THE GATHERING STORM OF AUSTERITY

by Natasha Senior

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity national End Austerity demonstration takes place on Saturday 20th June. Assemble: 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria Street). March to: Parliament Square. 

Like a storm in the sea sending a tidal surge our way, the past 5 years under austerity tell us of looming devastation.  We saw it gather momentum on the horizon, as the waves of cuts started to roll in — pay freezes for the public sector, caps on benefits and cuts to social housing. This left in its wake a falling GDP per capita, a decline in affordable housing, and the rise of food banks. And now that those responsible for this have been re-elected, we are shamelessly informed that the storm is not over, the worst is yet to come and we will not be rescued.Continue Reading

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE

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by Jack Brindelli

Contains spoilers.

Let’s get something perfectly straight. The proponents of 21st century capitalism do not want to be your friend. As much as the likes of Starbucks and Apple might wax lyrical about fair-trade, rainforest friendly, organic, aspirational community funds,, they are not interested in improving your living standards, and they don’t care if you dream big, or live with dignity. They have only one true desire; —they want to bleed you like a stuck pig until your veins run dry, and their cups overflow with crimson cascades of our life-force. Metaphorically…  more or less.

And we know it too. Capitalism, like any self-respecting cannibal, wears a human face — but it sits uneasily with us. Subconsciously we know that even in a world where it is the dominant ideology, it has all the sincerity of a crocodile’s grin. That’s why we all need a sanctuary — a place of refuge from the dull buzzing rhetoric of productivity, aspiration and progress that continuously echo round our heads every time we tune into society.Continue Reading

IF CLIMATE CHANGE WAS AN ILLNESS, WE WOULD IMMEDIATELY START TREATMENT

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by Dr. Hayley Pinto

About 18 months ago I had a life changing experience. I read the intergovernmental panel on climate change report. Before that I thought I was reasonably environmentally aware. I wasn’t. The more I have read, the more evident it seems that climate change is the defining issue of our age. We are on the brink of making our planet uninhabitable, for everyone — not just the poor, the vulnerable, people in Africa and Bangladesh, but also for the rich and privileged, those who have contributed to the problem and those who have not.

Climate change is not just a matter of global warming. A hotter planet means drought, floods, storms and sea level rise. These things are already happening. The 11 million people living in Brazil’s Sao Paolo are experiencing a drought so severe they are trying to drill wells through concrete in the city centre. California is in its 5th year of drought.Continue Reading

GOVERNMENT SLASHES COUNCIL FUNDING – THE GREEN PARTY VIEW

by Andrew Boswell and Richard Bearman, The Norwich Green Party

During the General Election campaign, the Green Party warned of another 5 years of continuing and unprecedented cuts to Local Authority budgets.  We pointed out that the coalition and Labour backed the ongoing austerity programme, and that only the Green Party, SNP, and Plaid Cymru opposed this assault on public services.  Unfortunately the election was strongly influenced by the TV party leaders debate, together with misleading sound bites and on-the-hoof policy changes designed to win over undecided voters.  The election outcome does not reflect the lack of public support for more cuts to local services.

But plans announced this week by Norfolk County Council are seeing more devastating cuts to public services in Norfolk.  Under its ‘Re-imagining Norfolk’ strategy, the Council has asked councillors and officers to plan for 25% of cuts to services in its Budget for the next 3 years.  Current government funding reductions, pushed through by the Tories nationally, will require the council to cut its services by at least 15%.  However the Labour, UKIP, and LibDem alliance has voted for plans to cut 25% instead of the required 15% to allow ‘headroom’. Continue Reading

THE FIGHTBACK STARTED HERE

by Jack Brindelli

To say May was a difficult month to be a radical would be something of an understatement. In the fallout of a general election result that cannot be described as anything other than catastrophic, it was difficult to salvage much in the way of hope for the coming 5 years of Conservative majority rule. If you thought the Coalition years were bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This time out, David Cameron’s stinking band of free-market extremists aren’t so much promising to cut down to the bone, as breaking out their probably-not-even-metaphorical bone saws in preparation for an amputation.

In what East Anglia’s lone Labour MP Clive Lewis recently described as the “sea of blue” that is Norfolk, that’s reflected by the repugnant new “Reimagining Norfolk” strategy announced on the 1st of June by County Hall. Over £169million in new cuts have been green-lit by the Council, which is aiming to reduce spending in adult social services, children’s services, fire and rescue services — you know, the unessential luxuries of life. Presumably this means the Council are “Reimagining Norfolk” as a Mad Max-style, demented desert dystopia, where the disabled, unemployed, poorly paid and terminally ill will have to barter with water companies in order to extinguish their child’s flaming carcass for an extortionate price.

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POP POWER

by Mike Vinti

It has been three weeks now since David Cameron Inc. and things haven’t exactly started smoothly — there have been protests up and down the country, the SNP are already pissing off half of Westminster, and the new Cabinet is somehow worse than the old one.

Hanging over it all is the question of what the left is going to look like over the next five years and how best to fight the newly upgraded conservative government and their inept, yet terrifying, policies for the new parliament.

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LABOUR’S LEADERSHIP ELECTION AND THE SIMMERING TENSIONS IN THE PARTY

by Chris Jarvis

Almost immediately following the realisation that Labour had lost the General Election, various figures within the Party’s parliamentary ranks began licking their lips at the prospect of ascending to positions of leadership. With the dust largely settled, there are four announced contenders for the impending power struggle — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh, and Liz Kendall, with Tristram Hunt all but announcing his candidacy on Question Time this past Thursday.

Although they vary in style, the minority of prominent issues and in the degree to which they purport reactionary views on welfare and migration, all of these candidates are firmly placed on the right of the Labour Party, both within parliament and outside of it. None of them are proposing a radical separation from the political trajectory the Labour Party has been on since the establishment of the New Labour project.Continue Reading