Monday, May 17, 2010

The Millionaires take on the Millions

This is it then – here is the Chancellor’s speech in which he announces the Emergency Budget.

In a speech full of ritual denunciation of the previous Government (so much for “new politics”) we are promised more and more pain.

We are told that it is all somehow in our interests – that if we don’t savage public spending it is we who will suffer.

Osborne says, “If we don’t get on top of our debt, every family in Britain will be poorer and the dreams of millions of young people will be dashed”.

On the contrary premature reductions in the deficit will make some of us a lot poorer and most of us a bit poorer. If, like two thirds of the Cabinet, you are a millionaire the I suppose it doesn’t matter much.

This budget is the dream of millionaires and a nightmare for millions.

A majority of our Cabinet of millionaires went to public (i.e. private) schools or (as they sometimes prefer) “independent” schools. They seem to value a certain independence…

The “independent” Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the creation of which Osborne announced today, is “independent” it seems to me in much the same way as an “independent” central bank.

Our rulers want to increase their “independence” from accountability to us. The “independent” central bank takes key monetary policy decisions out of the democratic sphere and this new creation will start to do the same for fiscal policy.

Of course, in a class society, no one is truly “independent” and what these bodies will do is what a capitalist society needs from the state – they will attempt above all to reproduce the conditions in which private capital can make a profit.

Politicians sometimes have to pretend to care if economic policy decisions taken in pursuit of that overriding objective devastate our public services. The “independent” OBR, just like the “independent” central bank, doesn’t need to bother, and furnishes the politicians with an alibi.

The trade unions need to plan from now for a massive demonstration outside Parliament on the day of the Emergency Budget to signal the start of the war that must now be fought to defend our public services and our Welfare State.

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