The stark choices faced by Ecuadorians

The fast approaching February elections will decide whether Ecuador continues on a path of social progress and development or reverts to old patterns of inequality and exploitation, says Ken Livingstone.

THIS has been a big week for Ecuador. The country took on the presidency of the influential G77 and China group of developing countries and has marked 10 years of the Citizens’ Revolution, the name given to the change that has taken place in the country since President Rafael Correa took office on a wave of popular protest following decades of brutal neoliberalism.
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The Tories are to blame for the crisis in the NHS – We need urgent action now

Over the past months we have seen a stream of stats and reports showing the extent of the mounting problems facing the NHS due to Tory austerity, which has meant cuts and persistent underfunding, and the accompanying crisis in social care, culminating with the Red Cross declaring a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the NHS.

Teresa May’s response has been to bury her head in the sand.

But this crisis is of the Government’s making.
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Time to end the great railway rip-off

We must take back our railways from the greedy hands of the privileged few and return them to their rightful owners, argues Ken Livingstone.

THIS week, ridiculous fare rises to customers on our railways joined the ongoing issues with Southern Rail as what must become yet further nails in the coffin of the failed experiment that has been the privatisation of our railways.

These increases mean that rail fares are going up by 2.3 per cent on average in 2017, so passengers will feel a squeeze on their pockets at a time of an approaching cost of living crisis.
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The NHS is being run down by the Tories

Nobody should be under any illusions as to the reason for mounting pressure on the health service, argues Ken Livingstone – it’s government policy.

OVER the past months we have seen a stream of stats and reports showing the extent of the mounting problems facing the NHS due to Tory austerity, which has meant cuts and persistent underfunding, and the accompanying crisis in social care.

These are a consequence of the largest financial squeeze in the NHS’s history, meaning that by 2018 NHS spending per head will be falling.
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Our railways should be returned to the people

The current and ongoing issues with Southern Rail should be another nail in the coffin of the failed experiment that has been the privatisation of our railways.

It is the latest in a series of examples that illustrate just what a bad deal for taxpayers the privatisation of the railways has turned out to be.

From the fiasco of Railtrack, to the issues around Metronet (in charge at one point of two-thirds of the misguided public private partnership (PPP) on the Tube), to the temporary nationalisation of the East Coast line, to the chaos around Southern today, railway privatisation has totally failed.
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The shame of in-work poverty

A major report issued this week shows the extent of the Tories’ big lie that they are making work pay, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE.

This week’s Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Monitoring of Poverty and Social Exclusion report showed the true scale of the human impact of six years of ideologically-driven austerity, following the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement which confirmed the economic difficulties we are now facing.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation in the report is that 7.4 million people in poverty are in working households, showing that despite all their false promises the Tories are not “making work pay.”
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The Autumn Statement – Tory failure confirmed

The Chancellor’s economic plans offer little hope for the future and yet more austerity, writes Ken Livingstone.

THE Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement confirmed that in the years ahead for Britain the picture is pretty gloomy — tax receipts will fall, inflation will rise, wages will stagnate and growth will decline.

Contrary to some claims in the media in the run-up to this week, the Autumn Statement also confirmed the failures — and the continuation of — the Tories’ ideologically driven austerity economic policies over the last six years, where those who did nothing to cause the global economic crash have paid the price of the pain that followed.
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Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity

The Tory government is sticking to plans for more austerity, no matter what the economic or human consequences, writes Ken Livingstone.

Since my last Morning Star column, a leading think tank has forecast a £25 billion hole in the public finances by the end of the current parliament.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report says that lower growth forecasts and higher inflation will leave government tax receipts £31bn worse off in 2019-2020 — turning a forecast surplus of £14.9bn into a deficit of £10.4bn.
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Give Temer the elbow

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was impeached over budgetary manoeuvres that have been carried out by numerous presidents, including Barack Obama. Ken Livingstone believes coup-installed president Michel Temer represents a major threat to democracy.

In Brazil, right wing neo-liberal policies are so unpopular that they have been consistently rejected at the ballot box in presidential elections for the last 13 years. Unable to achieve electoral victory, the only way to implement the neoliberal measures has been through the illegitimate impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, a move that’s seen hundreds of thousands out in protest calling for new elections in cities across the country and protesting against newly appointed President Michel Temer.
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Tory contempt for those in need of social housing

The funding of new homes by direct government borrowing is highly efficient, writes Ken Livingstone.

AS PART of his successful campaign to be re-elected Labour leader this summer, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to “build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.”
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