Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/232/9255
War... recession... We Won't Pay The Price!
WITH BATTLES continuing in Afghanistan and Bush's bellicose threats to Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and other poor nations, it is clear that the war is not over. US bombs are still raining down on Afghan civilians. More refugees are being created and food still not getting to the hungry who need it.
Now, we're told, the world economy is officially in recession. This will affect ordinary working people in this country as well as internationally. Declining tax revenues and growing payments for unemployed workers could leave the Treasury £4 billion short of cash.
Even before this recession the Institute of Fiscal Studies calculated that taxes would have to increase by £4 billion if current spending on health and education was to carry on after 2003.
As usual, we will be expected to pay for a crisis not of our making.
They can always find enough money for war but not for public services. Even if Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) are included, public investment in schools, hospitals, roads etc as a percentage of GDP will only be half the level it was under the Tories in 1985.
And yet, NHS waiting lists are growing. 60% of extra money for the NHS has already been spent with little sign of improvement. 58% of people are unhappy with the state of the health service. 50% expect their operation to be cancelled. Our transport system is one of the most expensive in Europe and our roads are the most congested.
We will also be expected to pay through attacks on our democratic rights. The new anti-terror bill which Home Secretary David Blunkett is rushing through Parliament is a serious threat to civil liberties and could be used in the future against anyone who stands up and challenges the system and how it affects our lives.
We have to struggle on several fronts. We oppose the war in Afghanistan and any attempts to extend military action to other countries.
We also fight to make sure that the working class and poor in this country and elsewhere don't pay the price for capitalist war or capitalist recession.
In The Socialist 30 November 2001: