Last year, when the Tories were very confident about winning the general election, Tory leader David Cameron promised “an age of austerity” and boasted he would take “difficult, unpopular” decisions.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said: “After three months in power we will be the most unpopular government since the war.”
As the election approaches, the Tories have toned down their talk. But they haven’t shifted on basics.
They declare: “A Conservative Government will hold an emergency Budget within 50 days of taking office... The first measures will start to take effect this year”.
Alistair Darling’s Budget, also promising big cuts over coming years, was bad enough. But a Tory vote is a vote to translate the general promise of future cuts, made by all parties, into a hard commitment to cuts now — and crucially an accompanying drive to break the power of the public service workers' unions.
The unions should start organising now against the coming cuts. Yes, they should support the re-election of a Labour government rather than a Tory victory. But they should also start campaigning now, within the Labour Party, on the streets, and inside workplaces, to combat cuts, to make the Labour leader’s promise to “protect front-line services” a reality, and to demand no job losses!