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The Rich Will Do Anything For the Poor But Get Off Their Backs

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The ongoing economic crisis engulfing the British economy each week reveals an increase in the level of disdain, if not utter contempt, in which working people and the poor are held by David Cameron & Co.

When business secretary Vince Cable feels compelled to go public with his warning that it is not the job of government to "scare the wits out of people" in response to Number Ten's new proposals to make it easier for employers to sack people, you know we are living in an era when working class people have never been weaker, less respected, and enjoyed less dignity and control over their lives.

There was a time in the nation's history when the default position of any British government when it came to British workers was fear, and at times even terror. It was a time when trade unions carried real weight, when their every sneeze was felt in Downing Street. Rather than media mogul Rupert Murdoch slinking in the back door of Number Ten, the nation's union leaders would wade in the front door as if entering the local pub looking for the guy who still owed them a fiver, about to metaphorically get the PM up against the wall and tell him what's what.

Fast forward 30 years and the unions carry about as much political weight as a fly's wing, denuded and de-clawed after decades of unrelenting political and legal assault on their power and strength.

It of course doesn't help that the party founded and formed to represent the interests of the nation's trade unionists, Labour, is now about as radical as a pond of ducks. Never a revolutionary party, Labour however was at one time a party willing to be bold and courageous in its mission to improve the lives of working people. The postwar reforms that brought into being the welfare state, NHS, and decent housing, despite an economy that had been ravaged by the war, saw the British working class for the first time since the industrial revolution commanding the largest slice of the nation's surplus.

In 2012 the very concept of social and economic justice seems the product of perverse fantasy, something you're more likely to encounter in the pages of a sci-fi novel than in the manifesto of any of the mainstream parties.

When it comes to David Cameron even national borders are not enough to prevent him having a go at working people. Witness his rant against the workers of Greece for their temerity in exercising their right not to vote for their own immiseration by rejecting austerity. Now, with another election looming, Cameron, Merkel, and other European austerity junkies are threatening economic Armageddon should the Greek people vote again for anti-austerity.

The manner in which working people in Britain and across Europe have been blamed for the current economic mess, accused of being addicted to personal debt, public services, decent wages and terms and conditions, is a salutary lesson in the pitfalls of allowing sociopaths to run governments. A crisis of the private greed of the rich has been turned into a crisis of public spending, with the consequence that working people across Europe are being made to pay for the consequences.

In response to Vince Cable's remark, the prime minister's adviser on employment law - Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist - has come out and accused the business secretary of being a "socialist". If only.

Perhaps Mr Beecroft needs to be reminded of what history's most famous socialist, Karl Marx, once said with regard to people like him.

"The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs."