"Improving the productivity of our country is the route to raising standards of living for everyone in this country... Our future prosperity depends on it." That was Chancellor George Osborne speaking just days after the election at the CBI's 50th Anniversary Annual Dinner. He's also promised his Budget next month will have "a laser-like focus" on living standards.
The Queen's Speech was supposed to position the Conservatives as the party of working people. If so, they've got a strange way of going about it. A list of priorities that includes curbing trade union rights, chipping away at workplace protections through EU negotiations, freezing in-work benefits, cutting jobs and freezing pay in the public sector doesn't read like a workers' wishlist.
Low pay and wage stagnation have left a gaping hole in the UK's public finances. New research published by the TUC for Fair Pay Fortnight shows that the government is collecting £33.4billion less in income tax and national insurance than had been forecast by the Office of Budget Responsbility, following the longest squeeze on wages since Victorian times.
TTIP is a big issue for politicians, business, unions and the rest of society. The secrecy which pervades the negotiations has kept it out of public debate for too long... That's why the TUC's Congress this September called for the negotiations to be halted. A good deal could be done, but not by starting from here.
The simple truth is that many employers can afford to pay more. For large companies in sectors such as food production, banking, construction and software/computing - which employ over 1 million low- wage workers - paying all staff the living wage would mean an increase of less than 0.5 per cent of the total wage bill.
So now we know what the Conservative manifesto will say about industrial action. This goes far further than anything Mrs Thatcher did in limiting the right to strike. Such a turn out threshold is very rarely met by ballots involving more than a small workforce. It adds up to an effective end to the right to strike for many groups of workers - normally the kind of measure that we associate with dictatorships, not democracies.
Fantastic stuff on front this morning too, kicking off (pardon the pun) with former Footballers' Wives star and now Corrie cobble-botherer Ben Price on behalf of Cafod and seeing the impact of climate change with his own eyes in Uganda. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady meanwhile says soaring wage inequality here in the UK should worry us all.
Tony Benn's speeches were often punctuated with the same quotes from the Bible to Chinese philosophers. He passionately opposed cynicism and urged people to engage in politics. He was a tremendous Parliamentarian throughout his fifty years as an MP yet his political authority was as great outside the House of Commons as in the chamber.
The critics of austerity have been proved right. The OBR confirm today what we already knew - the recovery is at least two years behind schedule. The Chancellor has failed to meet the objective he set of a rebalanced economy growing enough through exports and investment to close the deficit by the time of the next election.
George Osborne's latest announcement is that "austerity works" as though we are all just living in a snapshot of a nostalgic poster of post-war Britain. You sit at home in your coat. Drag yourself to the cooker to pour some tinned tomatoes over some cold pasta, and try not to hurl it across the room in frustration when your toddler tells you he doesn't want it. But there isn't anything else. But aren't we supposed to just keep calm and carry on? There's nothing cosy and nostalgic about missing days of meals, turning the heating off for two consecutive winters and every bloody day and night in between.