Sunday 4 January 2015

Wot about the workers?

The system of economic management introduced by the Tory governments since the bad old days, and enthusiastically followed by New Labour, has been variously described as modernisation, competition and freeing markets. All, we were told, exciting, stimulating, energising. What no-one notices is how it's also done down the workers and their families.

In the bad, old social democratic days their living costs were kept down by cheap food, low-cost housing, cheap travel and low utility prices. Britain was a good place for people. Modernisation has scrapped all that - in order to make it a better place for money to live in than people.

The Common Agricultural Policy forced us to buy high-cost EU food and poured out subsidies to fat farmers. Sales of council houses, the end of big building, privatisation and the enforcement of higher rents to match the private rented sector ended low-cost housing. Privatisation and the need to pay big dividends to the new (mainly foreign) owners of the railways made travel more expensive, particularly for commuters. And the privatisation  of water electricity and gas led to higher prices and lower investment.

Policies supposed to benefit the workers have well and truly screwed them. Just in time for wage freezes, immigrant competition, and the growth of a low wage service economy as manufacturing dies to fill their cup of happiness to overflowing.

At Butlins, the redcoats used to ask "are you happy?", "yes we are " we'd reply. Wonder what they say now?

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