So, this is the week in politics when the 'big three' parties showed their political colours and started calling for cuts - or 'savage cuts' in the case of the Liberal Democrats, who seem to be making their semi-annual attempt to look like serious players. Ed Balls, the Education Secretary, has started revealing ideas for reduced spending in his area of responsibility, and we can assume that this sort of thing will be replicated across government. Nick Clegg, meanwhile has hinted that the Lib Dems will soon be dropping the abolition of tuition fees as a policy - despite it being one of the few areas in which they have been distinctive from the other main parties over the last decade.
Of course, the revelation that has sparked all of this frenzy for cutting budgets is the fact that the UK is now borrowing over £16 billion a month due to a combination of the recession and mindboggling economic mismanagement from the Government (the two are, of course, intertwined). For their mistakes, public servants and the most vulnerable in our society are now expected to pay - and we don't even have proper control over the bailed-out banks as a result, due to the doctine of neoliberals such as Lord Mandelson. How their advice cannot be utterly discredited at this point, I don't understand.
Still, we are where we are - and luckily, the Green Party has had its own 'cuts agenda' for years. The difference is, we would cut harmful things and increase equality, rather than cutting pay for public servants and erecting more barriers to education, health and social services. Examples of ways in which we would plug the borrowing gap? Well:
- Trident and the two new aircraft carriers need to go. A saving of at least £130 billion over the lifespan of those projects.
- Tax evasion needs to be cracked down on properly, and tax loopholes closed. According to the TUC, a saving of £25 billion a year.
- Abolition of the £5 billion ID cards scheme.
- Increased taxes for those who earn well above the national average income, with new, higher tax brackets as people get richer.
- Complete withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and a significant reduction in the armed forces (both people and equipment purchasing) with retraining provided.
- A complete reorientation of the current ridiculous roads budget - for example, did you know that the widening of the M1 alone is costing over £5 billion?
And so on. The fact is, that there is a great deal of scope for the Government to raise money, and a great deal of scope for it to stop spending money on killing people and destroying the environment. You won't hear that at any of the three party conferences coming up - but you will continue to hear it from Green Party politicians up and down the country. It's their crisis - let's use it to build a better society for everyone.