Poverty and inequality in Britain
The definitions of poverty are as plentiful as they are differing but whatever your definition, it is undeniable that many more people in Britain, a very wealthy leading imperialist nation, are poorer now than 30 years ago. It is also undeniable that the tiny percentage at the top of British society are very much wealthier than 30 years ago.
A report from Bristol University, which was reported in the Daily Mirror on 19 June, reveals in that article the following;
One in every six adult in paid work is still poor.
The report/article also tells us that “the majority of children living below the breadline have at least one parent in work.” This point destroys the myth, put forward by bourgeois politicians of all hues, that child poverty is down to ‘lazy parents who won’t work’. On the contrary, the vast majority of benefit payments in Britain go to people in work! This is a result of inadequate wages being paid; so in reality these benefits paid to workers are really a massive supplement to the employer from all wage-earners via income-tax, through the Treasury and delivered by the Work and Pensions Dept.
Britain is a country that has very changeable weather and where many thousands of people, mainly old and poor, die every winter of hypothermia; so the issues of clothing, damp and inability to heat homes are very real life-or-death general health problems for many working class people, for they add to the general misery of ‘life on benefits’, and the mental illnesses of stress and depression that often go hand in hand with poor general health.
The Daily Mirror supports the Labour Party and so its vitriol is reserved only for the current Con-Dem Government, bolstering this informative article with quotes from Labour MPs, Frank Field, Rachel Reeves (Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary) and former Labour Minister, Alan Milburn. All these quotes rightly condemn government policies that attack the poor under the guise of helping them, as the sub-headline makes plain in large print, in 1983 14% of workers in Britain were living below the breadline, in 2014 that percentage has jumped to 33! The Labour Party were the governing party for 13 of those 30 years and even when in opposition they have in essence supported the idea, if not the method, of attacking the poor. So voting Labour is certainly not going to be a solution to the problems faced by the poor in Britain.
That other daily supporter of the Labour Party, the Morning Star, in an editorial of the same day, quoting research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, stated that ” the majority of those in poverty – 6.7 million out of 13 million – live in a household where someone works. People are looking for work and taking jobs, but they can’t make ends meet because their pay is too low and the cost of living is too high .” They then went on to say how much support there was for Miliband’s proposed 1 year price freeze on gas prices and pointed out that there was enough wealth to solve the problems but that it was in the “wrong hands“, without saying how it should be placed in the ‘right hands’ except to declare that we need a “radical reorganisation” in Britain. This supposedly ‘communist’ daily finished the editorial by saying; ” The alternative to a radical reorganisation of society in the interests of the working class is a mass wringing of hands every decade or so when anti-poverty campaigners publish their latest reports indicating that nothing substantial has changed .”
But what is the Morning Star/CPB policy of calling on workers to ‘vote Labour’ to solve our problems? It is telling us to put our faith in one capitalist party to get rid of capitalism! It is the idea that this one capitalist party can be ‘pushed to the Left’ but the others can’t! For Communists standing in bourgeois elections to test the maturity of our class and to promote a revolutionary line is a good tactic, but to promote the Labour Party as an ‘answer’ for workers is nothing other than participation in the massive hoax that is played on the working class every election day; it is a treachery far worse than the unctuous “hand-wringing” every ten years of the sleazy Westminster parasites and the media barons, as it comes from supposedly ‘communist’ sources.
Let us be clear, we need to highlight these reports and figures to try to establish the idea in the minds of the workers that capitalism cannot but produce these grotesque inequalities; and that there is no solution within capitalism, whichever party is in government, and that working for revolution in Britain is the only real option. That revolution will be bloody and messy, there will be massive set-backs and problems at different stages, but to allow this system to carry on will see the wealth divide become greater still, and more and more imperialist wars of both thievery abroad and attacks on the working class at home.