It would be comforting to accept Ed Miliband's assessment at Prime Minister's Questions that David Cameron is "absolutely hopeless" and his government "falling apart," but caution dictates otherwise.
PMQs can provide lively knockabout entertainment in the House of Commons but it should never be confused with real political struggle.
If Cameron saw his role as promoting social justice, safeguarding essential services and boosting living standards for working people, pensioners, claimants and other people, he could justifiably be classed as absolutely hopeless.
But he has no interest in these things. His brief is to push through the bankers' agenda, wreck the welfare state, push privatisation of public services and cut taxation for big business and the rich.
His government's record is anything but hopeless from its point of view.
Similarly, while there are constant grumblings from backwoodsmen on the Tory benches and publicity-seeking bleats from Cameron's thoroughly compromised Liberal Democrat prisoners of ambition, neither group would wish to provoke a "falling apart" schism two years before the next general election.
There are certainly divisions, both personal and political, among the thoroughly unlovely inmates of Cameron's Cabinet, but they are bound together by a united commitment to stuff the working class.
George Osborne is set to unveil a further £10 billion of spending cuts in next week's Budget, which will involve further hardships for those least able to bear them.
It should also spotlight the reality that the conservative coalition has so far implemented just 30 per cent of its austerity agenda, illustrating the scale of the attacks still in store to deliver against the workers and the poor.
The government will neither be persuaded nor shamed into altering its policies. Ministers are guided by both neoliberal zealotry and personal financial gain.
As Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told last night's TUC pre-Budget rally: "Austerity is OK if you are rich … because if you are rich, you're in line for an extra £100,000 tax break taken from the pockets of the poor."
TUC research has revealed that over half of Britain's children will be living in homes earning below the minimum income standard by the time an election rolls around in 2015.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady is correct to describe the problem facing the people of this country as "a growth, jobs and living standards crisis" and to identify VAT as a regressive tax that should be cut rather than progressive direct taxation on the wealthiest minority.
Trade union demands to reverse the cuts agenda and to stimulate the economy will be ignored by the Tories and their Liberal Democrat lapdogs.
But trade unionists must also realise that a coherent, radical alternative from Labour remains to be articulated.
Cameron reprised his tattered "Labour in the pocket of the unions" spiel, ignoring his own party's bankrolling by the City.
He said that GMB, Usdaw, Aslef, TSSA and Ucatt had all entertained Miliband, claiming: "They pay the money, they get the policies."
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is very wide of the mark.
The Labour leader is still influenced too much by the "financial discipline" advocates of the new Labour undead rather than by labour movement policies.
Miliband should dispense with the Osbornomics-lite approach, oppose the cuts and privatisation programme and advocate public investment and extended public ownership to underpin a real alternative to the bankers' austerity agenda.
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