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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 January 2003

Economic crisis, war, attacks on public services

Time To Fight Back

IF TONY Blair has been studying the opinion polls, then he won't be expecting a happy New Year. Whether it's on the state of the economy, public services or war against Iraq - opposition to New Labour's policies is growing.

Christine Thomas

With the world economy in crisis, an expected budget deficit of 20 billion and a forecasted slowdown in house prices and consumer spending, it's not surprising that gloom about the economy is the worst it's been since September 11 2001. 44% think that New Labour's policies won't improve the economy compared to 38% who think that they will.

Nine out of ten people expect a war in Iraq in the next 12 months but the biggest group - 44% - are opposed to war. Hundreds of thousands will be taking that opposition onto the streets for the 15 February anti-war demo.

There is mounting anger that New Labour can find money for a war for oil while refusing to pay the firefighters and privatising public services.

52% disagree that New Labour's policies will improve public services. Seven out of ten think hospitals and schools will stay the same or get worse and three out of four expect no improvement in public transport.

Discontent amongst public sector workers is set to increase in 2003. One-fifth of GPs want to quit the health service and one-third of teachers expect to leave in the next five years. The firefighters' tremendous struggle (which is not yet over) against low pay and to defend the fire service is an anticipation of the struggles to come, especially in the public sector.

Working-class and young people need a political voice and a political alternative to the pro-big business policies of the establishment parties. That's why the campaign for a new workers' party will intensify in the coming year.

The Socialist Party will be at the forefront of that campaign, as well as opposing war with Iraq and fighting to defend public services.

Why not join us in 2003?

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 10 January 2003:

Economic crisis, war, attacks on public services

No to war with Iraq

Support the firefighters

Venezuela: Why The Oil Bosses Are 'Striking'

World Economy: The Crisis Deepens

USDAW executive elections

New Labour Claims We Live Too Long


 

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