BRITISH ELECTION 2015
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE WORKING MEN, WOMEN AND THE YOUTH
Election circus has arrived again as it does every five years. And all the political gladiators are in the ring to out-manoeuvre each other in throwing all sorts of promises at us, knowing fully well they mean nothing. Suddenly the people you may never have seen in the past five years are out and about knocking our doors, visiting our workplaces, shaking hands on high streets and kissing our babies. Pretty obviously they are after our votes. Indian Workers Association (IWA) Great Britain appeals to the working men and women and the youth of this country to challenge these politicians on the following burning issues that are making our lives miserable:
1. Stop the Austerity measures: All parties are all trying their best to make us believe that this country can only be saved from the ongoing economic recession by the so-called austerity measures, where as in reality these measures are the actual cause of the misery brought onto the people. The economic recession has caused a drastic rise in youth unemployment and poverty in the UK in recent years. As happened during the earlier recessions, many families remain partly or fully dependent on benefits for extended periods of time. It is evident that the austerity measures and benefits cuts are hurting the poor working class families because the benefits system is more strongly targeted at low income groups.
When it came into office in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government promised to the people that they will eliminate the budget deficit by 2015. But now the Chancellor Osborne outlined his strategy saying that four more years of austerity is “a price that works for our country”. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the total government spending is going to reach to its lowest level as a proportion of national income since before the Second World War. Whatever party or coalition of parties comes to power after the general election, Britain will find itself halfway through a nine-year stretch of spending cuts, with both Conservatives and Labour determined to shrink and redefine the role and shape of the state beyond recognition. So far, £35bn has been cut; the plan is to cut a further £55bn by 2019.
According to recent estimates, more than 13 million people live in poverty, including almost one-third of all children. The working poor make up the largest number of those in poverty, with millions struggling to make ends meet on low-pay and often zero-hour contracts. At the other end of the social spectrum, Britain’s mega rich have not only recovered everything they may have lost in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, but became filthy rich. The Sunday Times has published a “Rich List”, according to which, there are now some 104 billionaires in the UK, three times the figure from a decade ago.
2. Stop the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Cuts to NHS: Privatisation of NHS is a direct result of Private Finance Initiative (PFI). PFI schemes were introduced to the UK under the John Major Government in the 1990s, which were significantly expanded by Tony Blair’s New Labour Government. Despite opposing the PFI program whilst in opposition, in 2011 Chancellor George Osborne continued, rebranding it as "PFI 2". Rather than Central Government directly funding infrastructure works like schools or hospitals, PFI means a consortium of private sector banks and construction firms finance, own, operate and lease them back to the UK taxpayer, over a period of 30-35 years. NHS Trusts owe £80bn in PFI loan repayments and the extortionate ongoing running costs of maintaining PFI hospitals via PFI - where private contractors are granted 30- year monopoly rights to deliver maintenance and services. The number of NHS Trusts in financial trouble has doubled in the last financial year and several A&E units were shut down or downgraded. NHS is being increasingly privatised. This must be stopped.
3. Abolish the Tuition fee in Universities: The tuition fee of £1000, introduced by Labour Party in 1998, became £9000 by 2010 under Conservatives. In November 2010 students staged a series of marches and demonstrated against the proposed increase in the rise of tuition fees. Despite these protests the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government won a vote in the House of Commons, which resulted in universities eventually being able to charge students up to £9,000 a year for the annual tuition costs. The government crushed the students’ agitation by deploying hundreds of police and arresting many students and their leaders. As a direct result of the rise in tuition fee, students from poorer families are not able to go for higher education and as a result they are remaining unemployed or under-employed due to lack of proper qualifications and training. Talking about election promises, Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems signed a pledge in 2010 election not to raise tuition fees. After the elections however, his party voted to triple the tuition fees.
4. Repeal all anti – Trade Union laws: Between 1980 and 1993, several anti-Trade union laws were introduced by the Tories under Margaret Thatcher’s regime. Not a single one of them was repealed during 13 years of Labour in office. All 3 parties are in favour of strengthening these laws never mind repealing them. These draconian anti-union laws have increasingly restricted the unions' ability to undertake lawful industrial actions and have taken away the working class’s collective power to fight for better wages, better working conditions and a right to decent living standard. These laws have made it illegal for workers even to show solidarity across departments and companies. The government has made closed ballots mandatory and is now thinking of introducing compulsory postal ballots to Trade Union decision making.
The Conservatives are drawing up radical anti-strike laws. They have included banning of strikes by public sector workers in health, education, transport and fire services without the support of 40 per cent of union members entitled to vote. This is hardly opposed by Labour and Lib Dems, proving their anti-working class nature. All these anti-Trade union laws must be repealed and the democratic rights of the workers restored.
5. Stop Spending on wars of invasion at the expense of NHS, education and welfare: All major parties are pro-war and for more wars. Having destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria with 1.5 million people’s blood up to their elbows they are dutifully following their White House master's war cries in Ukraine. They don't have money for NHS, Education and Welfare but are all in favour of spending £100 billion for upgrading Trident, a new generation of nuclear weapons system. David Cameroon is ready to send Navy to the Mediterranean Sea to sink the boats that are used to carry thousands of desperate Libyan people, who are trying to escape from the wrath of lawlessness and the raging civil war after Gadaffi was killed and his legitimate government was overthrown as a result of the covert British operations.
6. Stop the Anti-immigrant xenophobia and the racist election campaign: For the last fifty years or so immigration has been an issue in every single general election. The abominable UKIP Party has now given lead in the raciest campaign against the immigrant population. Immigrants, especially from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, are being blamed for the shortage of jobs, housing, hospital beds and lack of places in schools. With the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Somalia, demonisation of Muslim population is on the rise. With UKIP and the notorious English Defence League we are experiencing the return of racist propaganda from the 1960s and 1970s. The Tories, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party are trying to out-manoeuvre each other by coming up with new figures and ways of curbing immigration. They want to take the racist lead from UKIP. Just for the sake of wining the votes of the native British population, every parliamentary party is racing with each other, trying to pit the native white working class against their own brethren from other ethnic backgrounds. On the other hand, the Eastern European immigrant working class, particularly the Romanians, are portrayed as criminals and thugs. UKIP leader Nigel Farage (other parties are no exception) is campaigning that immigrates are the cause of unemployment, where as the truth is that unemployment and economic recessions are inherent characteristics of their own capitalist system and are inevitable. The fact that the multicultural Britain that exists today has been created through generations of immigration is completely being ignored. Little is said about the substantial contribution made by the immigrants to the British economy and culture.
7. Implement the Section 9(5)a of the Equality Act 2010: In March 2013 Parliament agreed the legislation to outlaw Caste discrimination in some of the Asian population of Britain by considering Caste as an aspect of Race. The Government has been failing the will the of Parliament by not bringing into force Section 9(5)a of the Equality Act 2010. There have been numerous reports that points to the wide spread existence of discrimination based on Caste in the Britain. The Government is failing the victims of Caste Discrimination by not making this practice illegal immediately.
Indian workers’ association, Great Britain appeals to the working men, women and youth of this country to unite to fight against the austerity measures, cuts in NHS, cuts in education, and cuts in welfare. We must all unite and challenge the politicians who come to us asking for our votes, on their anti-working class, anti-people, and anti-immigrant policies and the wars of aggression in the Middle-East and elsewhere. We must challenge this exploitative system and fight for a just society.
- No more austerity measures! Stop the cuts in social securities!
- Stop the privatisation of Public Sector - the NHS and Education
- Repeal all the draconian anti- Trade union laws! Restore the legitimate right to strike!
- Stop the anti-immigrant xenophobia and Islamophobia!
- Capitalism is the cause of economic recessions and unemployment - Not the immigrants!
- Stop the wars of Aggression! Bring all troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan
- Implement Equality Act 2010! Stop the Caste discrimination in Asian Communities!
Indian Workers’ Association, Great Britain
Central Organising Committee
Charan Atwal (Chairman) Lekh Pall (Secretary)