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Protesters thronged into the streets of another capital this weekend to protest government spending cuts that will reduce the power of public-sector unions — and nanny state services in general. This time, the capital in question wasn’t in the middle of America, but in the heart of the United Kingdom, as hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of London to protest austerity measures that the coalition government has imposed.
The UK now owes more money as a percentage of GDP than any time in recent history since it paid off its World War II debts. Excluding the financial sector, the UK’s national debt is running over sixty per cent of GDP. According to Conservative delegate to the European Union Daniel Hannon, the UK currently spends more money servicing that massive debt than it does on national defense. Clearly, something needed to be done and the coalition government of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Deputy PM Nick Clegg moved to start chipping away at that mountain of red ink shortly after taking power in 2010.
Much like Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, the government’s plan to fix the island’s economic woes included a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. It is the $130 billion in spending cuts that has the left infuriated, and no one in Britain seems quite so angry as those people who are members of or are at the head of the nation’s labor unions.
Len McCluskey is general secretary of Unite, the largest labor union in the UK and Ireland. He used the march this weekend to attack the Cameron government with the kind of hysterical hyperbole that has become the default mode on the left whenever someone tries to rein in out of control government spending. According to the story in The Independent:
[McCluskey] told the protesters they were bearing witness to services closing, old people going without care, libraries, swimming pools and parks going to ‘ruin’ and young people heading for a life on the dole. ‘But you represent a spirit of resistance in every workplace and community that says we are not going to have our way of life killed so that the rich and greedy can live as they please,’ he said.
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