Admittedly there are marvellous groups such as the Coalition of Resistance and the Right to Work campaign, but on the whole they cater for existing activists and have done little to draw in new people.
The People’s Toff Celebrates
So, what has been the consequence? Over the course of April we will see
- The introduction of the bedroom tax - 660,000 people in social housing will lose an average of £728 a year.
- Thousands of people will lose access to legal aid
- Council tax benefit moves into local control resulting in increased bills for most people
- 240 local commissioning groups made up of doctors, nurses and other professionals will take control of budgets to buy services for patients
- Disability Living Allowance is scrapped
- Benefit uprating begins - Nearly 9.5 million families will be affected, including 7 million in work, by £165 a year.
- Welfare Benefit cap - no welfare claimants will receive in total more than the average annual household income after tax and national insurance
- Universal Credit introduced
As if that isn’t bad enough, Cameron will rub salt into the wood by scrapping the 50p tax for high earners.Without doubt it can only be described as a month of shame for the Tories, but they do not see it that way. They remain convinced they are in the right – and without an effective opposition they will undoubtedly stretch things further.
Over the coming weeks we must organise an effective opposition. The Labour party has failed to take that lead and though the trade unions have made some effort, the result has been limited. Hopefully the Bedroom Tax campaign will be the start of something powerful – a return to the mentality of the Poll Tax campaign. If we can bring about an effective challenge to the Tories there is a chance we can rebuild the left, but if we fail then we risk obscurity for at least a generation.