30th September 2022
Three weeks ago, it was announced that the UK had a new Prime Minister.
Anointed by just 80,000 Conservative Party members, Liz Truss and her cabal of chancers walked through the doors of 10 Downing Street on the 7th of September. At that moment, not even the harshest of critics could have foreseen the calamity that would unfold in the days and weeks that followed.
It culminated last week as Kwasi Kwarteng took centre stage in the House of Commons to announce a series of fiscal measures that was akin to Robin Hood in reverse gear. Instead of taking from the rich to give to the poor, he cut the top rate of tax on the richest 1% who earn over £150,000 per year and removed the cap on banker’s bonuses.
Nothing for the 22 million people in receipt of social security payments other than a promise of harsher sanctions, and nothing for millions of ordinary working families who are just about keeping their heads above water.
Before he had finished his statement there was a run on the pound, sending it spiralling to its lowest value in over forty years meaning increased food prices, petrol prices and most dangerously, increased interest rates.
With the Bank of England’s base rate now predicted to top 6% within twelve months and two million households in the UK due to renew their mortgages next year, we are now facing an even bigger cost of living crisis than many were predicting just a few weeks ago. Even the IMF are now issuing dire warnings urging the UK Government to urgently change track.
But it wasn’t bad news for everyone. As the UK economy experienced unprecedented turbulence it was revealed that a bunch of speculators, including a hedge fund that parades Kwasi Kwarteng as a former adviser, have made a small fortune over the weekend betting against the pound. While they laugh their way to the bank while millions of hard-pressed families worry about their future.
Never has it been clearer that under Tory rule, the UK economy is rigged against the many, in favour of the few.
While you go to work every day, working every hour under the sun just to scrape by, there are a select wealthy few being given a leg up by their cronies as they masquerade as a government. It’s incumbent on all of us to call it out for what it is – corruption.
We should be in no doubt that there is a war being waged on the working class of this country. It’s been going on for over a decade, but the battlelines drawn in the sand on Friday made it clearer than ever before.
For years we have heard falsehoods that a pay rise for public sector workers is unaffordable, and that the reason our economy is stagnating is because of “benefit cheats” or “scroungers”.
The reality is that we are governed by an out of touch clique who wouldn’t know hardship if it slapped them in the face. They have no idea what it’s like to struggle to pay their bills, put food on the table or clothes on their kids backs.
Yet after twelve years of austerity, they still think that they can still tell you they know best.
The time for change is long overdue. Despite any differences we may hold over the constitution or Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom, I am sure we agree that we all have a common enemy – The Conservative Party and its flagrant contempt for working people.
You deserve a government that is compassionate, competent and ultimately coherent. A government that is responsible with your hard-earned money, rejects the myth of 'trickle-down economics', and believes in building an economy and a society that works in the interests of the millions of people who create this country's wealth - its working class.
History shows us that is not the Conservative Party, and it’s about time we show them the door for good.
See this column on the Glasgow Times website: Paul Sweeney: The Tories are waging war on the working class | Glasgow Times