SIT DOWN and shut up is the message from the Tories…

stop your complaining and take what you’re bloody well given.

After all, public-sector workers are supposedly “overpaid” in this country, according to Chancellor Philip Hammond. So, surely, it’s right that their wages have been slashed since the Tories and their Lib Dem collaborators came to power in 2010?

Don’t you remember the prison officers driving around in flash cars, like the ones that our own multimillionaire Chancellor is fond of? The Tories have stopped those shenanigans, lopping £3,800 off their wages in real terms.

Weren’t nurses rolling in it before the Tories taught them the value of thrift by cutting the value of their pay by 12 per cent?

And is it that the cleaner who handed John McDonnell her pay slip — for a bonanza £297 a week — just doesn’t know how good she’s got it?

Hammond says the real scandal is that someone would dare to repeat what he said in the “private space” of the Cabinet room.

What an odious man. What a sickening stance. “Overpaid.” Hammond is a spiv who’s made millions ripping off the NHS to build doctors’ surgeries and gone round the world raking in money by telling poor countries how to sell off public assets.

That Barts NHS Trust cleaner in London, working full time, is on strike with her colleagues for an extra 30p an hour — a piddling sum denied them by bosses. £12 a week!

Britain is the fifth-richest country in the world yet Hammond has the gall to say that not only is this woman not worthy of an extra £12 a week but she is paid too much already. The mind boggles and the stomach churns.

In 2009 the New Economics Foundation worked out that for every £1 hospital cleaners are paid they create £10 in social value. It is the same right across our public sector. Workers who are underpaid and undervalued and disgracefully slandered by this government are the people who we all rely on.

This state of affairs is not just disgraceful but also inept economics. The “living within our means” mantra has always been a falsehood. Government finances are nothing like those of a household. Thankfully fewer and fewer people believe the fiction that it was government spending and not criminally reckless lending by bankers that caused the 2008 crash.

While the Tories and Lib Dems have shovelled cash to their rich pals during their austerity binge, deep pay and service cuts have left our economy in an extremely fragile state.

Even things that might appear useful, such as Help to Buy for first-time-buyer mortgages, have inflated and prolonged dangerous asset bubbles — which must burst — and subsidised big business.

Average pay today is worth 3 per cent less than 10 years ago. Household debt has soared as people try desperately to maintain their living standards with credit cards and pay-day loans.

We are heading for the cliff edge and the Tories’ economic policy — of stealing from the many to give to the few to hide in tax havens — only drives us further toward oblivion.

We have been living through an economic disaster this past decade, the grim statistics made worse by the human tragedy behind them. Nurses so impoverished they must rely on food handouts. Families made homeless because rents are too high. Elderly people dying in winter because they can’t afford to turn the heating on.

People recognise this is wrong and that Labour offers an alternative to such suffering — which is why we’re seeing crowds turn out even in such “true blue” places as Bournemouth. The fear of economic catastrophe is real and valid, but we must harness our hope for a better future and kick out the Tories.

This article appeared in The Morning Star, Monday July 17th 2017

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