Merry Christmas to one and all, or so the cliche goes. If only that were true! While the Establishment are trying to use Christmas to get us to put our class conflicts aside and join together in celebrating this contrived 'season of goodwill', the fact of the matter is that Christmas is a time when class differences are as stark as ever. This year more so than most.
While the capitalists are using Christmas (or should that be Cashmas?) as a marketing ploy, ramming TV adverts down our throat which scream 'have a merry Christmas if you buy our seasonal offers', many people facing redundancy in 2009 - such as Woolworths, MFI, Arqiva (myself included) , HBOS and many other companies' employees - will be welcoming Christmas about as much as the average turkey :-(
To add insult to injury, this closet Tory so-called Labour government - which has poured so much money into protecting the capitalist Establishment's profits but done sweet FA to protect workers' jobs - is now hell-bent on punishing those who will become unemployed and have to claim benefits. Especially insulting is the attack on disability benefits; forcing people to look for jobs which they may be able to do, while doing more or less exactly nothing to force employers to adapt so that people with disabilities are able to do more jobs, is putting the onus once more on the individual rather than society to adapt. In short, it is a blatant return to the medical model of disability, rather than the much-preferred social model.
Even for those in work, saving for next Xmas will be a pain. Following what happened to unFarepak, and with even banks such as Northern Rock and HBOS going belly up, where can we keep our money? We could put it in Under The Mattress Bank, but there it will be at risk of being taken by thieves. A bit like saving with companies like Farepak or putting it in a bank, really :-P
Yet it is perfectly possible to save jobs. Failing companies should be nationalised, and priority should be given to saving workers' jobs not bailing out the fat cat bosses.
At the same time, a shorter working week and more holidays, with no loss of pay, would create jobs. On that score, I do have a lot of respect for the Labour MEPs who recently defied Brown and their own Labour government, and voted in Europe to end Britain's opt-out from the 48 hour maximum working week. This would also improve safety, as tired workers are unsafe workers; as someone whose car was recently badly damaged by an accident involving a truck on the A1, a comment by a union leader that overworked drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers really struck a chord with me. But not, it seems, with the bunch of jerks who call themselves 'our' government :-(
Yet just as depressing, is the fact that the left - which could be offering a real alternative to the McReformism of New Labour - is currently fighting like cat and dog. So, despite how I started this blog article, I am ending it with a plea for peace and goodwill. The whole left - both factions of the SWP and Respect, the Socialist Party and other socialist parties, Greens, left-wing Labour, anarchists, trade unionists - must put our differences aside and fight the real enemy. Namely, the capitalist Establishment and its client System.
Then, and only then, can we really wish for - whether we have had a merry Xmas or not - a happy New Year!