Why can the country not afford the things that it could afford forty years ago? Why have we to work longer hours and see our our pensions cut? Why do so many suffer zero hours contracts, insecure jobs or phoney self employment? Why are libraries and youth clubs closed and care homes privatised?
Why are students pushed into tens of thousands of pounds of debt? Why are benefits cut and people driven to food banks? The government plans to cut another billion pounds a year from public spending. Today’s young workers will have to work till they are 70 before they qualify for a state pension. Their private pension, if they can afford one, will have been drained dry by the boys and girls in the City. Young people will be pressured to take any job at any price. And it is all necessary, says multimillionaire Chancellor George Osborne, because we have to make cuts.
Yet he country is now thirty times wealthier than in 1970 when we could afford all the things we apparently can’t afford now.
What is different is who has got the money. Since the 1970s the richest have been getting richer and richer. One per cent of the population now get 20% of all the country’s income, four times as much as they got in the 1970s.
The soft target to blame immigrants. Yet immigrants contribute more to the economy and are exploited more than the rest. There is a harder fact to face up to.The fact is that the rich and powerful exploit us all. Any political party which says that it cares has to face up to these facts. What party will seriously take on the rich and powerful? We also have to help ourselves. That means becoming involved in opposing cuts to our services, to pensions and wages and to benefits. It means being vocal and active in our society and, at work, in our trade unions.