Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/869/21373
Why I joined
Socialist Party member, Kent
Five years ago the only mention of the word austerity I'd heard was when Billy Bragg sang about it in 'Between the Wars'. I surmised it was about people being skint.
In the run-up to the 2010 general election austerity became an economic policy based on 'belt tightening'. Labour had apparently been 'too careless with the nation's accounts' and to rectify this, the Tories proposed measures to balance the books.
Having left the Labour Party in my early twenties I was no longer a supporter of their policies or ideology, nonetheless I didn't hold them responsible for the global economic collapse of 2008! I was surprised when others did, as it was the banks and capitalism that were really responsible.
At this time I was employed as a social worker. The forewarnings of what to expect from the austerity agenda began to take shape before a single cut had taken place.
After the 2010 election many of us within social services were braced for the coming onslaught. As workers we were the first to be attacked. Mileage rates were cut, car user allowances were abolished and we were told to expect mandatory evening and weekend working.
During the following five years our caseloads increased fourfold. Arriving home after work I would set up my laptop and continue to work, often until 11pm.
In order to justify and pursue their policy of driving through cuts the local authority employed a private consultancy agency who was paid in the region of £6 million in order to save the council five times as much.
I ended up, before I left, with 120 clients on my caseload. That this is taking place in the welfare state makes me despair. That the Labour Party intended to pursue this process made me seethe. One night I googled 'Socialist Party' and reclaimed my anger, my fight and my sense of what is right.
In The Socialist 9 September 2015:
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