Comment and Blog

This section of the site contains blog and comment articles written by party members and some pieces from other organisations.

THE main point of austerity has never been to reduce the government’s annual spending deficit or the national debt.

If it was, the bond and currency markets would have punished Chancellor George Osborne every time he missed a deficit reduction target as the debt has grown.

Rather, austerity has been about enlarging the private sector at the expense of the public one, cutting the level of real wages, reducing the levels of corporation tax on big business profits and increasing both the mass and rate of corporate profit.

Slashing the number of central and local government employees by 581,000 since the Tory-led coalition took office in May 2010 has flooded the labour market, boosting what Marx called the “industrial reserve army” of the unemployed, undermining employment standards and wage levels.

This has played a major role in widening economic inequality between the regions and nations of Britain, as the GDP share in London, the south-east and the Midlands has gone up, while falling everywhere else.

Austerity has also been the cloak behind which whole swathes of the public sector have been prepared for privatisation, as wage bills are reduced, workloads increased and pension costs cut in potentially profitable public services.

Far from being “major devolution” or “putting power in their hands and giving them the tools to take charge” as David Cameron claims, the devolution for Cornwall seems stiflingly devoid of any real substance. Aside from positive press for the Tories and false promises for the people of Cornwall and an infrastructure system that seems set up to fail. Writes Owain, Cornwall Branch member.

Cornwall gets its first bit of devolution. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't mean more power for the people of Cornwall, it means less funding from central government, a possible merger between NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council and a decline in health and living standards. "Devolution" means lower wages for people working for the largest employers and a central government that is absolved of any responsibility for the welfare of people in Cornwall.

The people of Cornwall have long held themselves distinct from those of England: an opinion which has expressed itself politically over the centuries. Recently, with the Cornish being granted official recognition from the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of Ethnic minorities, long-held feelings of separatism, also inspired by the recent prominence of the Scottish Nationalists in British politics and across the media, have steered public opinion in favour of devolution.

THE working class and people of Greece have shown great courage and fortitude in voting against the austerity and privatisation measures demanded by EU finance ministers, the EU Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF.

But, despite fine words about respecting “democracy” and the Greek nation, this referendum result will be treated with the same contempt by politicians, bureaucrats and bankers as all the others which do not agree with proposals from the EU Commission.

The Greek people’s defensive salvo will now meet with a renewed offensive on behalf of the Commission, the eurogroup and the ECB to impose the kind of anti-democratic, anti-working class and anti-people programme tabled by unelected EU Commission “president” Jean-Claude Juncker.