Monday, 2 June 2014

Labour should ditch austerity

Labour can do all the in-party arguing and handwringing over the Ukip threat it likes, but if it continues with its policies of apeing the current austerity policies, and refuses "to undo the coalition`s cuts in the next government", election victory can be little more than a pipe-dream! (Labour cannot afford to reverse coalition`s cuts,says finance spokesman,Guardian,30/05/14) After so much ideologically inspired austerity, where the Tory-led coalition has used the excuse of having to repay debt to carry out its wish to shrink the state, it`s time to buck the trend. Does Labour intend to take government interference back to 1948 levels, like the Tories have admitted? According to tax expert Richard Murphy, a more sensible approach is to "run a deficit equivalent to GDP multiplied by the rate of inflation and effectively stand still in budget terms". By all means Labour should "emphasise commitment to fiscal responsibility", but unless there is an end to this enforcement of poverty on the most vulnerable in our society, there can be little point in voting Labour. Even the IMF has suggested that the rich should be paying more tax, and that there is more economic growth in countries where a reduction in inequality is a priority.
 Many recent studies, like the one by Godwin and Ford, have revealed, if the election results weren`t clear enough, that many of Farage`s supporters are ex-Labour voters, white, working-class and "dispossessed". Does the Labour leadership really believe that the policies listed in the article, like rent caps and GP appointments within 48 hours, are radical, fundamental and different enough to win them the next election? How many people, who have seen their real incomes reduced significantly by this government, believe austerity is essential, when billions can be spent on an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, the unnecessary Trident renewal, HS2 railway, and third runway, billions wasted in cheap sell-offs of our taxpayer-owned assets and tax reductions for the very wealthy, billions more in subsidies to private companies to run public services, and yet billions more not going to the Treasury because of the government`s feeble efforts to rein in tax avoidance and evasion? For all of us to be told that there will be little change if Labour is elected is probably not the best slogan for 2015!  In fact, it smacks of cowardice. 


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