Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/570/7031
Fight against unemployment
Bailouts for the bosses... and therapy for the workers! This is the latest bizarre initiative from Labour to deal with recession in Britain.
Sean Figg, Youth Fight for Jobs national organiser
Admitting the inevitable human wreckage that will be wrought by mass unemployment and house repossessions, New Labour ministers Alan Johnson and James Purnell will bring forward millions of pounds earmarked for mental health services.
According to The Observer, ministers fear an "anxiety epidemic caused by the recession" among "people facing unemployment, debt and relationship breakdown". Before the credit crunch hit last year, these pro-big business ministers were exuberant in their overstatement of the universal benefits of free-market, deregulated capitalism. Now, in the face of the complete and utter failure of their neoliberal experiment, the understatement of the barbarity being inflicted on workers and their families is breathtaking.
To help us cope with the anxiety of losing our livelihoods and our homes, we will be offered walk-in therapy centres. There, we will be encouraged "to look more at potential solutions than the causes of [our] difficulties". This approach clearly suits New Labour ministers - a major 'cause of our difficulties'!
The evasion of any responsibility by these creatures seems to know no limit. New Labour politicians portray the economic crisis as outside of their control, as something we have no choice other than to endure until 'things pick up'.
Prevention is usually considered better than cure. Compared to New Labour's gimmicks it seems old-fashioned advice. Fred 'the shred' Goodwin - the banker that ran RBS into the ground - lost his job recently. Does anyone think he will be visiting a walk-in clinic with feelings of anxiety? With a £16 million pension pot that seems unlikely. He has a future of certainty. Creating some certainty about workers' future would be the best way to tackle 'recession depression'.
There are far more effective solutions to dealing with workers' anxieties than encouraging us to 'think positively' while hundreds of applicants queue to apply for one job.
A government that really wanted to do something about anxiety would tackle the causes, not just the symptoms. Immediately halting all house repossessions would be a good start. A commitment to nationalising failing industries in order to safeguard jobs would help as well. So would sharing out work with no loss of pay, the guarantee of a living income for all and the cancellation of student debt.
Although New Labour and the other mainstream parties are willing to keep the banks on endless life-support, workers cannot expect the same high-quality treatment.
Workers need to get organised and show that we're not nervous wrecks yet! That's why the Socialist Party is marching on the G20 as part of the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign. We understand the cause of our problems - the capitalist free market and pro-big business politicians.
Now we need to fight for our future. Our solution - getting organised and fighting for a democratic socialist society!
See Youth Fight for Jobs campaign including details of the march for jobs on Thursday 2 April.
In The Socialist 11 March 2009:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news