Friday, October 12, 2012

Why we really, really need an alternative economic policy

At this week’s London UNISON Regional Committee instead of the normal bun fight with the ultra left we had a remarkably polite, thoughtful, honest and even good humoured debate on the state we are in and the possible ways to take forward the Union.

I think that in part this is due to how simply mind bogglingly awful it is at this time if you genuinely care about public services. The one “good” thing about this Tory led government is the almost general realisation that this is no time for pontificating and gesture politics.

Now, there was of course still some stuff that was a little bit daft but it was all rather half hearted and random. I think some folk are just beginning to realise that continuing to bang a sectarian head against the union sensible brick wall only hurts one way and achieves nothing.

We all want the TUC "Future that works" demo on 20 October to succeed but we are not just marching for marching sake. There must be an end game. This must be that by marching, we are furthering the argument for an alternative economic policy to austerity.

Austerity is not working, despite the great pain, our national debt is increasing and we need a plan B. The only solution to our economic nightmare is not only to increase demand and confidence by direct investment and growth but to create a more equal society.

Where the rich pay their fair share through truly progressive taxation and there is an effective public sector providing high quality and equitable services such as affordable housing, quality health services and child care (Spirit Level).

I’m cautiously optimistic that eventually the penny will drop but we need to start talking now to our members and have the confidence to argue that not only is there an alternative but what that alternative will be. Check out the TUC guide to “A Future that works” for some ideas.

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