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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 May 2013

End this 'evil bedroom tax'

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool Socialist Party
Leeds anti-bedroom tax demonstration 21 April 2013, photo by Mid Shelley

Leeds anti-bedroom tax demonstration 21 April 2013, photo by Mid Shelley   (Click to enlarge)

'How can the person responsible for driving through this evil bedroom tax look at himself in the mirror every day?'

This question was asked, not by a campaigning activist, but by the Radio Merseyside presenter of a popular day-time music and chat programme, not noted for its radicalism.

It underlines the growing revulsion with the Con-Dems' attempt to cut housing benefit and force people to move to smaller properties, often outside the social housing sector. The bedroom tax is proving to be the most repellent symbol of this government of millionaire sociopaths*.

Hostility is deep and wide-ranging: at a stall held every Saturday outside Great Homer Street Market in Liverpool, working class people queue up to sign the anti-tax petition; at meetings of the Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation people who have never been involved in any political activity show their willingness to fight.

Leeds  Anti-Bedroom tax demonstration, photo Mid Shelley

Leeds Anti-Bedroom tax demonstration, photo Mid Shelley   (Click to enlarge)

The fear of people, already struggling to eke out an existence, is palpable as story after story shows how the tax is wrecking lives. But the 'can't pay - will stay' slogan is being taken up across the country, by both those affected and those not directly hit but disgusted by the cold cruelty of the bedroom tax.

Tory hatchet man Iain Duncan Smith, the tax's architect, has tried to blunt the natural sympathy of those not affected by the tax by spewing out the 'scrounger' distortion of claimants receiving excessive benefits. His echoes in the right-wing press never explain that if people want to move to a smaller property in their area, rarely are any available.

At what stage does a distortion become a rank lie? The answer is when it drips from the poisoned tongue of Duncan Smith pontificating from the comfort of his Buckinghamshire estate, worth an estimated 2 million, where he resides in opulent comfort with his millionaire wife Betsy Fremantle, daughter of the Fifth Baron Cottesloe.

But this tax can be defeated by solidarity, based on the traditional slogan of the working class movement: 'a hurt against one is a hurt against all.' Stick together in a mass campaign and this politically corrupt government, mired in sleaze and split from top to bottom can be forced to retreat.

* Sociopath: Manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviour; lacking compassion and empathy.

Leeds  Anti-Bedroom tax demonstration, photo Mid Shelley

Leeds Anti-Bedroom tax demonstration, photo Mid Shelley   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist Party says:

National Shop Stewards Network conference

The 7th annual NSSN conference is open to everyone in the unions and all those fighting these brutal cuts.

29 June 2013 11am - 5pm in the Camden Centre, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE

"The trade union movement must stand side by side with people affected by the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts. Unite's Community campaign aims to organise students, unemployed and retired people.

"The NSSN supports Unite's calls for the formation of local groups to lobby councils against evictions and the organisation of mass community-led direct action to defend homes and stop the bailiffs."

Nick Parker, PCS DWP rep (personal capacity)
PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

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In The Socialist 22 May 2013:

Fight the bedroom tax

End this 'evil bedroom tax'

Anti-bedroom tax federation launched in Merseyside

Bedroom tax campaigning in Leytonstone, Birmingham and Newham

Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories in turmoil over Europe

Big business tax avoidance scandal

Another blow for workfare

NHS staff under the cuts cosh

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Fighting cuts in wales

International socialist news and analysis

South African economy: Mass sacking threat demands mass action

Sri Lanka: Isolate the murderous Rajapaksa regime

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton TUSC rally

Anti-blacklisting campaigner run over

University backs down: students and workers win!

Support for Mid Yorkshire Health struggle in the Mirror

Strike against legal aid cuts

March against the G8

London Socialist Party regional conference

Socialist Party workplace news

Fighting back pays off: Thera East Midlands forced to make concessions

POA conference - Prisons should not be run for profit

Support Carling brewery workers at Burton-on-Trent

Sacked Tesco drivers on the march again

PCS members fight Land Registry privatisation

Firefighters prepare for pensions battle

Workplace news in brief

Readers' comments

Cuts kill: Con-Dem benefit 'reforms', mental health and suicide

Why I joined the socialists


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