Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/200/8453
Foot And Mouth Disease... Economic Recession...
It's Their Crisis - Make The Bosses Pay
AS TONY Blair dithered about the election date, like he dithered about how to deal with the foot and mouth crisis, the bill for the government's incompetence is slowly rising.
Economists reckon the foot and mouth fiasco could cost over £9 billion. Who'll pay the price for this chaos? Not government ministers or big business. It will be workers in agriculture, tourism and small farmers.
Thousands of jobs have been lost in these industries in recent weeks. Studies estimate at least a third of small farmers will give up farming after this crisis.
Although they'll be compensated for slaughtered livestock, it will take up to 18 months before they can start selling produce again - where there will be no compensation for lost earnings.
Big agribusiness will weather that storm but small farmers, already earning miserly amounts, will go to the wall. Big business will then sweep up farms at knock-down prices.
But there's other costs too, which are escalating as evidence of government incompetence grows.
This incompetence, which adds huge delays in dealing with the outbreak, turning it into an epidemic and crisis, partly stems from years of public-sector cutbacks.
"Once again working people are being thrown aside like used sweet wrappers... If Ericsson won't keep the factory open, it should be taken into public ownership."
Socialist Party candidate,
Derbyshire County Council election
The billions spent in curtailing the foot and mouth outbreak will come from public spending. That means more cutbacks as a US and Japanese economic downturn threatens world recession.
Already workers are paying the price of economic slowdown: a slowdown Labour said could not happen because they had eradicated the economic boom and bust cycle.
In Ericsson's Carlton factory near Worksop, hundreds of workers are being laid off because the telecoms multinational plans to axe 6,000 jobs worldwide.
Ian Whyles, Socialist Party candidate in the Derbyshire county council elections said: "Once again working people are being thrown aside like used sweet wrappers. Ericsson made huge profits in recent years but at the first sign of trouble they make their workforce pay to keep shareholders happy. If Ericsson won't keep the factory open, it should be taken into public ownership under workers' control."
That's a message all Socialist Party candidates will take out in the general election. We won't let working-class people pay for the bosses' and government's crisis. It's their system, it's their crisis, make them pay for it.
In The Socialist 6 April 2001: