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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2010
'Get on your bike'
AT THE height of the 1981 recession Tory cabinet minister Norman Tebbit infamously demanded that the unemployed 'get on their bikes' and move to areas where, supposedly, there were jobs.
Last week, the current Tory work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, also told unemployed council tenants to move to areas where there are jobs. The Tory MP hinted that he wanted powers to force them to move.
IDS says millions are trapped in "ghettos of poverty" with high unemployment, unable to move for fear of losing their homes. But his strategy of turning the unemployed into industrial nomads wandering the Home Counties in search of work is deeply flawed.
Even if jobs in areas of low unemployment were readily available, there clearly is not enough social housing in these places to enable council tenants from unemployment hotspots to swap their council houses and move.
And in areas like the south east the high cost of housing means that workers would need to be earning over £50,000 a year to think about applying for a mortgage on a modest-sized house in the cheapest London borough.
It is already the case that due to the lack of social housing many essential workers such as health workers, firefighters, teachers, etc, cannot afford to live in high cost areas in the south east but are forced to commute long distances.
Rising unemployment is not the result of uncooperative council tenants refusing to travel but the result of a deep capitalist recession made worse through government spending cuts.
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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 30 June 2010:
Only one choice... Fight back!
War and occupation
Western strategy on Afghanistan in tatters
Socialist Party editorial
From stimulus to austerity at dizzying speed
No Job Cuts
Academies: Fight the Tories' offensive on state education
Opposing the slash and burn budget
Spending cuts increase deaths
'Get on your bike'
Socialist Party workplace news
Unison general secretary election: Prentis vote falls despite Con-Dem attacks
Tube workers ballot for action
Thousands of jobcentre workers threatened with dole
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party youth and students
United for Education day of action 21 June
Students say no to rip-off graduation ceremony
No to cuts in EMA!
National Shop Stewards Network
National Shop Stewards Network conference: An urgent call for united working class action
International socialist news and analysis
France, Italy: Workers struggle against savage austerity cuts
Australia: Gillard replaces Rudd but Labour's right wing policies remain
Socialist Party review
Trotsky admirer copies his idol
Challenging the global warming sceptics
The Socialist 30 June 2010 |
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