As you're no doubt aware, Cameron and Clegg today announced their parties' agreement for pursuing a coalition government, central to which is consensus on public sector cuts. This is happening against the backdrop of a dangerous crisis for the whole of Europe, and at a time when other major European states are announcing drastic austerity programmes. So, in other news today...
The BBC reports:
'Spain's PM has outlined a plan to tackle the country's budget crisis, amid concerns that problems afflicting Greece may spread across the eurozone. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced a 5% cut to public sector salaries, as well as reductions to pensions and regional government funding. He said the plan would save about 15bn euros ($19bn; £12.5bn) over two years.'
The Guardian reports that the IMF predicts more pain for Athens, while also highlighting the implications of the eurozone bailout for Europe's biggest economy:
'Germans have been urged to face reality today as the full impact of the euro bailout on Europe's biggest economy was laid bare by politicians and financial experts for the first time. The nation is to be forced to make savings more extensive than at any time since the end of the second world war, with education and family welfare expected to take the largest hits.
The sobering figures emerged just after Germany's cabinet gave the go-ahead for Germany to put up €123bn (£105bn) towards the rescue package to stabilise the eurozone. That figure could rise to almost €150bn if needed. Germans now face several years of belt-tightening, with Roland Koch, the deputy leader of chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and the minister-president of the state of Hesse, saying that no areas "can be considered taboo".'
(See James Meadway's latest analysis of the unfolding European crisis.)
This is the bigger picture for the plans of our new Tory (with a dash of Liberal) government to slash public spending. As Lindsey German notes:
'[Lib Dems] have – most importantly of all - committed to the Tory plans for an extra £6bn cuts which are coming very soon and which will tear at the heart of public sector jobs and conditions, pensions and the welfare state. The LibDems will be sitting in parliament alongside the Tories justifying attacks on the poorest and most hard working in order to please the bankers and the rich.'
What can we do? I've already posted info about an important meeting in London - and also meetings here in the North East - where we can begin discussing and planning the fightback. Hopefully there will be events in other areas, which can pull together activists fighting for an alternative to the cuts agenda.