How many times have you heard David Cameron’s PMQs rebuff ‘it was the fault of the previous Labour government’? How many times has Ed Miliband pointed out that this Tory government has borrowed more in 4 years (over £430bn) than Labour did in 13 (£429bn)? Zero. The mind boggles. Week after week we hear the Tory rhetoric and week after week more people are starting to believe it’s true.
That’s why, on Thursday 27 November Ann Pettifor, James Meadway, Michael Burke, Owen Jones and Christine Blower broke down the lies about austerity to The People's Assembly's sold out event Austerity Lies And Myths.
What became clear by the end of the night, is that the argument for austerity isn’t an economic one at all, but an ideological one. If you look at the facts and figures backing up the governments economic reasoning – it’s laughable. Like a late night Vegas gambler clinging to the hope that’s it’s a game of skill not chance. As Anne Pettifor pointed out (much more eloquently might I add) in 1945 we were in more debt than today and the Labour government not only built houses, but built the welfare state.
Now, in 2014, we’re four years in to austerity, facing another recession and more cuts. But the Tories are happy as Larry. Why? Because for them austerity has worked.
The panel agreed that the government had no plans to help the economy with austerity, rather it provided a convenient way to scratch all those itches they didn’t get a chance to in the 80s. Under the guise of ‘austerity cuts’ the government is systematically breaking down, not just the welfare state, but any system in place that might help the average man, and selling off the pieces to their mates. It’s Black Friday for the rich.
As the event turned to audience questions, one sentiment echoed through them all, 'WHAT CAN WE DO?!'
The answer? Know the truth, unify and fight. Take to the streets and show them you count. Protest any cut, any legislative change that makes our lives worse and the 1%’s better. Change has never been easy, but fighting for what we believe in is part of our heritage. We’ve won before and we can certainly win again!
Reported by Stevie Cooke