AS JOHN McDONNELL PUT IT, George Osborne has been "getting his excuses in early” for the economic troubles to come, meaning that it’s more important than ever to expose the failures of austerity.
Despite his excuses, the responsibility for the slowdown can be laid squarely on Osborne. He inherited a slow recovery and promptly stalled it with austerity. Because the economy was stagnating in 2012 and Tory poll ratings fell, Osborne then stoked rising consumption and house prices in order to get re-elected. That unsustainable boom is now running out of steam.
A second round of austerity from Osborne will deepen this slowdown. It will have the same effect as the first, although in circumstances of slowdown rather than recovery. But the political situation has changed dramatically – Labour now has a leadership utterly opposed to austerity.
In addition, wider layers of society are out in opposition. This includes highly skilled health workers. It will increasingly include teachers, students, industrial workers, housing association tenants and more.
The broad anti-austerity movement is growing, and crucially – under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell – there is now a political leadership offering an alternative policy for government. The fightback is stepping up. We all have a duty to get involved, both in building the People’s Assembly Against Austerity movement, including its Labour wing the Labour Assembly Against Austerity, and in building Labour’s electoral support for this year’s London mayoral contest and the election of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.
· MPs John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Cat Smith and Helen Goodman are among the speakers at Better off with Labour – the alternative to Osborne’s cuts on March 9 at 7pm at the House of Commons hosted by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity. You can register online at www. labourassemblyagainstausterity.org.uk
Hornsey and Wood Green CLP