THE BLOG
17/12/2013 06:45 GMT | Updated 16/02/2014 05:59 GMT

For the Sake of Humanity Society Must Unleash War on the Tories

If nothing else, for the sake of our children and children's children, it is time for society to unleash war on the Tories.

This, to clarify, will not be a war of aggression, it will be a war against their aggression on the part of those who understand that collectivism not individualism is what separates us from the abyss of barbarism.

The campaign of hate being waged by this government of rich, privileged, and privately educated sociopaths against the poor, the unemployed, and those who dare try to claim the benefits to which they are entitled is unparalleled in modern history. Even Thatcher in her pomp was not as malicious in her treatment of the aforementioned demographic. This was not because she didn't wish to be more malicious than she was, it was because when she came to power we still had trade unions capable and willing to resist such an onslaught, meaning that the cost involved in even attempting to rip up the foundations of the welfare state and the collective ethos which lies at its heart would have been too damaging to her government and party to make worthwhile.

Three decades on and the fruits of Thatcherism - with the corresponding neutering of the unions and other forms of working class solidarity - have culminated in a new normal of demonisation and the near criminalisation of poverty in Britain. Austerity has been sold to the country as a policy of necessity in response to years of Labour profligacy and a bloated public sector. It is a lie so bold and barefaced that even Joseph Goebbels would blush while repeating it.

The economic crisis which began in the US and hit these shores in August/September 2007 was a consequence of an out of control international banking and finance industry - in other words private greed on the part of the rich, the very constituency favoured by and so exalted by the Tories. Britain's public sector was neither bloated or out of control. On the contrary, under an economic system prone to volatility and unpredictable but periodic shocks, the public sector acts as a ballast of demand. If people are not spending then there is no demand for the goods and services produced by businesses, which results in a reduction in economic activity, borrowing, and investment and a concomitant rise in unemployment and government debt in order to meet the cost.

This is the perfect storm handed to us courtesy of a Tory-led government which viewed the credit crunch as their economic 9/11 - a pretext and smokescreen behind which they have implemented the transference of wealth from the poor to the rich under the rubric of austerity. Part of this process has involved the attacks on the most economically vulnerable in society, blaming them for the recession rather than the rich, where it belongs.

The question, given the severity of these attacks, is what society is going to do about it?

With the next general election not until 2015, we simply cannot afford to wait. The damage that is daily being done to people's lives does not allow us this luxury. The heartrending story of Stephanie Bottrill, a 53 year old grandmother who took her own life back in May over the pressure she was under to find an extra £20 per week to cover the requirements of the government's bedroom tax, will be increasingly repeated between now and 2015 if nothing is done to stop this orchestrated campaign of state terror against people like her, deemed untermenschen by people whose conception of society sits somewhere between Edwardian and Victorian times.

The creation of the welfare state by the postwar Labour government was predicated on the need to erect a firewall between the vicissitudes of a capitalist economic system subject to periodic shocks and downturns and those impacted most - the poor and the working class. The unemployed were held to be victims of and not responsible for the economic factors responsible for their plight, and as such it was deemed morally just for the state to provide a safety net in order to prevent their destitution.

But with the nostrums of Thatcherism sweeping away the philosophy that underpinned the postwar consensus three decades ago, nostrums that continue to fuel the dominant narrative politically, economically and culturally, the moral foundations of the welfare state and the social justice it represents has been subjected to an ideological assault - one that has reached its nadir under the present government.

Poverty is the worst form of violence. Those in poverty have one thing in common with the rich in that all they think about is money - about how much heating, food, and other bare essentials they can do without as they struggle to make ends meet. The idea that cutting benefits and attacking the poor could ever eradicate unemployment is beyond perverse. On the contrary, instead of eradicating unemployment it will eradicate the unemployed - and quite literally too as the suicide rate goes up.

Indeed, this is what is so easy to forget when we listen to the benign and easy establishment-speak of the political class in its depiction of the unemployed as workshy scroungers. More austerity for those at the sharp end equates to more despair, more domestic violence, more crime, more homelessness, more mental illness, more alcoholism and drug abuse, and more hopelessness; the fate of the increasing millions who've been selected by this government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich to be purified with pain.

It is a government that while claiming it wishes to help those who are willing to work hard, continues with an economic policy that has and will continue to create more unemployment. The inevitable consequence is that those who refuse to be crushed under the weight of the economic and social injustice they are being subjected to will enter the black economy, while others will drift into crime. The law of cause and effect cannot be denied.

As for the much vaunted recovery we've been told is taking place, this is a canard. Any economic growth that has occurred - confined to a small part of the country and mostly in the form of inflated property prices in London driven by overseas investors - has been in spite of austerity not because of it. As the eminent US economist and Nobel Prize laureate, Paul Krugman, reminds us - "economics is not a morality play. It's not a happy story in which virtue is rewarded and vice punished."

In a time of deep recession a government needs to spend more not less in order to fill the vacuum left by a shrinkage in private investment. You can't clear your debt unless you have sufficient income that allows you to do so. At present we have voodoo economics based on the myth that a national economy can cut itself back to growth. They call it spending, but the correct term is investment. You need to invest in order to get a return. It really isn't difficult to grasp.

Lack of understanding isn't the issue here, however. What is the issue is a malignant right wing ideology driven by a feral hatred of the poor and ordinary working people by those who believe that to be rich and successful is to be virtuous and to be poor shiftless, lazy, and surplus to requirements.

It is an ideology that mustn't just be defeated but consigned to the dustbin of history never to return.