed 24% of the electorate to vote for them in 2015 in order to achieve a majority government.

As a result of George Osborne's austerity con British workers suffered the longest sustained fall in the real value of their wages in history during the last parliament, yet the Tories not only won, but actually increased their grip on power.

Now it's become clear that British workers are getting the absolute worst deal in the developed world alongside Greek workers, but if things continue to follow the same pattern the Tories will win the next General Election with a landslide victory!

The only way to break this pattern is for sufficient British workers to wake up to the fact that the cause of their problems isn't immigrants, or unemployed people, or the EU, or whichever scapegoats the mainstream press are pushing ... The cause of their problems is the Tory economic policy of extracting wealth from the majority in order to redistribute it to the super-rich minority.

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* = In fact one of the first (and only) Brexit policies the Tories have announced is their determination to continue the vast handouts showered on the wealthy landowner class by the EU.

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