Sunday, 4 December 2011

Who Will Save Us From The Stench Of Thatcherism?

This rant is a gung-ho reply to a pathetic blog by Peter Watt: The Public Sector Cuts Must Go Further

Peter Watt represents old, defeated Labour’s bankruptcy in the face of the debt crisis.


Apart from some half-baked notion that we might tell people how they benefit from their taxes (which local government does already), he has accepted whole-scale the Tory concept of a smaller state.

Banging the ‘Back to Poverty’ Drum
When I hear people like this telling me that we can no longer afford the welfare state – that we can no longer afford to build roads, maintain hospitals, pay pensions or provide policing – then I am reminded of Gandhi’s assertion that there is enough for the world’s need, just not enough for people’s greed.

Is Peter Watt REALLY telling me that we are poorer as a nation than we were in 1945?
Is he REALLY suggesting that we need to go back to the 1930s?

The simple truth is that we need a change of heart at the top. It is not the poor who need to change their scrounging ways … it is the rich who need to see that – three decades after Thatcher told them it was OK to be selfish – it isn’t.

For three decades we have staggered on, believing against hope that we can make up with borrowing the money we have been told the rich needed to keep, to keep them interested.
Thirty years later, we find – no surprise – that it hasn’t worked. That we have, as a nation and personally, crippling levels of debt. And that, the more we give them, the more the rich (who are mainly impersonal hedge funds, corporations etc.) couldn’t give a sh*t. The more we give, the more they take, and the more they demand.

The Stench of Thatcherism
So things need to change. And the answer is to eradicate from our country, wholly and permanently, the stench of Thatcherism.

Firstly, we MUST get rid of the debt. Any solutions which suggest we can borrow to pay off our debts need laughing out of court. Lunacy. We need to take action to clear our debts – national and personal – and that includes those quasi-borrowing schemes such as PFI. Let’s explore ways to pay off our debts which DON’T include screwing the poor – e.g. acknowledging that we aren’t a world superpower any more and pulling out of Afghanistan. And if the government can suddenly rewrite the pension agreements of millions of public sector workers, why the hell can’t it re-write the ruinous PFI deals it made in the 1990s?

Secondly, we need to stop trying to squeeze more money out of those least able to provide it, and start taking it from those who can. We can start by closing the tax loopholes that allow corporations and the super-rich to avoid paying tax. Instead of coming to a deal with tax-evaders which lets them off with much of what they owe, let the Inland Revenue collect the full amount PLUS penalties which amount to multiples of what they owe. And when tax exiles like Lewis Hamilton set foot in the UK, let’s arrest them and collect the tax they owe.

The Need for a New Direction
We’re always being told that, if we don’t pamper the rich – the so-called ‘wealth-creators’ – that they’ll leave us and we’ll sink into recession.
Excuse me, but this feels very much like a recession now to me.
So I say call their bluff.
They make their money by taking it from you and me - they're not going to go away.

Peter Watt represents old thinking from an former fantasy world where unbridled capitalism would deliver the good life to us all. It is THAT world which has failed, and we need to set about creating a different one. Peter Watt has become an irrelevance.

The question is this: faced with the need to choose a new direction, do we choose a socially-fascist Tory world where the workers live like Chinese peasants so the rich can prosper?
Or do we choose a world where the national community cooperates to deliver social justice for all?

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