Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

We are 3 years into the demonstration to the point of absurdity of the futility of austerity, and the Shadow Chancellor still agrees with it !!!! At no point has he ever suggested that are real alternatives to current policy. His predecessor , the last chancellor, also completely agrees with austerity. There are no fringe groups of MPs pushing for new ideas, nobody advancing alternative analyses. There is just dumb supine acceptance of the status quo. The poor are always with us and neoconservatism is the only game in town.

Well, maybe it's not THAT simple nor SO entirely hopeless, which is not to say that there's cause for rejoicing :-)  However that it's a BIT more complicated is suggested by this:

On the eve of the last GDP figures in October, Mr Cameron promised that the "good news will keep coming". Mr Balls added: "Now that just looks completely out of touch and utterly complacent. It is quite a big moment. [The Government saying] 'our plan is working, we'll just carry on regardless' just looks grossly irresponsible."
But it is not just Labour that is pressing the Chancellor to change course. Following Nick Clegg's admission last week that the Government should have speeded up capital spending in the early days of the coalition, senior figures in both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties are urging the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor to implement Lord Heseltine's growth report, published last October, which calls for Plan A austerity to be replaced by a vigorous programme of construction, handing greater powers to local enterprises and making a decision on airport expansion within months - rather than the current deadline of 2015.
crucially, and despite his presence at the Alte Post gathering, one of the leading critics of Mr Osborne is now the Mayor of London. Mr Johnson, apparently tearing up a temporary truce with the Prime Minister not to rock the boat, laid into the austerity strategy from the Davos platform the next day. He called for investment in housing and transport - two of the key measures in Lord Heseltine's report - lambasting the "hair shirt, Stafford Cripps" agenda.
Even the bankers are weighing in, with Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, warning that the GDP figures showed that "policy has been on the wrong path". The International Monetary Fund has also warned there should be a reassessment of tax and spending policy.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ed-balls-pressure-grows-for-plan-b-as-triple-dip-threa tens-8468379.html

But of course it's true that these people are not calling for radical change, however it's not true to say that "nobody" on the left is, e.g. Labour MP John McDonnell:

Austerity is creating a spiral of economic decline as cuts produce high levels of unemployment which in turn reduces tax income and prompts another round of cuts and job losses.
The Government's austerity measures are also unfair as the only people the Government seems intent on protecting from the recession are the rich.

There is an alternative to austerity.
It simply requires the introduction of a limited range of redistributive measures which will raise the funds we need from those most able to pay and who have profited most out of the boom years.

This redistribution can be achieved through:

  • A wealth tax on the richest 10%;
  • A Robin Hood tax on financial transactions;
  • A Land Value tax;
  • The restoration of progressive income tax of 60% on incomes above £100,000; and
  • And a clamp down on the tax evasion and avoidance that is costing us £95 billion a year.

Investing the resources released can halt the spiral of decline.



Public and Commercial Services Union

Our fringe meeting (at the Labour Party Conference) `austerity isn't working' on Tuesday lunchtime was attended by more than 100 people. They heard from PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and economist Ann Pettifor, with Katy Clark MP chairing the event.

We received positive feedback about the meeting from visitors who stopped by the stall later in the week. They were encouraged to hear our speakers challenging the ideologically driven cuts agenda and welcomed calls for more investment in public services.

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/index.cfm/id/652A29D7-8286-4890-A5F07B7C293F5EC C

Just a couple of the first results turned up by google.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 03:46:29 PM EST

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