Saturday 25 August 2007

Brown Economics:Highest Profits but Lowest Pay Settlements

Inequality not only disfigures our society but also produces the insecurity, consumerism, alienation, crime and antisocial behaviour that are now endemic in 21st century Britain. It is produced by Government policies which allow the market to let rip whilst restraining the ability of workers to increase their incomes by denyimg them effective trade union rights and by imposing pay cuts in the public sector.

Today's Office for National Statistics survey of economic activity confirms that whilst profits in British companies are increasing at the fastest rate since Labour was elected in 1997 the wages of workers are rising at their slowest pace since 2002. The ONS demonstrates that profits have grown by 16.2%, in the latest quarter of the year, the best since 1994, whilst wages rose by only 3.6%, the worst in 5 years.

It is predicted that the annual excecutive pay survey will show this week that company directors' pay continues to soar, increasing the gap between executive pay and the wages of ordinary employees. This confirms the trend that has seen executive pay rise by nearly 300% since 1993, seven times the rate of the average workers pay.

Since he became leader Gordon Brown's public relations strategy has been based upon the same old Blairite New Labour process of triangulation. Take an issue on which you have failed or are being attacked, create a fanfare around change to seize the critics' territory and undermine any criticism whilst actually barely moving and in fact staying on your original underlying course.

I am never surprised that this strategy works with large sections of the media, as their politics are largely New Labour/Tory and will naturally swing behind their best bet to retain the status quo. I am amazed at times though at the gullibility of elements within the Labour and Trade Union Movement who consistently fall for it. In their desperation to see the back of Blair many in our movement so hoped for change that the slightest nod by Brown in the direction of change is seen as evidence of a radical break with the past. It is becoming increasingly like a version of "The Life of Brian" as people desperately chase for evidence of miracles to prove the arrival of the new messiah.

Today's statistics on the widening gap in pay between many of the already super rich and the average wages of workers, most of whom are struggling with high debt, demonstrate the realities of Gordon Brown's neo liberalism. This is the society his economic policies over the last 10 years have created, a society more unequal than at any time since the second world war, our public services increasingly privatised to facilitate profiteering and a dog eat dog market ethos so inherent that many believe community cohesion is strained to breaking point.

There is an alternative and over the coming period it is our responsibility on the Left to bring together all those who are interested in undertaking the detailed work of developing in all their complexity the detailed policies to create that alternative