A quick look in the Telegraph today shows the direction of travel that the Tories want to go in. In an editorial entitled ‘We have only reached the foothills of reform’ the Telegraph says that ‘Although today is a good day for the Government’s reform agenda, it should have been better. The changes to the NHS and welfare cuts that come into effect are a significant but very cautious step towards revamping Britain’s public services. As has often been the case, the achievements of the Coalition fall short of Conservative ambitions’ and ends by saying that the Government’s attacks on benefits and the NHS ‘though admirable, are tame. The NHS and welfare remain hugely expensive monoliths, prone to excesses that are unaffordable in an age of austerity. Today’s reforms are a step in the right direction, but only the beginning of what must be a very long journey.’
The Telegraph also includes a report that the Government has told the Low Pay Commission, which sets the minimum wage, that it must formally consider its impact on ‘employment and the economy’, before agreeing future increases. The change, which will be written into the Commission’s new terms of reference, raises the prospect of the first ever across-the-board freeze or cut in the minimum wage for everyone if the economic uncertainty continues.
If the Tories feel that they have gotten away with the latest round of attacks on us, they will be back – and their ambitions are becoming ever more nakedly expressed. So the need for organised opposition, here and now, is absolutely vital. That means putting pressure on Labour councils and councillors to stand up to the Government, getting our unions to work hard to let their members know what is really happening and building real alliances in our local communities to physically defend the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable who are the current targets for the Tories.
Because if the Tories get away with these attacks on our neighbours, they’ll be coming back before to long – for us.