Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): We are two years in: two years since the rose garden, two years of failure, two years of intransigence and two years of incompetence. Over those two years, the public have seen that the coalition parties are, quite simply, not up to the job that the nation has given them. The last eight weeks have seen them exposed: the reverse Robin Hood budget, the devastation at the polls and the dampest of damp squibs disguised as a Queen's Speech. Surely somebody should apologise to Her Majesty for wasting her time.
This country is going backwards, for three reasons: the joint incompetence of the coalition, the simpering connivance of the Liberal Democrats and the ignorance and arrogance of the leadership of the parties on the Government Benches. They were going to sort out the mess that they blame us for and, yes, there is no doubt that the country was in a bad state, as were many others, but that was because of the failure of the global capitalist system. It needed repairing, but, sadly, the Government's remedy is worse than the disease. The real sadness is that it was so predictable because the Tory boys use exactly the same methods as their predecessors in the 1930s, 1980s and 1990s. They, like those who went before them, decided to make the workers, the poor, the old, the young, the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable pay for the failures of the rich, the wealthy, the billionaires, the bankers, the tax evaders and avoiders, the market traders and the money movers who believe that they are entitled to live in a different universe from the rest of us.
How else can we explain why workers are being made redundant, having their pay frozen and their pensions cut, and being made to work longer and harder for less, while the chief executives of the FTSE 100 companies have seen an average 11% rise in the past year alone? While ordinary folk struggle to make ends meet, the masters of the universe receive an average of £3.65 million a year - an annual increase in the past year of more than £1,000 a day. That is not pay at £1,000 a day, but a rise of £1,000 a day. All in this together? If only.
That all comes only weeks after we were told that the richest 1,000 people in this country own £414 billion, but of course the leaders of the coalition believe that the fairest way to get our country back into balance is to give those rich folk even more money by giving them a tax handout while freezing pensioners' tax allowances.
The facts are there to be seen. Under the previous Government, we saw a genuine mixed economy in which the public and private sectors worked together in partnership to the benefit of all concerned. Nowhere was that more marked than in the North-East of England, where we had a decade of growth led by our regional development agency. What do we have now? The regional growth fund. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Shabana Mahmood) referred earlier to the damning report on that subject and she said exactly what a mess the RGF has been. We should remember that the RGF is supposed to make up for the 710,000 public servants whom the Government have decided to get rid of to pay for their policy. What a farce. What a mess they are in.
For their next trick? Let us make it easier to sack people, make it harder for people without money to seek justice in the workplace and cut so-called red tape around health and safety. Where does that leave us? It leaves us as a nation with mass unemployment, with 1 million or more kids on the dole, with a work force facing insecurity, pay cuts, worse pensions and unsafe conditions, with an economy that has gone from stagnation to recession and a Government who have no strategy. They have been in government for too long and they have been flushed out. It is time for them to go, and to go now.
Back to front page | House of Commons Contents
|Promoted by Paul Foy on behalf of Dave Anderson, both of St Cuthbert's Church Hall, Shibdon Road, Blaydon, NE21 5PT|