Skip to main content

What Price Austerity?

The Spokesman 110
Edited by Tony Simpson

‘Whilst still in opposition, in August 2009, the then Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, argued for what he called ‘progressive’ and ‘fundamental’ reform of public services. The alternative, according to the Chancellor in waiting, was ‘deep cuts in the quality of those services’. Praying in aid Tony Blair and Alan Milburn, who were by then advocating something similar, he said that what was true ‘in the years of plenty’ was doubly true in an age of austerity.

Now installed, Chancellor Osborne has set about his austere task with a will. As the comprehensive spending review looks to slice further tens of billions from departmental budgets, the cuts are already scything through public services round the country. Local government workers in their tens of thousands have received Section 118 redundancy notices, as have their counterparts in the Civil Service and sundry quangos. Public service, and all its outworks, is being chopped hard. Osborne shows little awareness of how adversely his cuts impact the private sector. The likelihood of a double-dip recession, not to say a full-blown slump, seems to worry him hardly at all.’

Tony Simpson, from his Editorial

CONTENTS:
Tony Simpson - Editorial: What Price Austerity?
Mark Serwotka - Not a single job has to be lost
PCS - There is an alternative
Stuart Holland - Demythologising 'Old Labour'
Brian Jones - Failing Intelligence
Hans von Sponeck - Scared of the facts
Caroline Lucas MP - Afghanistan - Nail the Myth
Bertrand Russell - Prevent the crime of silence
Richard Falk and David Krieger - The Middle East
Rep. Dennis Kucinich - What we have to do
Carmel Budiardjo - West Papua's Plight
Jimmy Reid - We're not rats
Michael Barratt Brown - Is there not an alternative?
Stuart Holland - Act and Survive

Reviews: Gareth Carrol, Abi Rhodes, Christopher Gifford, Stan Newens, John Daniels

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jeremy Corbyn: Internationalist at Work

Another featured article from the latest issue of The Spokesman comes from the 2011 edition of J. A. Hobson's Imperialism. Jeremy Corbyn penned the book's foreword, which we reprint here under the title 'Internationalist at Work'.
As a separate point of interest, we also include this comparative image of the logo of publication The Week, circa 1960s, and Corbyn's recent campaign logo. Cut from the same cloth? 





Internationalist at Work
J. A. Hobson wrote his great tome at a different age. His thoughts were dominated by the zenith of the British Empire and the Boer War. The outcome of the war demonstrated Britain’s then ability in sustaining global reach, since Elizabethan times, but also its extreme vulnerability. At home the poor physique of working class soldiers led to Haldane’s investigation into working class health and living conditions. The difficulty in containing the rebellious Boers, and the huge opposition to the war, encouraged further doubts about the whol…

'Not as dumb as he looks' - Muhammad Ali on Bertrand Russell

In his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, Muhammad Ali recounts how Bertrand Russell got in contact with him, and their ensuing correspondence:


***
For days I was talking to people from a whole new world. People who were not even interested in sports, especially prizefighting. One in particular I will never forget: a remarkable man, seventy years older than me but with a fresh outlook which seemed fairer than that of any white man I had ever met in America.
My brother Rahaman had handed me the phone, saying, ‘Operator says a Mr. Bertrand Russell is calling Mr. Muhammad Ali.’ I took it and heard the crisp accent of an Englishman: ‘Is this Muhammad Ali?’ When I said it was, he asked if I had been quoted correctly.
I acknowledged that I had been, but wondered out loud, ‘Why does everyone want to know what I think about Viet Nam? I’m no politician, no leader. I’m just an athlete.’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘this is a war more barbaric than others, and because a mystique is built up around a cham…

Vanunu update

Dear Friend and Vanunu supporter,

It is a long time since we last sent you any news of Mordechai for which we apologise. It has been a complicated and difficult period particularly with Mordechai not wanting the campaign for his freedom to continue. However, we thought now was the time for an update, because if you hadn't seen the relevant issues of the Morning Star, Scottish Herald or, just this week, The Guardian, you probably wouldn't be fully aware of what Mordechai had been suffering, once again, at the hands of the vindictive and malicious Israeli authorities.

For some while Mordechai has been threatened with a return to prison for speaking with foreigners; including friends, supporters and journalists. For breaking this restriction he was eventually sentenced to six months in prison. He appealed against this and at a hearing of the Supreme Court, some months ago, this sentence was reduced to three months. As an alternative Mordechai was offered to do a period of Community…