Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/828/19465
Fed up with fairy tales?
We need ideas to change the world
Come to Socialism 2014!
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party national organiser
And once the budget deficit was wiped out, everyone lived happily ever after. Only in a Disney film, right?
Don't be surprised if Tory ogre George Osborne gets a cameo role as a hero in some sickly sweet Disney flick. After all, since 2007, the British government has handed Disney almost £170 million to make films here.
This is symptomatic of the Tories' penchant for corporate welfare. The bailout of the banks, after they triggered the economic crash, has been followed by a bailout of big business.
Corporate welfare comes in many forms. Privatisation legislation so blood-sucking, out-sourcing companies can squeeze profits from our public services. The selling off of publicly owned land at bargain basement prices. Or the more straightforward wheelbarrows full of cash being carted round from the treasury to the HQs of the super-rich 1%.
Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty reports on a new review of government generosity when it comes to big business. Audit author Kevin Farnsworth estimates that corporate welfare costs almost £85 billion a year. But it's the £5 billion paid out that year in income-based jobseeker's allowance that gets the headlines. Here's a story: last year, Amazon, the multi-millioned tax-dodging book-monger, received more in government grants than it paid in corporation tax!
Is this a comedy? Or a tragedy? Piled on these figures, as Chakrabortty points out, is the £25 billion that was paid to workers whose bosses don't pay enough to sustain the life they squeeze our labour from. Tax credits, housing benefit, council tax benefit... And the Tories plan to cut those still further.
No happy ending?
Left in the hands of the capitalists and the politicians who defend their interests, this story has no happy ending for workers and young people. Indicative of this is a government plan to scrap £347 million of crisis funds to families facing homelessness and starvation in April. So is the £8 minimum wage whimper from Labour's Ed Miliband - by 2020. These pro-big business parties have no solutions to the problems faced by the 99% and only seek to further enrich themselves at our expense.
But across the world the working class and the youth are re-writing the script. Witness the democratic uprising in Scotland that brought Cameron to his knees as he contemplated the end of the union and his own political career. And the pro-democracy students in Hong Kong. And the fast food workers in the US who are dreaming (and fighting for) a new 'American dream' of a living wage and affordable homes.
Socialism 2014 will be a weekend to debate ideas to change the world. Not just to expose the corporate greed and inequality that exists, which must be done - but to discuss alternatives and strategies for achieving them.
Don't miss it!
Socialism 2014: 8-9 November, London
Book you place now! www.socialism2014.net
In The Socialist 8 October 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns