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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2010

Main parties promise more of the same rotten cuts agenda

Underwhelming, nauseating, garbage... These are just some of the more polite words that will spring to the minds of workers and young people as they read and hear the New Labour and Tory election manifestos.
With no answers to war, recession and corruption, they offer mere soundbites. Unstintingly anti-working class, the manifestos are also patronising.
Both parties claim they are giving people 'choice' and 'power' over public services, when everyone knows they plan to hack them to the bone. Here are some immediate responses:

These manifestos are nothing but a further promise to continue with Tory policies, deepened and extended by New Labour over the last 13 years, to privatise education and break-up local authority control.

Martin Powell Davies at the Lewisham demonstration against destructive school policies, photo Paul Mattsson

Martin Powell Davies at the Lewisham demonstration against destructive school policies, photo Paul Mattsson

Talk about parental 'choice' is a smokescreen. Why can't parent choice be extended while maintaining local authority control? Linking 'choice' to fundamental changes in the way our education system is run, is not choice, it is holding parents and teachers to ransom.

Labour thinks it speaks for working people. It does not. These policies are already unpopular amongst teachers, teaching assistants and, in my experience, parents. Continuing with them will not win them votes.

I'm supporting the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in my own area of Lewisham because I see a genuine effort here to re-engage ordinary people in politics and genuine ideas about running public services in the interests of ordinary people rather than continuing the drain to the private sector.

Martin Powell-Davies, National Union of Teachers NEC (personal capacity)

New Labour is continuing its cynical strategy to cut state welfare provision. They propose to offer psychology to 'those who need it' meaning those on benefits or those off sick from work, as a way of pressurising them into work. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or a derivative of it (the only psychological treatment on offer) is time limited and therefore cheap. Any form of long-term analysis is for those who have plenty of time and money.

CBT locates problems within the individual, rather than within society, which suits a government which has done nothing to reduce social inequalities.

Those who suffer poor pay and conditions at work, bad housing etc will get depressed and anxious but CBT therapy will only serve to patronise or confuse vulnerable people. CBT therapists are being dispatched to job centres, showing that New Labour is effectively targeting the working class and aiming to cut the welfare state to resolve the economic crisis, instead of confronting the greed of the capitalists.

Mental health worker, South London

Labour, instead of creating jobs for young people, is instead focusing on driving them into minimum wage jobs with no protection and ironically, no guaranteed job at the end of it.

The Future Jobs Scheme means young people can be used to supply cheap labour to businesses, undermining and driving down current pay and conditions.

Trade unions, claimants and young people need to unite and fight for the right to decent jobs, education and training for all young people - no to slave labour schemes.

Lee Vernon, Welfare rights campaigner, Brighton

Has the world gone crazy? I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the utter nonsense that George Osborne was coming out with on News at One. He was talking about workers getting together to run public services.

This might sound like a much better plan than leaving it in the hands of either big business party, but I think Osborne and the Tories have something more sinister in mind.

They want us to wield the axe for them, to make cuts and to destroy our much-needed services, not to trust workers' skills and experience and to provide them with the funding necessary. The Labour manifesto yesterday was similarly a load of rubbish.

Susan Wills, FE college lecturer and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in William Morris ward, Waltham Forest, east London

quote opening

Labour's manifesto promises to protect the post office. But the Labour Party has used anti-union private company TNT to distribute its election material in Coventry.

Rob Windsor, Socialist Party councillor

Rob Windsor, Socialist Party councillor, photo Senan

Labour has presided over the closure of our main post office in Coventry and did not support the striking postal workers who took action to defend a vital service against privatisation.

Their manifesto is riddled with hypocrisy, making it clearer than ever that working class people and trade unionists need their own party.

Rob Windsor, Socialist Party councillor, Coventry

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In The Socialist 15 April 2010:

Main parties promise more of the same rotten cuts agenda

Voters face 'slash and burn' policies whoever wins election

Help build a socialist alternative in the general election


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