progress is not the elimination of struggle, but rather a change in its terms’ - Aneurin Bevan

emergency botch-it

A tip of the hat to Alex Baker for this post's title.

The dust is settling - and it is now apparent that the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition have confused the word progressive with regressive. A VAT rise which will harm retailers and ordinary consumers, and a corporation tax cut which will benefit banks and supermarkets at the expense of export industries.

In opposition, the Tories accepted the bank bailout (after first opposing it) but opposed the use of public spending to make up for the contraction in private investment. They are now planning to go further than is necessary to reduce the deficit

Tribune's Tom Miller sums it up like this: "The Tories are implementing austerity not because they are forced to, but because they believe in it, and because they recognise a class-struggle opportunity when they see one."

The Liberal Democrats? Well, in the past I've perhaps wrongly characterised the ideas and policy proposals of the old Liberal Party and the splitters of the SDP. It is enough to suggest that the absence of strong ties to social movements (unlike Labour, the LibDems have no constitutional links to trade unions or co-operatives) has made it possible for wealthy individuals like Clegg to turn the party away from a social democratic approach and towards the economic liberalism of the Tories.

Labour meanwhile can point to deficit spending having halted the recession and encouraged a recovery. The expansion of export industries requires an active industrial policy - the coalition is now abandoning support for UK manufacturing. Capital allowances that encourage firms to invest in new plant and machinery. This poses risks emerging green industries and could stall the transition to a low carbon economy - so much for the coalition's green credentials.

Rather than spell out the depressing consequences of this budget - if it is implemented - I'll instead remind you of the last words of Joe Hill. Don't mourn, organise.

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