Yanis Varoufakis and John McDonnell
Meeting at Methodist Central Hall. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, professor of economics and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, various trade union leaders, antiwar, looking at how we move beyond austerity. Overshadowed by the atrocities in Paris and looming war with Isis.
The meeting started with a minute silence for all the victims of terrorist violence.
With the election of Jeremy Corby and with John McDonnell as finance, Labour for the first time has an anti-austerity team. For the first time there is hope.
Austerity is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, mass sell-off, cuts to social services.
The worst affected are the disabled.
The probation service is being privatised, with all that means with criminals being put back into the community and if they re-offend where are the police to respond when police numbers are being cut and police stations closed?
Councils are facing serious financial cuts. They will provide what they have a statutory obligation to provide and nothing more. Social services are in crisis.
Collapse in social services, means people do not receive the care they need. They end up in hospital, which puts further strain on an already overstretched NHS, and costs more.
Lincolnshire is closing thirty out of forty-five libraries, with the remaining fifteen on reduced hours. But this has less to do with funding, than the leader of the council Martin Hill a moron and a Philistine.
Councils will offer the bare minimum they are under a statutory obligation to provide, nothing more, services will be outsourced and privatised, dependency upon charities.
In the constituency of John McDonnell, there are families living in sheds.
Go to Aldershot, there are families living in a multi-story car park, or there was.
George Osborne will announce more cuts in his Autumn Statement, be lauded in the press as a wizard, a genius. But is he?
He has increased both the deficit and the debt. Balance of payment is at a record high. There is no investment. He wants to cut corporation tax to only 18%. As a country we earn very little, as everything has been sold off.
Companies are paying out record dividends, sitting on a cash mountain, but not investing, they see no future.
John McDonnell gives a conservative estimate of a £400 to £500 billion cash surplus, Yanis Varoufakis put it at £750 million.
This is idle cash. We must invest it, put it to productive use.
UK is a leader in scientific research, but lags on investment.
We should invest in green infrastructure, invest in education.
People have no future. It used to be each generation had better prospects, now it is the opposite.
People need to have creative work, where they contribute to the greater good of society.
We have to end the tax avoidance and tax evasion by global corporations.
Banks have to be split, casino banking from retail banking, they must be broken up, subject to better regulation. If they wish to gamble, do with their own money. They do not contribute to society. We reduce their stranglehold by investment in other sectors of the economy, in skills.
Mass media has become rabid propaganda channels for the 1%, spewing a daily drip, drip, drip feed of misinformation, lies, smears and hate. We must form our own communication channels. The media must be broken up. We cannot have people like Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, Barclay Brothers owning large chunks of the media.
Media channels that give an alternative view and help nail many of the lies.
The Tories do not have a mandate. They got 11 million out of 46 million votes.
The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the immediate aftermath has shown Labour has a problem. Members of Parliament who do not represent their constituents.
What is a good society? Think of a good family. They help to develop, look after the weakest and the sick, those who have strayed they try to bring back.
We are facing a return to the 1930s. That is where the Tories are taking us.
We must opposes austerity. This includes taking direct action. All progressive forces, anti-austerity campaigners, disability rights activists, climate activists, must all join forces to oppose austerity and map out an alternative.
On leaving the meeting, walking through Whitehall, to Piccadilly Circus, along Oxford Street, through Soho, to Covent Garden, then at night after eating at Home Slice in Covent Garden, I was shocked at the number of homeless bedding down and sleeping on the street. I have never seen this number before. It was worse than what I saw of homeless on the streets of Athens.
As with the homeless bedding down for a night on the street, my journey by train was also indicative of all that is wrong. A train of only five coaches, overcrowded, standing room only, for which we pay some of the highest fares in Europe.
Meeting was organised by Trade Union Co-ordinating Group with the support of The People’s Assembly. The meeting was filmed by Let Me Look TV.
Special thanks to Yanis Varoufakis for book signing.
Yanis Varoufakis book signing