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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2011

Tories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

Peter Scott, Worcester Socialist Party

I went to a recent recording of BBC Radio 4's programme Any Questions in Worcester.

There were questions on Northern Rock's sale to Virgin, youth unemployment and the lost generation, scrapping the rise in fuel duty and paying for it with a lower rise in benefits and should Cameron try to regain powers from the EU.

Labour MP Diane Abbott urged that Northern Rock should be run on a "different model" and said "not to keep it state run" but to be the old mutual-style building society. Later she said: "Nobody is saying there shouldn't be cuts."

Owen Patterson, Tory minister and MP for Shropshire North, supported Iain Duncan Smith for Tory leader and was parliamentary private secretary to Ann Widdecombe.

He said several times that the UK is borrowing 232,000 a minute. The audience seemed to think he should answer the questions, but he thought we should realise that he knew what was best for us. One person asked what planet he lived on.

He said "everyone is better off because of our austerity programme". He said there were 90,000 vacancies in retail and 44,000 in hospitality. It seemed a mystery to him why people were not taking these low-paid, insecure, probably part-time jobs with no career prospects.

Telegraph journalist Ian Martin, even more right-wing, made a point of saying how difficult things were. He put on a sad face, particularly when saying that the UK's state sector was bigger than that in the USSR and that 'obstacles' to creating jobs - such as the minimum wage - had to be done away with.

An audience member pointed out that times did not appear to be too hard for Mr Martin.

Patterson told us we could not dump our debt on the next generation, that we had all "been on a cruise, first-class" but now the bill had to be paid. Shouts of "when did the cruise start?" came from the hall.

The Tories plan to reduce working class people's living standards and will do so unless a determined opposition is mounted.

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In The Socialist 23 November 2011:


Pensions' strike, N30

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

Reasons to be on strike


Socialist Party feature

Capitalism is crisis - there is an alternative - fight for socialism!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Con-Dems worsen the housing crisis

Massive job cuts undermining NHS

Millions unemployed - workers and students must unite and fight!

Them & Us


The Socialist - Readers' comments

Tragic effect of recession

Why I became a socialist


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jarrow marchers put forward an alternative

No answers from politicians on Newsnight

Save Coventry Sure Start

Update: Occupy

Support the anti-cuts election challenge

State intimidation of young protesters

Tories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

Women: sick of sexism, discrimination and cuts?

Mansfield - build houses, create jobs

Pensions protest in Maude's constituency


International socialist news and analysis

Why Europe's capitalist leaders cannot save the floundering eurozone project

Ruling PSOE battered in Spanish general election

Syria: Eight months of mass protests met with bloody brutality

Egyptian masses fight for real change


Socialist Party workplace news

Greece and Italy get unelected technocrats - Southampton gets chief executives!

Construction workers fight pay cuts

Fire service cuts

Bus drivers strike over pay

Workplace In brief


Obituary

Obituary - Geoff Atkins


 

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