Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/282/24434
Economic crisis, war, attacks on public services
Time To Fight Back
IF TONY Blair has been studying the opinion polls, then he won't be expecting a happy New Year. Whether it's on the state of the economy, public services or war against Iraq - opposition to New Labour's policies is growing.
With the world economy in crisis, an expected budget deficit of £20 billion and a forecasted slowdown in house prices and consumer spending, it's not surprising that gloom about the economy is the worst it's been since September 11 2001. 44% think that New Labour's policies won't improve the economy compared to 38% who think that they will.
Nine out of ten people expect a war in Iraq in the next 12 months but the biggest group - 44% - are opposed to war. Hundreds of thousands will be taking that opposition onto the streets for the 15 February anti-war demo.
There is mounting anger that New Labour can find money for a war for oil while refusing to pay the firefighters and privatising public services.
52% disagree that New Labour's policies will improve public services. Seven out of ten think hospitals and schools will stay the same or get worse and three out of four expect no improvement in public transport.
Discontent amongst public sector workers is set to increase in 2003. One-fifth of GPs want to quit the health service and one-third of teachers expect to leave in the next five years. The firefighters' tremendous struggle (which is not yet over) against low pay and to defend the fire service is an anticipation of the struggles to come, especially in the public sector.
Working-class and young people need a political voice and a political alternative to the pro-big business policies of the establishment parties. That's why the campaign for a new workers' party will intensify in the coming year.
The Socialist Party will be at the forefront of that campaign, as well as opposing war with Iraq and fighting to defend public services.
Why not join us in 2003?
In The Socialist 10 January 2003: