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Miliband's 'epiphany' clear victory for Mammon

And Mammon spoke. Let there be just one party that worships me. And lo and behold, the ConDemLab party came to pass. Some people were astonished and many declared in a firm voice: “We will not vote for this party. But who will represent us now?”

Who indeed. Ed Miliband’s acceptance yesterday of ConDem budget cuts for 2015-16, Labour’s refusal to restore child benefits to all, the attack on older people’s fuel allowances and the party’s plan to cap the overall benefits bill is clear enough.

Having previously stated that child benefit is “an important bedrock of our society”,  Miliband said it would not be a priority to restore it to higher earners. This not only accepts the ConDem cuts but just as significantly abandons the principle of universalism in favour of means testing.

The demonising of the unemployed will continue. Unemployed people with children aged three to four will lose benefits if they do not prepare for work.

RIP Welfare State.

Miliband’s capitulation is, essentially, to Mammon, to the financial markets that dictated first the formation of the Coalition in 2010 and that since then have threatened just about every government running a budget deficit that wasn’t cutting fast enough.

So the Labour leader pledged to match Tory plans to cut the welfare bill. Speaking in one of the poorest parts of Britain in East London, he declared: “The next Labour government will have less money to spend... Social security spending, vital as it is, cannot be exempt from that discipline.”

Incapacity and housing benefit spending will be targeted while employers would be offered a state subsidy to encourage them to pay higher wages. This is “responsible capitalism” at the taxpayers’ expense. What a joke.

So you will not be surprised to learn that the Financial Times, the official mouthpiece of Mammon, welcomed Miliband’s conversion on the road to the money-lenders’ temple. Its editorial talked of Miliband’s “epiphany”, adding: “The Labour leader has made a welcome step towards credibility. He still needs to do more.”

And from the Blairite think-tank Progress, there was praise from co-founder Paul Richards, who said there had been a new “re-engagement with reality”. The Blairites, who never really went away, have their mouthpiece in the shape of Miliband as well as several cuckoos in the shadow cabinet nest.

Which leaves Miliband’s main backers in the trade union bureaucracy with eggs all over their face. Only the other week, Ed McCluskey, the leader of Unite which bankrolled Miliband’s election as leader, was raging against the Blairite influence in the party. Miliband rebuked him and yesterday McCluskey rolled over like the pussycat he is.

In an obviously pre-prepared statement, McCluskey claimed that Miliband’s speech “offers hope that there is an alternative to George Osborne's punishing experiment with the national economy”. He must have been referring to some other secret speech we know nothing about.

And Paul Kenny of the GMB union, who has also been critical in the past, lauded Miliband’s policy for “dealing with the housing benefit scandal”. The real scandal here, however, is that social housing rents soared under New Labour. Council rents in London rose 60% and housing association rents in the capital almost doubled between 1997-2010. This was entirely the result of government policy. In the end, you had to be on benefits to be able to live in a property charging £400 a month.

When Miliband was elected in 2010, some people told us there was now a unique opportunity to “recapture” the Labour Party from the Blairites and win back the support of working people. How wrong was that scenario!

Labour under Miliband has reaffirmed its commitment to markets, capitalism, austerity, the cuts, extending the pensionable age, public sector pay freezes and a variety of other ConDem policies. In 2015, the electorate will be offered more or less the same by the mainstream parties within a pretty rotten, undemocratic political system.

This is truly an historic crisis of political democracy as well as economy which we have to address with bold, revolutionary ideas and policies.

Paul Feldman
Communications editor
7 June 2013

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Your Say

Tim Hart says:

There was no need to postulate on which way Miliband would jump in respect to more welfare cuts by the Coalition Government, nor whether the unions would stay on message. A ‘united front’ to gain power at the next election is everything, no matter about beliefs or principles or the suffering of the UK’s hapless citizens.

Long before Miliband was elected as leader of the Labour Party the UK has, de facto, been a one party state; as have many other so called democratic countries around the world. The financial crisis, which erupted in 2008, demonstrated that national governments and international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and European Central Bank – the so called Troika –don’t even feel the need to maintain the illusion of democracy. The Troika routinely usurps elected governments and installs puppet technocrats to do the bidding of the financial corporations. The latter being the real rulers of the world, along with the other giant multi-nationals. In the UK there is no need for such vested interests to stage a coup. The former Labour Government and the present Coalition have demonstrated that they are in the pockets of the corporations by dishing out hundreds of billions of public money to the bankrupt financial institutions. The Coalition is complicit in tax avoidance through the network of tax havens which are British Territories. And yet in the topsy turvy world of politics the Chancellor, George Osborne perversely announces to the audience at the recent G8 meeting that the UK wants to lead the way in clamping down on corporate tax dodgers! The writing was on the wall for the demise of a multi-party political system long ago. Well before 2008, and before Blair was elected in 1997, and even before that. But recent decades have hastened the trend at an exponential rate.

In 2015 the electorate will have a similar choice to those contemplating the purchase of the Model T Ford more than a century ago. In those days you could have any colour car so long as it was black. In today’s Orwellian politics the electorate can choose any of the main political parties so long as it chooses one that supports corporate hegemony at the expense of the welfare and well-being of its citizens. No difficulty there. Any party will do. It makes no difference!

For anyone who believes in democracy the voting choices for 2015 are clear. Don’t vote!

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