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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2019

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

New Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, photo by David Spender/CC

New Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, photo by David Spender/CC   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

The Liberal Democrats, Britain's most shopworn and undeservingly smug little bosses' party, have elected a new leader. Jo Swinson is a management graduate, sworn enemy of Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity promise, and former minister in Tory David Cameron's coalition government.

As an MP, Swinson has eagerly put her hand up for austerity across the public sector. This includes benefit cuts, the pay cap, council cuts, the bedroom tax, raising VAT, hiking train fares, cutting corporate tax, protecting bankers' bonuses, tripling tuition fees, and abolishing Education Maintenance Allowance.

She has also supported privatisation of Royal Mail, NHS services, schools and forests, and backed fracking and overseas military interventions. As an employment minister, she supported zero-hour contracts and cautioned against meaningful increases to the minimum wage.

At times in the past, the Lib Dems feinted to the left on some issues. They hoped to capture the votes of young people and workers disenchanted with Blairite Labour's pro-capitalist politics.

Today, the Liberals pin their electoral hopes singly on defending their beloved, neoliberal European Union. They hope that understandable public anxieties about the chaos of the Tories' exit 'plans' will be enough to make up for the vicious anti-worker politics they share with the bosses' EU.

What it all shows is that Tories, Liberals and the EU are just three cheeks of the same rear end: politics for the super-rich, not the working class. The answer to Swinson, Johnson and the rest is to create a mass party for workers. Booting the Blairites out of Labour and fighting for it to adopt socialist policies would be a great start.

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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.

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In The Socialist 31 July 2019:


What we think

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


Special feature

"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


International socialist news and analysis

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

Huge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


 

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Related links:

Liberal Democrats:

triangleWorkers' movement must launch a campaign for a general election

triangleFighting for socialism amid capitalist chaos

triangleCorbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

triangleTUSC: To stand or not to stand?

triangleLessons of the 'N30' 2011 pension strike

Austerity:

triangleBoris's new big deal

triangleNews in brief

triangleReading workers' movement responds to knife attack

triangle20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders.

Liberals:

triangleNetherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

triangleConservatives humiliated in Richmond

triangleLiberals' 'democratic' conference

EU:

triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Splits in the EU

triangleBattered Tories face divisions and growing anger

European Union:

triangleCatalonia independence movement two years on

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