Attacks on working people are mounting right across Europe. The so-called PIGS (Portugal, Ireland & Italy, Greece, Spain) countries have been to the forefront of these attacks. In Ireland, we have seen €7 billion of cutbacks, seriously damaging public services, including health and education. In Greece, there has been a 10% cut in wages and spending in the public sector, together with an increased retirement age, VAT increases and the freezing of pensions. Portugal has a plan to cut its deficit by €11bn over four years through a crisis tax on wages and cutbacks in public services. The Spanish Parliament has passed cutbacks worth €15bn on top of €50bn already agreed. Italy is due to implement "emergency-cutbacks" of €24 bn.
The government’s proposed Household Charge of €100 is the forerunner for water charges and a property tax on every home. A pensioner or low paid worker pays the same as a millionaire. How rotten! This new tax has absolutely nothing to do with improving council services – the proceeds go towards the bailout of wealthy gamblers and bankers, for which ordinary people are being bled dry.
It’s just two months into this new Dail and the character of the new government is clear. Its the same as the old one, kneels before the ditaks of the EU/IMF, with the Labour Party in particular, arrogantly lecturing working class people to accept austerity cuts. As someone on the radio said, "Same circus, just different clowns!"