Thursday, 7 April 2011
The dirty secrets of the pro-cuts march
The British political right is preparing for a pro-cuts rally in central London next month in response to the anti-cuts March for the Alternative that took place on 26 March. The “Rally Against Debt” is being organised by the Taxpayers Alliance and has attracted celebrity-backing in the form of Toby Young. Annabelle Fuller, a former adviser to the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, is also a leading organiser. Fuller said: "It will be a major demonstration highlighting the importance of tackling the huge public sector deficit, and the need for substantial spending cuts."
Not only are the organisers of the rally calling for the deficit to be reduced, but the wording of their various statements suggests they wish to see "substantial spending cuts" regardless of Government debt. A case in point is their website, which features no calls for an increase in taxes for the rich, no calls for a collection of unpaid taxes and no mention of the bankers who caused Britain's financial crisis. What they do in fact is trot-out the well-worn myth that "public spending got out of control" – implying that spending at least a proportion of working people's taxes on working people (rather than blowing it on "free schools" and other luxuries for the rich) is akin to a “loss of control”.
The section of society that really did lose control – the rich, with their profligate gambling of other people’s money – are unworthy of even a mention.
The March Against Debt is in reality nothing more than an opportunity for a gloat by right-wing ideologues at the slash-and-burn cuts about to hit public services. Their website even goes as far as to praise Vodafone, whose infamous billion-pound tax-avoidance schemes are apparently unrelated to the gap in public finances. This sort of brazen hypocrisy confirms what many of us have long known - that while the state compels working people to abide by laws protecting the rich and powerful, when the idea of compulsion is evoked to collect the taxes of the wealthy, the trend is increasingly towards a form of volunteerism. Mention to one of the motley collection of oddballs organising the march that a person on the dole gets £50.95 a week however, and you will be met fairly quickly with white-noise about “making work pay”.
Do not suffer under the illusion that you are listening to a call for higher wages.
Toby Young sees no problem in using Government cash to indulge his ego-driven “free school” project; and one of the directors of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Alexander Heath, does not even pay tax in the UK – he lives in a farmhouse in France. When the cuts really begin to bite, the preposterous sight of Young and his ilk parading around London may actually boost the anti-cuts movement more than we might at-present imagine – and more than any Thatcherite caricature perched on the Tory back-benches ever could.
Public opinion is already turning against the Coalition, and the sight of the wealthy celebrating job losses and benefit cuts will be too much for many to stomach. That being said, it would be highly pleasurable to see Toby Young hit with an egg, regardless of the subsequent publicity.