Thursday, 24 June 2010

Today Athens, tomorrow Newcastle?

They say that Newcastle is the Athens of northern Europe (or is it just me who says that?), so it seems appropriate to link the two. Especially as the Independent reports from the toon on emergency budget day, calling Newcastle the UK'S 'public sector capital', and Greece provides the most acute example so far of both neoliberal austerity and the resistance to it.

So, first here's the report from Brendan and Clare in Greece, interviewing people hit by the crisis:

"This is a national trauma for us. The government has handed all the power to the International Monetary Fund but the people look on and ask only 'what can we do?'"

Yiota Tzani, 34, is unemployed. She had resigned from her job to take up a position at the Ministry of Economics in the national government alongside 1,000 other workers under a new contract.

However, before she had even arrived at her desk on in March her contract was unlawfully canceled as a direct result of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity plans. Yiota is among the thousands already made unemployed because of the Greek debt crisis.'

Read more HERE.

Then there's the Indy's report from the domestic frontline:

'Beneath the towering monument to the 1832 Great Reform Act, Shirley Ford, 46, was yesterday gathering signatures for a campaign to oppose the forthcoming “efficiencies”. The part-time primary school parent support worker fears her position will not be deemed to be in the educational “frontline” when the axe falls later this year. Her husband’s job as an adult educator also faces the squeeze in ongoing cuts.

Yesterday’s budget already meant they will be £10 a week worse off as a result of changes to family credits and while she said she can understand a Tory Government doing this, it is Nick Clegg’s party’s position which has really shocked her. “The Liberal Democrats have completely sold out,” she said.

Retired college lecturer Paul Baker, 60, could not understand why the Chancellor was proposing to cut rather than tax his way out of trouble. Having been forced through ill health to take early retirement in his 50s he now supplements his meagre income through pension credits. “I live on the poverty line and get by from week to week,” he said. “They say if we tax the rich they will all go away. I say let them go. What use are they?”'

Read more HERE.

Picture: a recent campaign stall in Newcastle.


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