Thousands marched yesterday in London to oppose the ongoing austerity in the UK which has left health services, education, police, fire services, welfare and housing in a state of crisis. Addressing the crowd Jeremy Corbyn said: “I say to any public sector workers in Northern Ireland or anywhere else – don’t have any illusions in these people, when they started the austerity programme they meant it and they meant it to carry on.
“And carry on with a growing gap between the richest and poorest in our society, with a growing impoverishment of those at the bottom, a growing under-funding of local government, health, education and all the other things that we all need in a civilised society.
“The utter hypocrisy of Government ministers and others who queued up in the chamber over there in the House of Commons to heap praise on the emergency services, the following day to cut their wages by refusing to lift the pay cap.
“The hypocrisy is absolutely unbelievable.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said that Corbyn could be prime minister within a year. “We are here for the many, not the few. We are here for the community of North Kensington who saw the horror that was Grenfell and we are here to say that the leader and deputy leader of the local council have resigned. They should have resigned immediately.
“We are here to say that we will not rest until there is justice for the people of Grenfell. We are here to say we will not stand for the demonisation of trade unions, we will not stand for the demonisation of immigrants and we will not stand for the demonisation of people who live in public sector housing.”
Following a £1bn deal with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party (1) but rejecting a Labour amendment to remove the 1% pay cap for public workers (nurses, doctors, teachers, etc) the credibility of the austerity strategy is in tatters. In fact, after yesterday’s multitudinous demonstration there are today some ramblings that members of the Tory Party are beginning to question the draconian strategy: The Guardian: Top Tories in revolt against May over public spending. They even suggest the possibility of raising taxes. The sad story is the likelihood that the Tories being Tories most probably they will make the poor and middle earners pay for any public sector investment instead of applying the Labour Party plan, well detailed and costed in their manifesto, to collect from the top 5% earners, corporations and speculative profiteering. During the worst austerity years there has been a well documented increase in the accumulation of wealth at the top at the expense of the rest of the population and services, making this plan simply fair.
(1) Pressenza: UK elections: Mrs May’s new embarrassing bedfellows