Austerity cuts

The making of a cutters' coalition

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To their dismay, the Tories failed to win a majority in the election, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. Labour was not wiped out, and, despite losing seats, Nick Clegg led the Lib Dems into government with Cameron's Tories. Dan Mayer analyses the coalition that no one voted for.

The general election will be remembered as the election nobody won.

It was supposed to be the Conservative Party's triumphant return to power. Backed by Rupert Murdoch and the City of London, facing the tired and unpopular Gordon Brown, David Cameron was supposed to fulfil his Etonian destiny by effortlessly sweeping into Number 10.

Eurozone crisis: new ideas of resistance as Greek fight grows

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The revolt against the IMF-EU austerity package in Greece escalated with two general strikes in May.

The strike on 5 May turned out to be the biggest ever, with estimates of the strike rally's size reaching over half a million. There were clashes with the police as they used tear gas against demonstrators trying to go up the steps in the parliament building. Three bank employees died in a blaze when a Marfin Bank building was set on fire.

Eurozone crisis: Portugal

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In Portugal two stages of austerity measures have been announced.

The first was cuts in social benefits and unemployment benefits which will be cut by around 15 percent. The rules have changed so now the unemployed are forced to accept jobs. This is social blackmail. The bosses and politicians want to force the unemployed to take lower-waged jobs and so push down wages for everyone. We are also facing cuts in public investment and a public sector wage freeze.

Spanish imposition

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Eurozone crisis: Spainish imposition

Throughout the economic crisis of the last two years Spain's Socialist Party (PSOE) prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, insisted, "My government will never make workers pay the consequences of this crisis."

But on 12 May he announced government spending cuts. Unemployment has already been climbing. It has officially reached 5 million (20 percent), the highest figure in the European Union (EU), with some areas even higher (30 percent in Andalusia).

Greece: the fightback against austerity

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Greece has been a focal point of crisis and resistance in Europe since exposure of its ballooning debt. Panos Garganos, editor of Socialist Worker's sister paper in Greece, spoke to Ian Taylor about the situation

Panos Garganos

What has been the response to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) going into Greece?

The delegation from the IMF, European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB) arrived in Athens on 21 April, the anniversary of the colonels' coup in 1967. We suffered from the military then. We suffer from the bankers now. The fire service, hospitals, local authorities and teachers were on strike that day - that was the workers' response to the IMF, although the strikes were called earlier.

'No self-restraint' - Greek workers striking

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The working class in Greece is entering March in a very militant mood.

Two days of national industrial action in February and several sectors staging consecutive 48-hour strikes have created a strong momentum.

This has not been a self-evident development. Only last December the Greek TUC refused to call for any action against the government's austerity budget. The ascendance of Pasok (the Greek equivalent of Labour) to power in October after five years of Tory governance seemed to foster conditions for consent between the trade union bureaucracy and the new government.

Greece, Ireland and the eurozone crisis

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Pigs. It's not an insult as such, but that depends on what it's referring to.

In this case it's an acronym coined by "economic analysts" to describe the European countries that have been hardest hit by the recession: Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Now, I happen to be Irish, but I'm not particularly nationally-minded, so on one level it doesn't bother me all that much. However, when you consider who these "economic analysts" are, and what their role has been in the crisis affecting Greece, it's a different story.

The worsening troubles of the Northern Ireland peace process

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"Both Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party now find themselves unable to call on the fierce communal loyalism which helped them contain the scandals"

One of the reasons Gerry Adams is in difficulties over revelations that he covered up charges of child rape against his brother and fellow Sinn Fein (SF) activist Liam is that people in Catholic working class areas who have given a lifetime to Republican ideals now see SF leaders in cahoots with their once-deadly Unionist enemies in implementing British rule. Why should they continue to suffer in silence when the cause has been abandoned?

Cuts, war and MPs' expenses: Are we all in it together?

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A poll conducted after the Tory party conference last month showed that they were down one percentage point over the previous month, while Labour was up three points.

So they received none of the usual boost that the high media profile and set piece speeches give these parties after their conferences, in fact the opposite.

I'm not surprised. Telling everyone that they are going to have to work a year longer before they get a pension is hardly popular. Nor is the constant refrain that cuts in the public sector, of both jobs and services, are absolutely necessary to overcome the budget deficit.

Britain's recession - the cuts out of the bag

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The current bickering between the three major parties about cuts in public spending started with accusations being tossed between them over who was going to make the cuts and who wasn't. But now consensus has been reached.

The argument between all three parties has now shifted to abstract discussions of semantics: Peter Mandelson says the Tories will bring "savage cuts" and the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg boasted of his own preference for "savage cuts" at his party conference. The Tories, meanwhile, have been openly bragging to their rich friends about what they will do to reduce spending.

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