Conference details

signing a petitionSaturday November 27

Camden Centre

Bidborough St, London WC1H 9AU


details of speakers and workshops to follow

A large number of trades unionists, campaigners, academics, students, pensioners and others have signed the statement proposing a Coalition of Resistance to the Con-Dems budget cuts and consequent dismantling of key elements of the welfare state.

We are asking others to join us. Please sign our statement and come to the conference at the Camden Centre on the 27th November 2010.

The conference will be part of organising the fightback and proposing an alternative solution to the deep economic crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.

Across Europe governments are foisting the same austerity measures onto the backs of working people. In Greece, Spain, France and elsewhere there have been large scale strike movements opposing these cuts.

The conference will hear speakers from those struggles and from delegates from the anti-cuts and anti-privatisation groups springing up in this country. There will be workshops and the opportunity for all to have their voices heard.

84 Responses to “Conference details”
  1. Hello – I am a British Citizen who now lives in the Netherlands. It is such a relief to discover this article (in the Guardian) about the Coalition of Resistance. Thank goodness people are starting to think about what resistance could look like. Your statement is very meaningful. However, I am interested in how this could work in a broader way (e.g. across Europe). Can you point me to any links here in the Netherlands? What gives me hope is that your statement seems to offer a way which does not point to anarchy or tyranny . I think those of us who think and care, really need to find a route, that as much as humanly possible, avoids these two evils of despair. That’s the challenge and that, it seems to me, calls for some very imaginative thinking. I hope we can find that way and not repeat the horrors of the past which have led to horrific racism and genocide etc. Good luck with this!

    Susan Verkerk

    • Steven Trier-Tett says:

      Hi Susan

      I’m now resident in Denmark and we are facing many of the same justifications for cuts here that have been spouted in the UK. I’d also be interested to know if there was a way of organising a campaign like this across Europe. I’m so relieved that forces are coming together to resist the cuts in the UK. I, too, wish the Coalition of Resistance luck with this.

    • jon fanning says:

      I agree with all of what you say, we should be thinking of a pan-European movement of resistance and a political party to support this. One request. I know what you mean when you say do not fall into Anarchy in despair, but many of us consider ourselves true Anarchists in the CNT/IWW tradition, and what you mean is a cycle of despair, frustration and individual violence often called Anarchy but it isn’t a true representation of it.

  2. oxfordlaurus says:

    Why are we waiting till 27 November for goodness sake? Cuts will be a done deal by then and the police and army briefed. This will just be pissing in the wind by then instead of a genuine resistance with any chance of some success.

    • Alex Snowdon says:

      Nobody’s suggesting we wait until 27 November. That’s simply the date for this conference, which – as it should be a major event – requires a lot of preparation and serious efforts to publicise it. There’s plenty to do before then, at local and national levels, as recognised by the statement (which is, after all, headed ‘The time to organise resistance is now’). In Newcastle we’ve already had a meeting attended by 50 people, addressed by Paul Mackney, where a draft version of the statement was circulated. The same can happen anywhere.

      • There will be demonstration at the Tory Party Conference called by the Right to Work Campaign in Birmingham on October 3rd. Make sure that you come to the demonstration and challenge the beast at its very own conference.

  3. Marc Green says:

    Great news. We have to fight back against the savage Tory cuts the coalition are putting in place. The Tories say that we are all in this together…yet while they scale back the school building program Charitable status remains for Private schools such as Eton. This is a cash subsidy for the rich.

    Cameron has now let the cat out of the bag by publicly stating that the cuts will not be restored when the economy recovers. The whole labour and progressive movement must unite to defeat this government with no mandate.

  4. Bolshy says:

    I won’t be able to make it but I wish you the best and will give as much support as possible!

    Good Luck!

  5. Anya-Nicola Darr says:

    I wanted to support this new movement but could not get your e-mail to work . Is this a conference where you ahve to book adn buy a ticket or a free event that anyone can turn up too?

  6. jacky barfoot says:

    At last we have action against the oppressive cuts that the Con-Lib coalition has brought upon the people of Britain, the worse since the 1930s and Thatcherism.
    The Poor, sick, disabled and low paid are all going to suffer at the hands of the old etonians in power, the corruption of the bankers, and the greed of those at the very top.
    \we have to rise up now in protest to take a stand and be united to support our brothers and sisters who are suffering and will suffer at hands of these cuts,
    Not only will communities be further tirn apart, but those in social housing will be forced out of their towns and villages by the crutality of the cameron housing policy
    we cannot and shall not stand and watch this happen

  7. Johnny Skillicorn-Aston says:

    Reading of Tony Benn’s call for ‘active resistance in today’s Guardian has made me feel hopeful. Before the election, I told my children of the dread that would follow a Tory win. As they hadn’t lived through Thatcherism, they didn’t understand why I was so fearful of their return. The Tories have more than exceeded my expectations and, with the misguided support of Tory-lite Clegg and his clones, are busily dismantling all the means by which we can continue to build a fairer society. We need to resist this at every level.

    Johnny Skillicorn-Aston

    • Unfortunately this is the kind of sentiment that puts me off joining. I agree with almost all of the resistance proposals (though I’d like to see the economics that support them) and as a disabled person am facing some of the most serious cuts in income, but if this is just going to be an exercise in Tory-bashing then I am not interested. The abolition of Incapacity Benefit was the responsibility of a LABOUR government. Perhaps before aspiring to being a pan-European movement you should at least attempt to be a UK cross-party one.

  8. Richard says:

    I agree November is too far away. We need to act and quickly.

  9. Alan Dix says:

    Shouldn’t there be some sort of mass action before the October spending review decisions are announced? A conference after this date will have no opportunity to influence decisions that have already been made. Is it not possible to organise a September demonstration?

    • Yes, there’s a demo on October 20th in Central London. We (the students) are doing a feeder march from ULU on Mallet St. More details to follow…woooo

      • Alex Snowdon says:

        There will be protests, hopefully in many places, on 29 September, which is a Europe-wide day of action. There’s also a demo at the Tory conference on 3 October in Birmingham. And there are local campaigns developing in many areas.

        The 27 Nov conference is one step, but hopefully an extremely useful one. It can pull together different strands and improve co-ordination. This is a massive national political issue, so national co-ordination is essential, and it’s a long term battle – so while we need urgency it’s also true that in November we’ll have loads still to organise.

    • The demonstration at the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham called by the Right To Work Campaign on October 3rd is crucial.

      Support has already come from Sheffield Labour Party, Sheffield NUT, Sheffield university UCU lecturers’ union, Sheffield trades council, the PCS DWP housing office branch, the GMB local government branch, Sheffield Hallam university Unison, and the Westfield and Halfway tenants’ and residents’ association.

      More than 35 coaches from across the country are being put on so far. So come along!!!

  10. Richard Williams says:

    Although of the centre-left, I am not interested in a bandwagon of left insurrectionists and I will play no part in that. However, I certainly want to add my voice and register my discontent and unease, along with the many thousands of other people who simply believe it is wrong for the the general population to have to pay for the great, directly-attributable mistakes of those who seem, thus far, to have largely escaped the consequences of their actions (e.g the ‘bankers’). This does not mean, however, that as individuals, that we do not also have, or have had, our own role to play in all this often, I’m sad to say, through our complacency, greed, and selfishness. In that way, we are paying for our own collective failings, to some extent, and no amount of trying of finger pointing and laying all the blame at someone else’s door is going to change that.

    That said, returning to my original point, the immediate cause of the ‘crash’ seems to me to have been by consensus directly by a weak system and the actions of frequently unscrupulous banks and other institutions, and it seems that through their actions, that we will all suffer very hard.

    I personally believe that the government is wrong in some of the areas of cut-backs it is proposing and I resent the idea that the poor, especially, as always, will feel the brunt. I also feel a golden opportunity has to some extent been lost in restructuring the current system radically and that governments are still too much in thrall in banks and big business generally. I believe that that is wrong and that the system should serve the people themselves rather than serving the system’ s interests.

  11. Molly says:


    I am all for this, and support 1000%. But one word of advice, please take out the ‘fighting’ language in your campagin. For example:

    ‘Join the fight against the cuts locally’

    It’s not useful. I feel we need to come together, and show that we are not fighting, but we can put our points across in strong way without the need for aggression demostrated in the languaged used and actions.

    No riots please, for those who riot they are not better than the thugs who think they have POWER over us. Our Gov are not about Leadership… they are about Power…let’s show them we can come together in peace and show them how it’s done. Leave the war talk up to the Gov… that’s all they are good at…

    I just think any literature you send out or emails setting up conferences and marches needs to proactive and peaceful. I also think you need to remove the ‘fighting’ talk on your website… It’s not useful for you campagin.

    Thanks, Molly. xx

    • Thanks for the feedback, what words would you use instead then? Specifically the bit you quote: ‘Join the fight against the cuts locally’ – how would YOU word it?

      See you at the conference and on demos leading up to it.

      Cheers again, C

      • James says:

        Ummm, how about campaign? Or coalition against cuts? As soon as the language gets macho, the rightwing press and politicians can pin the campaign into an extremist corner, plus the sort of aggressive language turns off the moderate people who are against the swingeing cuts but are neither leftwing nor anarchic etc.

        Tony Benn is a lovely chap with a heart of gold, as are many of the signatories, but if its just the same old usual suspects, great as WE may think they are, the press, politicians and the wider public will simply ignore it.

        There is often so much energy in these groups that goes completely to waste because they use the language that was discredited in many people’s eyes in the past.

        I speak as someone who marched against the war in Iraq, who believes in unilateral nuclear disarmament etc. but its not ME you are trying to persuade, its the more centrist public and talk of fights and mobilisation etc just makes them flick the off switch.

        I wouldn’t want it, but actually getting someone like Tony Blair on board (of course he wouldnt) would show that this is not the usual far left (as the rightwing press describe it) bunch of rabble rousers.

        Then again, maybe it is…. your fate lies in your hands.

      • Tamsin says:

        Words such as dissent, protest, opposition, objection, defiance.

        We denounce, refuse to accept, defy, stand against, oppose.

    • Bosshammer says:

      What utter tosh! Fighting talk is exactly what we need as well as direct action. We are under attack and asking the powers to nicely change their minds is futile, history has shown this to be true. These people have declared war on us, they are not reasonable people they are an oppressive regime and should be treated as such.

      What do you expect people to do Molly? a terminal hunger strike? A petition? Not for me thanks, I have no intention of lying down and dying quietly as they would prefer. Is it better to die on your knees than your feet? Make no mistake there will be riots! This is the calm before the storm.

  12. Mick Matthews says:

    This is a great initiative. But I am not clear just what the Conference is trying to achieve. What we don’t need is a “talking shop”, peppered with “talking head” presentations. Lets have something that is fully interactive, with a clear theme and purpose.

  13. Ben Singleton says:

    Can we have less talk about conferences and more putting people in contact with others that live in the same area or region please? Some people simply aren’t going to be able to do anything in London, but they can do plenty in their own locality or perhaps marginally further afield

    • Anya-Nicola Darr says:

      I agree with Ben, many of the people who are the very ones wosrt affected by the cuts will not be able to afford to travel to London.

      We should be co-ordianting peaceful protests in every county’s capital. I must say I am a bit amazed by people who say Tony Blair would be a good person to ask. to give this an air of ‘respectability’. He has proved himself anythign but respectable IMO!

      Surely, hAS BEHAVED not much better than some members of the coalition. No way would I have anything to do with a movement in which he was included. We need to look forward and I am so glad Caroline Lucas is part of the coilition.

      • James says:

        I think you completely missed the point I was trying to make which was not to suggest Blair should be part of the coalition but more that it is the people he appealed to, the middle ground, who need to be persuaded of the merits of this campaign. Caroline Lucas is great, but she is seen as fringe by the majority of the population as is Tony Benn and all the usual suspects currently headlining this coalition. Without those perceived as more middle of the road in political terms, this becomes – in the eyes of many – just another extreme left same old same old. PLEASE try and fathom the point I am making, rather than focussing on Blair. His name was just used as an example of someone who USED to attract many centrist voters to vote Labour. Without a similar attempt to appeal to the middle, this is just seen as an irrelevant fringe activity, and will not win the moderate popular support that it needs to be (wait for it) successful.

        Do you want to be victorious or just piss in the wind? Your choice.

      • Tamsin says:

        James is correct. It is stating the obvious – with any great marketing initiative, recognising and winning your target audience is fundamental to any chance of a successful outcome. And frankly, in dire circumstances, sometimes the end does justify the means – as with what we are facing here. No need to compromise integrity, but flexibility and tolerance for/understanding of different viewpoints and concerns will be vital. We need to attract a broad spread, appealing to whatever common ground or interest we can find. Or common decency, in this case.

    • Ellie says:

      I agree. When I went to the march against the war in Iraq in 2001, it was easy to get to because there were coaches from every city in Britain. I was 17 at the time, and I lived in rural North Wales, but I still got a coach with my parents.

      I think there should be a centre for the CoR in as many British cities as possible, particularly the ‘vanguard’ areas for Big Society, as well as the regions that have been earmarked for the worst cuts. These centres should organise regional demonstrations to take place on the same day across the country, and arrange coaches to take people to the London conference and other big protests.

      I also agree with the earlier comment that we need a message. It needs to be simple and non-political. As much as I’m sure there are lots of us who would relish a good Tory-bashing, we must ensure that this doesn’t come across as an excuse to knock the government. It should be a narrow message that focuses on the cuts so as not to exclude people of certain political backgrounds. I think the message be mindful of the fact that most people do want to reduce the deficit somehow, but emphasise that employment, welfare & public services should dictate the terms of the deficit, not the other way around. The message should also oppose the scapegoating of the public sector as the reason for the deficit.

      Those are just my thoughts!

      I agree with getting lots of influential people on board, but Blair… I don’t know… on a general level, the purpose of this coalition is to protect human dignity. Getting someone who took us to war illegally seems to mock the very values we’re trying to defend. There must be other people from the centre we could engage?

      Maybe that’s just me though. I tend to view Blair as the devil incarnate!

  14. Steve Smedley says:

    Constructive comment: not all of your supporters are students. Some of us have work and other commitments that keep us away from midweek activism. More power to your elbow, but if you want the biggest and broadest possible turnout at demonstrations and the like (e.g. 20th October) then you’ve got to consider holding them at weekends.

    Notwithstanding that point, I will continue to move heaven and earth to get as involved as I can in this excellent initiative.

    I do agree with a point made previously that a convention in November seems an awfully long way off. There seem to be a lot of people in this movement with media and design skills so at the very least could we have some leaflets or flyers as PDFs that we can print off to publicise the cause? I think it’s important to let people know that there is a resistance movement taking place and that there is a significant group of people prepared to fight back (in a non-violent, purely metaphorical sense, of course).

    I’m behind you 100%.

    • Anya-Nicola Darr says:

      i AGREE…..PLEASE HOLD THIS ON A WEEKEND WHEN EVERYOEN CAN COME. It needs to be seen as more than jsut a student demo.

      • Alex Snowdon says:

        The conference is on Saturday 27 November, so hopefully we can get the maximum turnout with it being a weekend. I’ll be persuading people from the North East, where I live, to attend, and it’s a major commitment of time and money!

        We need local and national events, meetings and protests, weekend and weekday events. It’s ALL necessary. Big events should generally be planned for weekends – and I’m pretty sure that’s what people will agree on – but sometimes weekday protests can be valuable, like on the European day of action on 29 September.

        On the “is it too far off?” question, I think the timing is well judged, but of course we need action and preparation before then. I believe there’s an activists meeting to be announced very soon, and I’m sure that will help take things forward without delay. It’s great the Tony Benn statement has already been published, and things like this site are up and running.

  15. Ben says:

    I just wanted to know who will be organising this event? Will there be an opportunity to help or contribute towards its organisation it in any way?

    • Tamsin says:

      I’ll echo Ben. Will there be a call for volunteers help for the November conference? I’m very keen to help in any way I can and have experience in this area.

      Would also be interested in getting in touch with other Central London-based supporters to meet and coordinate other initiatives/protests. Any takers?

  16. Alex Halligan says:

    Can help organise in TU’s, especially in the North West.

    Anything at all really.

  17. Michele says:

    Time to join a new coalition! Thank you Mr Tony Benn for coming out in our time of need to offer Leadership… desperately-needed Leadership…. and to all those who joined to make this effort happen.
    I breathe a sigh of relief… this will eclipse the ‘labour’ party leadership contest as we will march on over their heads and BE the Labour Movement. See you all in the Autumn.

  18. RichMix says:

    Can not wait for this bogus cover up to be fully exposed

    1 We the people and communities never caused any banking crisis.
    2 Banks are now back in the black or so they claim.
    3 we never voted for condem .gov so why did they not ask us to vote on any cuts.
    4 Pretty obvious that the 3 Millionaires Eaton Bullingdon club Boys are behind this.
    5 Prime Minister / Chancellor of the Exchequer / Mayor Of London

  19. Jane says:

    I work in the public sector and already I can see only too clearly how the cuts are going to impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. I am completely in support of Tony Benn’s campaign and would like to attend demos and the conference but would make the same plea that others have made that these be held on weekends. The campaign really needs the support of people like myself who are experiencing the cuts head on. In the LA I work for we have had the same travel expense allowance since I joined 10 years ago and now we are being told that we will be charged for parking at the office – despite the fact that we are required car users and could not do the job without a car. Every day there is more bad news that erodes our working conditions and pay and the service we can provide to children and families and alongside this we read daily in the press that the banks are back in business and making huge profits. Morale is at an all time low in the public sector – it feels as if we are being scapegoated as having caused the recession and there is no appreciation of the great work that is done every day to help the most needy in our society.

  20. Sarah Cox says:

    Sorry to be picky, but many of the people at greatest risk from the ongoing cuts will be elderly (like me), disabled, people with learning difficulties and children. If the various campaigns against the cuts are to be effective, they must be accessible and your pale grey type on a black background is very hard indeed to read.

    Every initiative that seeks to unite people against the cuts, form the smallest local campaign to national and potentially international campaigns is welcome. I cannot agree with the people who want to remove any reference to fighting agains these savage cuts. We fought for the Welfare State, This Coalition Government is hell bent on dismantling it. I also agree with people who say November 27th is a long way off and cuts are happening already, but there are lots of actions planned before then including the lobby of the TUC to call for a national united day of industrial action against cuts, the lobby of the Tory Party Conference in birmingham on October 3rd, action on October 20th when the comprehensive spending review is published and many others. By the time of the conference on November 27th there will be many people – trades uniionists, campaigners, service users – who will be bringing first hand experiences of their involvement in the fightback. Nor do we need to wait until the end of November to put radical alternatives to the ConDem budget cuts. Scrap Trident, bring the troops home from Afghanistan, collect the uncollected taxes owed by corporations and the rich, raise the top rate of tax to the same level that it was under Thatcher. Socialist Worker and Red Pepper have already published clear analyses and spelled out the alternatives and there are many economists who take the same view. November 27th could more of an opportunity to assess the first round of the struggle, rather than the launch of something new. Meanwhile, I’m sure that your Coaltion will be publicising and urging people to participate in every anti-cuts initiative between now and the end of November. One final word of warning – Councils have a very bad habit of bringing in cuts during the Summer holidays when they think no one is watching, so be on the look out. Be ready to mobilise.

    • Sarah Cox says:

      Sorry about the typos and mistakes in the above, but it was so hard to read that I wan’t able to correct them before posting.

    • Ellie says:

      I agree with your comment re use of the word ‘fighting.’ Every right we’ve ever had has been won because people have fought for it, and I for one am sick of the attitude of today, which seems to be that it’s uncivilised or selfish to stand up and fight (e.g. the response to the BA strike), and that we should politely write a letter to the government asking ‘please can we have some rights?’ and then sit back and wait for them to gracefully respond! Every great political movement comes from those at the bottom, because people have stood up and said no. This should not be any different. Emmeline Pankhurst said:

      There is something that Governments care for far more than human life, and that is the security of property, and so it is through property that we shall strike the enemy. Be militant each in your own way. I incite this meeting to rebellion.

      I’m not saying we should be violent, because we shouldn’t. But we should be strong. And we shouldn’t take any shit!

    • Sarah Cox says:

      Thank you for taking note of the point I raised about the legibility of yoyur website. It’s easier now, though still rather faint. See you all in Birmingham on Sunday October 3rd 12 noon outside Tory Party Conference.

  21. Samuel says:

    I come from Spain and live in Belgium. I fully agree it should be a pan-european movement of resistance, as crisis is global and we are all affected by social cuts throughout Europe. For the time being I have translated the manifesto into Spanish:

    I also think that something else must be done before November. For instance, on 29th September there will be a European-wide “Day of action” called by European trade unions:

    The very same day there will be a general strike in Spain against the cuts and the labour market reform. Why not doing something on 29th September?


  22. Michele says:

    I would agree with some of the comments. We should not wait until the 27th of November to take action. How about the Tory conference in Birmingham on 3 October for example, or on the day Cameron will deliver his party conference speech?…. it should be a day of protest including if possible one day strike action, across the country, and not just in London as others have also commented that many cannot travel to London. It would be a mistake to make London the only point of focus. Then the 27th should have an agenda, a kind a draft working ‘manifesto’ on which the assembly of those attending could vote (?).. and again then we have the issue of it being ‘London-based’, so some solution has to be sought to give people all over the country an opportunity to make their voices heard.

  23. Peter Morton says:

    re: Statement and sign-up sheet, I have clicked this and get Not Found, Error 404

  24. CMC says:

    This definitely needs to have a European focus. Reach out to the people of Greece and Spain and invite them to the conference, and not just some of the union leaders, but people participating in the demonstrations, do the actual organising of demonstrations. I can only that UKBA approves my visa application, so I can stay in the UK and attend this conference.

  25. John Pearce says:

    I support the Coalition of Resistance. I believe that these cuts are partially ideologically driven and are far too excessive, shifting the debt burden onto the working citizen rather than onto the rich bankers whose greedy gambling with our money caused the economic crisis. The wealthy need (and can afford) to pay more! I also condem Con-Dem’s plans to introduce stealth privatisation to public services, particularly with regards to the NHS. Handing overworked GPs the purse strings will give them no other choice but to hire private financial services to manage expenditure, and selling off NHS Professionals will only lead to private health agencies filling the gaps and charging huge sums of money for the hiring of their staff to cover shifts in NHS hospitals. (

  26. This is a great initiative….. we should spread it round European contacts…. and grey-on-black blog format is certainly bad for people witj poor eyes as Sarah Cox says. I have to struggle with it and I’m only 67. WordPress has plenty of other good formats.

    Suggest you add a lins page so we can all send URLs for campaigns and resources which support the Coalition and they can be available in a structured way. I can help after October – busy with objections to Boris Johnson’s London Plan until then.

  27. Paul says:

    Great finally a plan.

    I especially like the scrap the Trident part as it is a weapon system we have no need for & we’d have to ask the
    US for the launch capability at time of need. The Afgan issue is tough & I’d rather it was finished properly.
    But this country is wasting its time in some ways regarding military spending & size of our Army. We are no longer the top players, we are only involved to give a sense of fair play to the game at hand. If the top players wanted to invade our island or burn the soil off its rocks they could & honestly a few nukes in our pocket or even lack of them wouldn’t make a difference. So I say scrap our (non-)independent nuclear capability & it’s replacements so we can use the money where it’s needed.

    We also need to stop preaching to others about how to run their countries. If we concentrated on improving ourselves then maybe those intransigent thorns would come round to our way, just because they can see it working making happy content people here.

    I’m going to spread the word & try to help you all.

  28. Seth says:

    Can we all insure that the structure of this event, the way any joint activity is agreed or implimented, is discussed by all those inattendence?

    In the past ‘coalitions’ and the suggestions for activity they generate, have been stiched up well in advance
    of the event (for a variety of reasons, both structural and political).
    This has led to the implimentation of a narrow set of responses that rely on ‘tried and tested’ methods that have failed to deliver the results these movements desire.
    If this is to have any chance of working at all, all participants must be commited to organising and debating in an open and accountable way, challenging their assumptions, politics and organisational habits, so we can create a vibrent, diverse and succesful movement to challenge the coming austerity.

  29. sarah benjamins says:

    Nobel prize winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz has warned the Tory budget will slow recovery or send us deeper into recession
    How about him and other respected modern economists /think tanks to be part of it? eg:
    New Economics Foundation –
    CLES (Centre for Local Economic Studies) –

  30. Also citizens Czech Republic strike in to you.

  31. The Czech Green-Left Party is going with you.

  32. Nowrin says:

    Please tell me this is a joke? How else are you planning on reducing the deficit and debt, seriously? Has anyone in this whole circus set up got a comprehensive plan to reduce our yearly £156 billion deficit (without cutting public services) and pay off the debt of the previous years?

    This whole campaign is completely idiotic.

    • Tamsin says:

      With an attitude like that, no doubt any attempt would be rendered completely idiotic – and certainly doomed to fail. Happily, there are a great many that do not share your view.

      • Nowrin says:

        Tamsin darling, tell me how you propose to reduce the yearly £156 billion deficit whilst still trying to reduce the debt of previous years without spending cuts. Which tax rises would you propose? Could you please detail then for us?
        And none of the rubbish about “we don’t need to control the debt!”. If we don’t control it, the bond markets will run wild, and our lenders will increase our interest rates. Our mess will have reached far deeper levels if so.
        Best wishes,

    • Speedy says:

      I tell you what is idiotic:-

      a) The government claiming that ‘we are all in this together’ when they increase a very regressive form of taxation (VAT) whilst giving corporations a 4% tax cut, when UK corporation tax was already well below the EU average.
      b) Massive public sector cuts when the economy still hasn’t recovered from the recession – this massively reduces demand in the economy, which has an inevitable knock-on effect to the private sector – and hence many economists predictions of a ‘double-dip’ recession. Tell me, how exactly are we going to improve the state’s income when they are going to actually reduce the amount they can claw in taxation by damaging our economy?
      c) Puttin people into unemployment where they simply claim benefits off the state, when instead they could be working – and paying tax – and not claiming the same amount of benefits.

      The above is a purely economic analysis. I could go further and point out the massive social problems this kind of economic policy will cause, the increase in the gap between rich and poor and the amount of people this will put into poverty but we don’t even need to do that to realise how fucking stupid these cuts are. I might be a socialist but you don’t have to be a socialist or even politically left-of-centre to see that this government DOES NOT have an economic agenda that in any way is to be the benefit of the country as a whole. In fact, it represents an entirely ideological crusade to reduce the size of the state regardless of its effects.

      • Nowrin says:

        1. The VAT tax rise is actually a very good one. It will raise a substantial amount, and it is only a 2.5% increase. In addition, most European countries have a VAT of 20% or so. In addition, the rich will pay more VAT because we simply spend more. Reducing corporation tax was a fantastic idea. We will eventually have one of the lowest in Europe, essentially meaning we have far more foreign investment and companies will expand, providing more jobs.

        2. There won’t be as many unemployed as you are imagining. You have to look at it from both sides. Yes, there will be a number of unemployed public sector workers, but the lowering in corporation tax will increase foreign investment, the increase in the amount you can earn before being taxed will increase spending in the economy, as well as preventing the NI rise for employers going ahead. Very, very few economists are predicting a double dip. The BoE have predicted growth, as have the OBR. Don’t be so fucking stupid.

        3. You still don’t get it. The level of spending was unsustainable in boom times, never mind now. We simply can’t afford to be spending how much we are. You also forget what will happen if we don’t have a comprehensive plan to reduce debt… our lenders simply increase our interest rates. DISASTER.

        Your analysis wasn’t economic, it was butthurt. You haven’t looked at anything other than Labour talking points. If you’re so upset about spending cuts, give me a proper plan to reduce £156 billion from our balance sheet every year… without cutting public spending. Funny you haven’t mentioned this but the “social” problems of cuts. Get on your bike.

      • Spirit Leveller says:

        More embarrassing assumptions from Norwin. If he were to check his facts, he’d realise that, as a proportion of GDP, public expenditure between ‘the good years’ of 1997-2007 was barely greater than under the Major governments.

        The deficit, you will find, only begins to increase exponentially from 2007, when an economic decline precipitated by a rabid financial services industry operating within the context of permissive liberal econommic policies and a massive imbalance of power between labour and capital result in massive economic contraction and, as a result, plummeting tax receipts.

        Norwin, your ‘solutions’ are what has caused the problems we now find ourselves in.

        Anybody else interested in the ideological nature of regressive taxation increases (and why, because of the concept of decreasing marginal utility, the rich never “pay more VAT because we simply spend more”) might want to read this:

        Norwin, you’ve a second rate mind and, consequently, second rate ideas – soon to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    • Tamsin says:

      Norwin dear. Don’t bother trying to patronise me – it isn’t possible.

    • Sarah Cox says:

      The deficit could be wiped out by:
      1. Scrapping Trident, saving £97bn over 20 years
      2. Stop the war in Afghanistan, in 2008-9 it cost 4.3bn
      3. Don’t buy F35 joint combat aircraft, two aircraft super carriers and 232 typhoon bombers, save £35bn
      4. The rich pay only 1% National Insurance on income over £844 per week. If they paid 11% the same as the poor it would raise £8.6bn a year.
      5. Tax avoidance (through legal loopholes) costs £25bn a year, tax evasion (illegal) around £70bn and £28bn tax a year is uncollected, mainly from corporations. a total of £123bn
      6. The wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose by £77bn last year. A £10% tax on that owuld raise £7.7bn
      7. Restoring corportion tax to its 1997 level would raise £18bn
      Add to that the fact that Britain’s current debt is lower than it was (as a proportion of national income) after the war when there was a massive council house building programme and the NHS was set up. Most of the debt is in longer term bonds than that of the EU countries.

  33. James says:

    Just seen Nowrin’s reply. It’s embarrassing nonsense, disguised by his (totally misplaced) condescension. Here’s my reply:

    1) Yes, well-spotted, the rich will pay more VAT in absolute terms than the poor, because they spend more. That’s true. It’s also completely irrelevant.

    To look at the issue like this is to miss the central point: the rich pay proportionately less of their income through indirect taxes, and that is what makes them so unfair. Currently, VAT accounts for 19 per cent of the poorest 10 per cent’s income, but only 9 per cent of the richest 10 per cent’s (House of Commons library figures). The increase will simply worsen that imbalance. It’s a grossly unfair tax rise: making the poorest pay proportionately the most to bailout the some of the richest people in the country – the bankers.

    b) Even the government’s “independent” (ho ho) Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted an increase in unemployment, from the cuts, of 600,000 public sector workers. The OBR then anticipate that the private sector will create well over 1 million jobs, compensating for the loss.

    Unfortunately, the forecast for job creation is not remotely credible: it’s wishful thinking, and hinges (if you dig into the OBR’s figures) on the belief that the private investment in the UK, and exports from the UK, will recover faster than after any previous post-war recession. But with the Eurozone, our biggest export market, still largely depressed and menaced by spending cuts, who’s going to buy all these exports? And with domestic consumer spending still depressed, and confidence dropping, why would businesses invest here? It’s wishful thinking disguised as a “forecast”.

    The blunt truth is that the Coalition government’s plans for swingeing cuts will, bar some minor economic miracle, drive the UK back into recession. This is basic macroeconomics: if consumption demand is down, if investment is down, and if exports are ropey, cutting government spending will depress the economy. George Osborne’s plan for recovery depends on little more than a pious hope that businesses will, for some reason or other, spring back into life and start investing like crazy. It’s just not plausible.

    “Very, very few economists are predicting a double-dip”: not been following the news recently, then? Whoops. As you said, “Don’t be so fucking stupid.”

    3. I’m afraid what you say is completely incorrect. First, David Cameron himself used to argue that the previous level of spending was sustainable when he committed the Tories (pre-financial crash) to maintaining it.

    Second, on the OBR’s own figures (check the table C16 available in the Excel file here) the average level of government spending under New Labour was 39.4 per cent of GDP, lower than the average under the previous Tory governments (1979-97) of 43.2 per cent. Presumably the Tory spending was even more “unsustainable”…?

    Third, the rise in the national debt is due to the financial crisis, with the bank bailouts and drop in tax receipts, not to general public spending. In other words, it’s due to the City of London and the financial system – not to public services. At the very least, making public services (and hence all of us) pay for the bankers’ stupidity is simply grossly unfair. It’s also economically short-sighted: bailing these bozos out simply encourages them to behave the same way in the future, as the Bank of International Settlements has warned since the start of the year.

    We need, I think, a whole new approach to running the economy – one that doesn’t rely on the financial sector, with the massive public spending on bailouts this entails, but one that provides decent public services and sustainable employment. How we reduce the national debt – if we feel we ought to – should be structured around building an economy on the basis of sustainable growth and full employment, not on shovelling cash as fast possible straight back to the City – as the government insists we must.

    Hope that’s clarified things for you.

    • Tamsin says:

      James – I think I love you.

    • Bosshammer says:

      “Sustainable growth and full employment” This slogan seems more archaic as every day passes. What exactly does “sustainable growth” mean? A fundamental article of faith of capitalism is exponential growth, which requires exponential production & consumption in the interests of profit. How can this be made sustainable and by whom? Moreover why should anyone bother? As for “full employment”, this has been defined at various times as anything from 2% to 12%. Unemployment stands at 7.8% at the moment, is this “full employment”?

      What is so great about being employed. To many people employment is something that has to be undergone in order to survive and perpetuate the transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top of the socio-economic food chain.

      Why do we continue to throw our selves and our children into this furnace that provides power to the engine of our destruction?

      Capitalism, as many theologies are, is losing believers at a rapidly accelerating rate. Unfortunately there are still far too many people who see alternative theologies as viable. This debate about the virtues of differing illusions is distracting. There are no gods, temporal, spiritual or political, There are only people.

      Rather than debate the relative virtues of hypothetical “solutions” to the problems capitalism we should be concentrating on it’s total and final destruction, every trace, every institution every border.

      Only then will we be able to decide what we want to do with the space that used to be occupied by the bakery, to paraphrase the mass murderer V.I. Lenin.

  34. Spirit Leveller says:

    More details on how to attend the conference. Do we need to obtain tickets?

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