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Who are the real criminals?


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Desperate poverty drives some people to desperate acts. The Hull Daily Mail reports that 40% more people seem to be stealing food for personal consumption in Hull than last year.

The police believe this is directly linked to the fact that more and more people cannot afford to pay for life’s essentials. As the bedroom tax, council and benefit cuts bite, more and more will be pushed towards tough decisions – “Do I pay my rent and bills or feed my family”?

The article says austerity is the cause of increased food shoplifting but sees the main victims of crime as the small businesses being robbed. In a time of austerity most small shopkeepers are squeezed by the giant corporations who can afford to undercut them and by sections of the working class who cannot afford to use their shops.

Austerity hits sections of the middle class badly – see how many independent shops have gone broke. Local butchers, bakers and greengrocers went bust and were replaced on the high street by pawnshops and payday loan sharks.

A determined working class fightback against austerity would draw in support from large layers of the middle class including small shopkeepers.

Tory media cry crocodile tears for the poor. The Hull Daily Mail’s scandalous ‘solution’ was to name and shame six local offenders caught stealing food. We do not support theft as an answer to poverty. But who are the real criminals here?

Is it the mother who has just had her benefit cut through bedroom tax who steals baked beans worth a few pence to feed her children. Or fat cat businessmen who legally rob millions of pounds a year through exploiting tax loopholes?

The real criminals are the ruling class who run a capitalist system which robs the poor to give to the rich. Join the Socialist Party and fight for a socialist society.

 

Austerity news from Around the Globe


 
 

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Austerity is a Four-Letter French Word

FXstreet.com
Austerity is a four-letter Anglo-Saxon – or even worse, Teutonic – word in socialist France, yet the market at some point is going to want to see a move toward sustainable budgets. Government bond investors are not philanthropists. They look for the …
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Austerity drains economic life

Yorkshire Post
THE latest statistics confirm that wages are increasing by well under the inflation rate, at the same time as benefits for those of working age are rising at just one per cent a year. So I’m not surprised that the economy is still struggling, as people 
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Scottish independence: ‘No’ vote austerity warning

Scotsman
But Labour leader Johann Lamont insisted that an independent Scotland would face even harsherausterity than the UK amid concerns that SNP “big business” tax breaks will see major job cuts. The leaders clashed today during the final First Ministers 
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Portugal: 5 million participated in general strike, say unions

 

Patience with the government’s austerity plan is running thin in Portugal with banners reading ‘Enough’ and ‘Government Out’. In their fourth general strike in two… read full article

 Austerity: ‘unprecedented erosion’ in living standards
The Guardian
If you thought you were feeling the pinch, here’s probably why. Rising prices, stagnant wages and benefit cuts are creating an “unprecedented erosion” in living standards, especially for low and middle income families, according to new research from 
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Stuff your austerity! We want something different

New Internationalist (blog)

The idea of the Peoples Assemblies is to create a mass national and local movement against austerity. Saturday’s event brought together people of all ages and walks of life – trade unionists, direct activists, students, pensioners, hackers, disabled …
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Social Justice Ireland says austerity not working

RTE.ie

“Austerity is not working for Ireland. Government has cut spending, raised taxes, increased unemployment, lowered wages, decimated services and allowed infrastructure to deteriorate on the understanding that austerity would lead to recovery …
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Austerity leaves bitter taste as Leinster House sweet shop shuts
Irish Times
It was the Taj Mahjal of the mint humbug, the Southfork of the chocolate snowball, the Buckingham Palace of the fruit pastille. The notorious Leinster House sweetie shop – that glass walled monument to the Celtic Tiger notions of a discredited …
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Miliband’s offer of austerity in a red rosette is failing voters
New Statesman
If austerity is wrong and counter-productive when the Tories do it, it will be wrong and counter-productive whoever does it. Austerity in a red rosette is no less brutal and damaging than in a blue one. In failing to articulate a clear economic …
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Portuguese businesses attack austerity, urge U turn
GlobalPost
Portuguese business leaders launched on Monday a strong attack on austerity conditions tied to the EU-IMF bailout of the economy, saying that they had failed and the government should change direction to save the country from “recession”.
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Union warns austerity will spur growth of ‘zero hours’ contracts
Financial Times
images (11)
Austerity will spur the use of zero hours contracts, as more public sector work is outsourced to providers who rely on the ultimate flexible employment option, a think tank and union have said. The contracts, which offer no guaranteed work, are being …
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Discredited Pro-Austerity Research Gets New Love From World’s Central Bank
Huffington Post
Our world’s troubling austerity deficit is actually not the main message of the BIS’ 76-page opus, but an entire chapter, “Fiscal sustainability: Where do we stand?” is dedicated to the topic. And this chapter sounds a rallying cry for more austerity …
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Austerity Loses in Massachusetts
The Nation.
Gomez ran as a classic proponent of austerity. He proposed to balance budgets on the backs of working families and retirees. The Republican nominee supported raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits for future retirees and he wanted to …
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France’s Austerity Drive Pushes Country into Recession
IBTimes.co.uk
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France’s drive to slash spending and debt by implementing strict austerity measures has pushed the country into recession, confirmed the government’s statistics office. In the first quarter of 2013, French gross domestic product (GDP) in volume …
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Lying about austerity serves “special interests”
People’s World
A few weeks ago, the most prestigious apologists for austerity in the economics profession, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University – now known as R & R – were brought up short when a blatant spreadsheet error in their published work …
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‘Greece to avoid more austerity’
Independent Online
images (10)
Athens – Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday avoiding new austeritymeasures to fulfill targets in the country’s international bailout was a priority of his two-party coalition government. “Our immediate priority is to return to …
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Greece: Austerity Doesn’t Involve Public-Sector Layoffs
Heritage.org (blog)
Slate’s Matthew Yglesias might be attacked as an “austerity denier” now that he has joined Heritage’s Salim Furth in pointing out that there is a lot of policy diversity under the broad label of “austerity.” Yglesias explained last week why a small but …
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Austerity support frays at edges among EU smaller fiscal hawks
Financial Times
Since the financial crisis swept through Europe four years ago, the bloc’s triple-A rated economies have been vociferous backers of controversial austerity measures as the solution to the continent’s woes. Yet as the crisis drags on, unemployment rises …
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Austerity Remains Key to Britain’s Economic Plan
New York Times (blog)
LONDON — Extended spending cuts, including a fresh squeeze on welfare payments, were announced by the British government on Wednesday, ensuring that the politics of austerity remain firmly center stage in the run-up to the country’s next elections.
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UK austerity: ‘Diverting money from poor to rich under guise of economic crisis’
RT (blog)
The UK’s austerity policy is ideologically driven and is aimed at diverting finance from the poor to the rich under the pretext of the economic crisis, writer John Wight told RT. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is announcing …
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Portuguese Workers Strike to Say Austerity Has Gone Too Far
Wall Street Journal
LISBON—A nationwide strike froze public-transport services and shrank hospital staffs across Portugal on Thursday amid a growing consensus among workers and businesses that austerity has reached its limit. Protests and strikes have become common …
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Austerity Britain rolls on
Morning Star Online
In the run-up to George Osborne’s spending review, the Sunday TV discussion programmes ran with their usual carefully selected commentators. All of them accepted that there have to be cuts in public expenditure. There was not an alternative policy on …
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Britain sugars austerity pill with infrastructure boost
euronews
LONDON (Reuters) – Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a new round of spending cuts on Wednesday, but promised to pump some of the savings straight back into the economy to counter charges of excessive austerity. In a speech to parliament …
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More spending cuts for Britain, but austerity pill is sugared
Reuters UK
LONDON (Reuters) – Chancellor George Osborne unveiled spending cuts on Wednesday to try to tame the country’s big public deficit, but promised to reinvest some of the money saved to counter criticism of excessive austerity. In a speech to parliament, …
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Austerity? It’s hardly begun! Chancellor Osborne tightens the purse strings …
This is Money
But for all the talk of austerity, government spending is set to rise from £720billion this year to £745billion in 2015/16 – the year the latest cuts take place. Over the same period, tax receipts are expected to rise from £612billion to £658billion …
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Chappatte-Crise-eu

Thousands join launch of new anti-austerity force


Thousands will descend on London today for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to launch a united opposition that will mobilise co-ordinated anti-cuts action at national, regional and local level.

The event is Britain’s largest political conference in recent history – outstripping the combined attendance of the annual conferences of all three main political parties – and is backed by Britain’s major unions.

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The assembly will give a voice to the millions of people who oppose failed coalition government policies which are wrecking the economy, forcing down wages and decimating public services.

It takes place 48 hours after the three biggest unions – Unite, Unison and the GMB – announced plans to target the Tory Party conference in Manchester this September for a rally to defend the NHS.

The assembly has been hailed as a big breakthrough in creating a united front against the Tories and their Lib Dem accomplices.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The People’s Assembly is the most significant step yet in building a nationwide opposition to the government’s policies of social devastation.

“Unite is proud to stand with all those demanding an end to the cuts which are pushing millions into the abyss of despair and in standing up for an alternative of social justice.”

The People’s Assembly has been endorsed by over 100 organisations including Unison and Unite, which between them represent almost three million workers across the public and private sectors.

It is also backed by thousands of individuals and groups, including academics, pensioners’ organisations and campaigners fighting to save the NHS.

Green MP Caroline Lucas, who is speaking at the assembly, said: “It offers a crucial opportunity for civil society to come together and take a stand against this government’s socially destructive and economically illiterate austerity programme.

“It is also a chance to challenge the harmful ideology which claims that public is ‘bad’ and private is ‘good’ and that everything from our health service to education is little more than a marketplace to be exploited for profit.”

With evidence emerging that austerity, pay freezes, tax rises and welfare cuts will drive seven million children into poverty in the next two years, she said: “It’s time to expose the lie that there is no alternative to austerity.”

The assembly will also launch two “People United” bus tours organised by unions Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS and CWU and the TUC to take the campaign against austerity into communities.

The tours culminate on July 5 at the NHS’s birthplace, Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its foundation.

via Thousands join launch of new anti-austerity force / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star.

The Clown Prince Across the Water


Could Boris Johnson actually end up as Britain’s prime minister?

And in that key word lies the rub — and Cameron’s worst nightmare. The rise in prices on the Boris Index is a sign that many Tories are resigned to losing the next general election. The right, which has never wholly trusted Cameron’s attempt to “detoxify” the party’s image, is disgruntled; the center worried that a panicky “lurch to the right” spells electoral calamity. It remains rather easier to imagine Boris as leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition than as prime minister. Indeed, even Tapsell only ventured that “perhaps” Boris could be a credible prime minister.

Boris is fun. But political prime-time is not the same as light entertainment.

So a large part of the pro-Boris bandwagon is predicated upon Cameron being ejected from office after a humiliating election defeat in 2015. Boris, back in parliament by then (even though his second mayoral term does not end until 2016) would then be swept into the leader’s office by depressed Tory members who want nothing more than to be cheered-up.

It takes no great powers of political analysis to perceive that this would be a high-risk adventure. For instance, the idea of Boris ever — even accidentally — having responsibility for Britain’s nuclear missiles is not a soothing one. But nor is it an idea that can be dismissed as evident nonsense.

For the time being, Boris is urging some measure of loyalty. “After 2016 who knows what will happen” he says. “But I’m very, very happy with the job of mayor of London.” Discontented Tories — i.e., his putative rivals — should “cool their porridge” and “save their breath.” They need to “put their shoulders to the wheel, all hands to the mast, and all shoot from the same trench — to mix my metaphors.”

And yet none of this quite convinces. Boris’s relationship with Cameron has long been uneasy. Cameron was two years Boris’s junior at Eton (and Oxford) and, befitting the time-honored conventions of the British boarding school, the older boy has never quite lost the sense of superiority first ingrained by seniority when the pair were teenagers.

It certainly seems that way. In an interview with a French radio station this month, Boris suggested, in his typical style, that he and David Cameron were “like Wallace and Gromit” though, as the Guardian observed, “he didn’t say which was the absent-minded inventor and which his far brainier dog.”

Be that as it may, many Tories still consider Boris the Clown Prince Across the Water. This despite a record of achievement that is, by objective standards, negligible. Boris has performed adequately as mayor of the capital city, but even his staunchest admirers are hard-pressed to produce any lengthy list of achievements he has to his name. London’s mayor has relatively few powers. Like being governor of Texas, it sounds a weightier position than it really is. There is a fear that, just as the United States was lumbered with George W. Bush, so Britain could be stuck with Boris. Like Bush — whom Boris once described as a “cross-eyed Texan warmonger” — Johnson’s appeal is as much a matter of style as substance. He talks “Real Tory.” From his euroscepticism to his enthusiasm for lower taxes, Boris tickles the Tory party’s erogenous zones. And he does so in a fashion that seems to entertain the public.

Perhaps it is a feature of these rancorous and gloomy times that Boris is no longer as preposterous a notion as he once seemed. He is not a “serious” politician but, as election results in Italy and Israel have shown recently, non-serious, populist, politicians are able to capitalize upon public discontent.

Before he became mayor of London, Boris briefly served as shadow arts minister in 2004. Upon his appointment he told one interviewer, that “Look the point is … er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it.”

We may yet hear a variation on that refrain once again. Being leader of the Conservative Party is a tough job that someone has to do. So why not Boris?

The mind, as Boris might admit himself, boggles.

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MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

SUBJECTS: POLITICS, ECONOMICS, BRITAIN, EUROPE

via The Clown Prince Across the Water – By Alex Massie | Foreign Policy.

via The Clown Prince Across the Water – By Alex Massie | Foreign Policy.

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