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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 June 2019

Tories deny dire poverty ...look around you! Boot out the Tories

Tories out, photo Paul Mattsson

Tories out, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Tessa Warrington, Leicester Socialist Party

"I reject the idea that there are vast numbers of people facing dire poverty in this country." Those were the unbelievable words of Tory chancellor Philip Hammond.

In an interview on BBC Newsnight, Hammond discussed a recent UN report which describes poverty in Britain as "systematic" and "deliberate." It references the findings of the Social Metrics Commission that a total of 14.2 million people - a fifth of the UK population - currently live below the poverty line.

The report charts the normalisation of food banks, rising levels of homelessness and child poverty, drastic cuts to benefits, and severe restrictions on legal aid. This 'normalisation' apparently translates to selective blindness for Hammond, who was estimated to himself have a net worth of 8.2 million in 2014.

He continued: "I don't accept the UN rapporteur's report at all. I think that's a nonsense. Look around you, that's not what we see in this country."

Even Newsnight interviewer Emily Maitlis was compelled to disagree. "We're in Downing Street, so if I look around me I'm not going to see a lot of poverty, but if I went to other parts of the country I would."

Most of us don't need a report to know the extreme level of poverty in Britain. Most of us see it every day; at work, on the streets, in the schools and at home. 1.5 million people experienced destitution in 2017, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Hammond, arch-defender of the super-rich elite and his own wealth, is not blind, but has in fact been the author of austerity, of poverty budgets for the working class, throughout his time as chancellor.

Average chief executive pay at 'FTSE 100' top firms has risen to 145 times that of their average workers, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Sir Angus Deaton, author of the review, warned the bosses: "There's a real question about whether democratic capitalism is working, when it's only working for part of the population."

The capitalists see mass anger brewing under the surface of society, and growing disillusionment with the pro-capitalist political establishment. In reality, they only care about lessening inequality to save their system and their wealth.

But under capitalism, there is no solution on offer, as ten years of global economic crisis and austerity have demonstrated. The alternative is the working class getting organised and fighting to build a new society, along the lines of a publicly owned, worker-controlled, democratically planned, socialist economy.

The working class has waited long enough. Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union leaders must call mass mobilisations for a general election to kick out the Tories.

A fight for a Corbyn-led government with a firm socialist programme to end austerity would receive a massive echo, and could be a first step towards building a mass socialist movement to change society.

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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.
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In The Socialist 5 June 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must go on the offensive against the right with socialist policies


News

Tories deny dire poverty ...look around you! Boot out the Tories

Reverse the GP cuts

Theresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

Laughable research denies low-pay scandal

Them & Us


Tiananmen square

The Tiananmen Square massacre - 30 years on


Workplace news

Strike together to kick out the Tories!

Nationalise the threatened Glasgow 'Caley' railway depot

Welsh train fleet workers' victory

Fighting to stop school meals privatisation

UCU conference 2019: Preparing for struggle

Sexual harassment of LGBT+ workers shows need for unions to fight

Universal Credit workers' strike


International socialist news and analysis

India: Modi victory underlines need for real socialist fightback

Counter-revolution in Sudan


Nineteen Eighty-Four

70 years since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four: "But if there was hope, it lay in the proles"


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tens of thousands march against Trump

Worcester libraries campaign victory

South Yorkshire: No to fire service cuts!

Protesters condemn Tory candidate

Step forward for campaign to reverse mobility pass cuts in Nottingham

LS26 campaign lobbies council to save their homes

Neglected Newham tenants demand action

Protest against Send education funding cuts


 

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Related links:

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triangleFight for jobs and safety

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triangleUNICEF feeds children in the UK for the first time

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triangleLuxury for some, poverty for the rest of us

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Austerity:

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