Sunday, 21 July 2013
Labour's Lasting Legacy
The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has condemned the low wages of millions of Britons as a "national scandal", saying businesses have ignored a moral duty to ensure that all employees are paid enough to live on.
In an outspoken intervention that will reignite tensions between church leaders and the government, Sentamu accuses those in power of offering only "warm words" and "sticking plaster" solutions to a problem that is having "devastating" effects on people's lives.
His decision to plunge into the heart of a policy debate that is bound to take centre stage at the next election will be seen as highly controversial. But in his article Sentamu shows his frustration at the failings of the political class to act, and his sense of moral obligation to step in. Read more: The Guardian
Well said that man. Our wage slave economy is a national scandal and the worst part of it is that it was a Labour government which helped create it.
Prior to the Black Death which swept across England in the year 1348 much of the population of England lived in serfdom with many people surviving as little more than slaves. However, following the horror of the plague which led to a population reduction of between a third to a half of pre-plague levels things started to improve drastically for those who had previously lived in serfdom but who had survived the plague. Suddenly these people were in great demand as labour shortages began to bite. Crops still had to be sown and harvested and livestock still had to be tended to, but the big difference now was; the lord of the manor could no longer dictate events. If his Lordship wanted you to tend to his crops, you could negotiate a fee and if that fee was not sufficient you could offer your services elsewhere where you would soon be offered more because the ruling elite had no choice. They either paid you or others a decent living wage or they allowed their crops to perish in the fields. In short, the labour shortages brought about by the plague freed the masses from economic bondage as the elite were now forced to the negotiating table.
So in merry old England things were looking up as far as the workforce was concerned. Of course the daily reality of life was one of constant struggle, but the difference now was, was that the struggle lead to rewards to the struggler rather than the lord of the manor.
The centuries passed by and as the Industrial Revolution arrived a new kind of serfdom was introduced. People were no longer tied to the land and owned the lord of the manor. In this new variant of serfdom and particularly in this part of the world workers now belonged to mill and colliery owners and their lot in life was every bit as grim as their fourteenth century counterparts.
Things in this period had gotten so bad that necessity brought about change and thanks to the heroic deeds of the nineteenth century Chartists, trades unionists and others selfless individuals the workers were once again freed from serfdom.
Throughout the twentieth century workers still faced significant challenges such as two world wars and and near economic collapse during the great depression, but they could still depend on a fair days pay for a fair days work.
In 1979 Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister and her government set out on a wicked path of de-industrialisation which particularly hurt the manufacturing centres of the Midlands, the NW, the NE and Scotland. Centuries of industrial know how and expertise was consigned to the scrap heap as industry was transferred overseas and Britain was transformed from a manufacturing based economy to a service led economy. The economic heart of this new Britain was to be London and the south east of England and the former industrial heartlands were either laid to waste or transformed into warehousing, retail developments or light industrial units. During this transitional period Britain managed to remain solvent due in no small part to the North Sea oil and gas bonanza which lead to near self sufficiency on the energy front and amazingly wages for those able to find meaningful employment still remained reasonable.
By the mid 1990's Thatcher was gone and the Conservative government of the day were embroiled in sleaze scandals and the electorate demanded change, cue the arrival the smiling and undoubtedly charming new leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair.
The rest of course is history. Blair led Labour to a landslide victory in 1997 and the Labour Party remained in power until 2010. During this period the social make-up and entire fabric of this nation was transformed even beyond the worst nightmares of those who predicted disaster under 'New Labour'.
Putting aside the illegal wars, constant surveillance, PFI, loss of personal freedoms and the raft of new laws introduced which could turn near enough anyone into a criminal (Roy West?) what did the Labour government do which really damaged this country and the working class in particular for ever more? You already know the answer! They flooded the country, literally flooded the country with economic migrants which massively bloated the labour market and reintroduced serfdom to these shores.
The Labour Party are responsible for the total betrayal of the working class in Britain. They have transformed Britain into a low wage sweat shop economy where employers can hire and fire at will safe in the knowledge that they will face no legal come back thanks to temporary employment contracts. Employers, particularly Labour's large donors have benefited enormously from this low wage sweat shop system because as any employer knows, your largest monthly outgoing is usually your wages bill and when large scale employers such as supermarkets can pay their staff just above the minimum wage they are laughing all the way to the bank safe in the knowledge that if their staff rebel and demand more, they can simply fire them and replace them with new workers from the vast and bloated number of migrants seeking work and who are prepared to work for low wages.
If only the heroic founders of the 19th century Labour Movement could come back and survey the scene of devastation wrought by the criminalistic chancers of the current and recent Labour Party I wonder what they would make of it all? Tameside Citizen