When Tory chancellor George Osborne got to his feet at Tory party conference this week he announced a further £10 billion in welfare cuts.
That’s on top of £18 billion cuts to benefits already announced. These are cuts the Lib Dems had promised would not happen without new wealth taxes.
Osborne said he wouldn’t “balance the budget on the wallets of the rich”. Yet he still dared to repeat his lie, “We’re all in this together.”
One group in the Tories’ sights is young people who get housing benefit. Osborne said they want to take it away from under-25s, forcing many to move back in with their parents. Housing charity Shelter says this would hit 385,000 households—and more than 50 percent of them have children.
Osborne said austerity could last until 2018. He also launched a new attack on workers’ basic rights. Bosses will be able to take away rights from new workers, such as the right to sue for unfair dismissal.
In return they would have to offer a bribe of a few shares in the firm—which could turn out to be worthless.
At the same time the “shares for rights” scheme scraps capital gains tax on shares up to £50,000. That’s not a tax break that will help workers, but the fat cats will appreciate it.
There was no sign of cuddly Cameronism as the Tories showed their true face as the “nasty party”. A Socialist Worker source inside the Tory conference secure zone said the place is packed with posh stalls selling expensive swag.
“There’s a Harvey Nicholls stand selling champagne and handbags,” they said. “There’s also a Crombie stand selling very expensive clothes. And the fur trade association stall is doing a roaring trade.”
And our source got a surprise when they tried to buy a newspaper. “In the shop were three very perturbed women customers demanding to know where they could get a copy of the Daily Mail. It had run out—at 9.30am.” That is the crowd the top Tories are playing to.
London mayor Boris Johnson called for a revival of grammar schools, saying, “I’m a strong believer in competitive education.” And justice secretary Chris Grayling unveiled “shoot a burglar” plans.
David Cameron said, “You can do anything as long as it’s not grossly disproportionate.” What does he mean by this? “You couldn’t, for instance, stab a burglar if they were already unconscious.” So if they’re conscious, anything goes.
The real robbers are the Tories. And by their own logic we can fight back by any means necessary.