By McMegaphone, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party and a teacher of English. Originally written for friends.
Plutocracy (pl -t k r -s )
n. pl. plu•toc•ra•cies
1. Government by the wealthy.
2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.
The 'austerity cabinet'/the cabinet of millionaires
Martin Luther King once told us that he had a dream. Ask yourself – what are your dreams? Perhaps they are to have children? Or a fulfilling job? Maybe you are even thinking of a comfortable retirement. These dreams may seem decidedly ordinary. In fact, they might even seem like the most mundane of aspirations.
Few politicians stir hopes now as Dr King did then; certainly not this side of the Atlantic. As Adam Curtis pointed out in his documentary of the same name, politicians much prefer drawing on The Power of Nightmares. When it was produced Curtis was addressing the cynical way in which the war on terror had been used to frighten the inhabitants of Western countries into sacrificing their civil rights. But a new decade has brought with it a new fear and now we are told that we must sacrifice our economic rights.
This fear is build on a number of lies repeated so often in the press that they have now become true. They are namely:
1. That the previous government was too generous in its spending thus bringing the country to its knees.
2. That the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut back on all of the social functions of the state while retaining all of its military and coercive ones.
These are lies. They are ideologically motivated lies to support the aims of a Conservative Party determined to do away with the last vestiges of the welfare state. Dr Joseph Gobbels once said:
“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle.”
Goebbels would be proud of the way in which those who wish to destroy the welfare state in Britain have been able to promote the lie that social spending must be cut in order to beat the recession.
As David Milliband pointed out in the Guardian the deficit has been caused by falling tax receipts, not by rising spending. So why then did George Osborne find room for a cut in corporation tax? Why could they cut National Insurance?
Contemplating their next move. Benefits? Snookered.
The answer is simple. This Government is a plutocratic clique of small-minded millionaires desperate to hang on to their money during the recession. Far-leftists like myself may enjoy caricaturing them as the henchmen of the deprave and all-consuming capitalist system that will eventually destroy the planet. The truth, however, is altogether far more pathetically British.
Despite overwhelming evidence that the way out of an economic recession is to stimulate consumer demand, the Conservatives have pushed ahead with the single worst measure that they could: they have increased VAT. The Left has already said enough about the impact this will have; cutting the income of the poorest by 2.25%, while only reducing the income of the richest by 1%.
However, I feel that it is necessary to add that the VAT increase is no way beneficial to capitalism. Retailers will lose out as they are forced to increase the price of goods therefore reducing sales. Inflation will soar as the price of many key goods in the RPI (Retail Price Index, a key indicator of inflation) will increase. The only people that the VAT increase will serve are the plutocrats that make up the Con-Dem Government. The tax will raise revenue for the Treasury while impacting upon them as individuals to a minimal extent. When I was a student many of you heard me attack the UK Government for its slavishly pro-American attitudes. However, as the G8 summit approaches, the UK Government is ignoring the Obama administration’s pleas to save the UK economy by focusing on increasing demand.
The result will be catastrophic for the UK economy. And you know what? I truly believe that the Liberal and Conservative MPs are willing to treat their own state with a disregard that is unprecedented. They don’t care if Britain stagnates, so long as they and their wealthy donors are alright.
So what is going to happen to you in this living nightmare? Will you be alright? You might. So long as you are willing to protect yourself from those who would steal your dreams.
Cute babies have now been outlawed by the Con Dem coalition.
The children you want have been stolen from you: with child benefit being frozen in preparation for being smashed and education cuts of 25% any responsible person must surely be having misgivings about having children. Recent discussions also suggest that those children would be very unlikely be able to afford a University Education.
The right to work in useful and gainful employment has been stolen from you: young people of all but the wealthiest social classes face bleak employment prospects. Not only are those of lower qualifications going out of work (page 5) but qualified lawyers, architects and teachers are finding it nearly impossible to find work; a fact that too many of you know all too well.
The right to a retirement has been stolen from you: from now on this will be confined to the wealthy elite who run this country, many of whom retire at fifty. The Conservatives, on the other hand, would like to see you retire at seventy. A Government that quite literally consists of aristocrats and millionaires would like to create a society in which they retire and you work to death. This last point is beyond even the imagination of Dickens.
No doubt you have heard this all before. You may quietly agree, but like the Labour Party feel that these cuts are necessary sooner or later. Perhaps you even think I am behaving in a sensationalist way. Maybe I should recognise that these cuts are necessary to ‘Save Britain’.
If you accept any of the lies that the Con-Dem Government, with great assistance from the media, has been able to successfully propagate you may find my proposed solution to the recession difficult to handle. However, mine is a tried and tested one.
Britain has faced a period of austerity before. After WWII the nation was crippled by overwhelming debts. Yet during this time the NHS was created, infrastructure rebuilt after bombing and full-employment worked towards. How was this Government able to pay back the debt then? Well, by taxing the rich. In the present day the simple fact is that the businesses owned by the rich cannot make money because the poor do not have enough money to buy goods from them. Only by redistributing wealth can the market economy hope to survive.
And what exactly does ‘redistributing wealth’ mean? This document may give you a flavour. However, the most important thing to remember is that cutting spending will not lead us out of the crisis – it will only allow David Cameron and his Etonian pals to preserve their wealth.
They have no right to steal your dreams from you. Wanting children, a retirement and employment are not lofty ambitions but reasonable expectations. You have a right to demand these things. You have a duty to resist those who would take them from you.