There is no doubt that David Cameron and George Osborne are determined to stick to their austerity programme. Like the Wizard of Oz, they have conjured up an illusion. They have used the media to persuade ordinary working people and their families that the government's economic policy is necessary for the good of the country.
They've tried to liken their strategy to a family that's got to learn to live within its budget, or that of a firm but well-meaning father offering tough love to his children. But if we pull back the magician's curtain we can see their real intention - to maximise profit in the hands of Cameron and his capitalist friends.
To achieve this end it is vital to push down wages by structurally embedding unemployment in our economic system, forcing workers to accept poor pay, wage freezes and part-time work.
With the loss of over 250,000 public-sector jobs since 2010 - 30,000 jobs in the NHS and 71,000 in education for starters - and women constituting 65 per cent of public-sector workers we know that women have been severely hit by this strategy as workers, carers and service users.
The private sector has not faired any better, with a dramatic drop in manufacturing contributing to an expected triple-dip recession. It's estimated that 40 per cent of high street shops will close in the next five years.
The government's policies - unfettered freedom for big business and financial institutions, which can rely on state bailouts, while pursuing ruthless privatisation of all social aspects of the state such as the NHS - are creating long-term economic chaos. There is no investment in the building or manufacturing industries.
The bankers are still getting their bonuses and the profits of the energy companies are soaring. But at the same time 30 per cent of British children are living in poverty and ordinary families are struggling with rent rises and housing benefit cuts.
The gap between rich and poor in this country is widening at a disgusting pace. Sales of houses worth £1 million or more rose by 118 per cent in the last year.
The Cameron-Osborne economic strategy is underpinned by an ideological attack on working-class people in general and women in particular.
Despite public statements about equality, Tory hardliners show their real reactionary attitude towards women when talking about family life and abortion rights. The subtext of Tory policy is that women are to blame - we should be at home with the children.
This was illustrated clearly during the civil unrest in 2011, when riots exploded around the country following the police shooting of Mark Duggan. This triggered the old debate about single-parent families and the role of schools in developing children's sense of right and wrong.
Given that 90 per cent of lone parents are women, and the majority of teachers are women, it implies that we, not society as a whole, have failed to educate our young people.
It also gave Cameron another opportunity to spout his disingenuous drivel about broken Britain without a hint of irony. That he is the chief cause of this destruction - having scrapped the education maintenance allowance and standing by while youth unemployment rises to over 21 per cent for 16-24 year olds - was not mentioned.
Our demand for decent, affordable childcare is also seen as a refusal to know our place. Despite some tax-credit subsidies for working parents, childcare costs are rising at twice the rate of inflation.
A part-time nursery place now averages £106 a week for a child under two years old and £104 a week for older children - a rise of 4.2 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively in the last year. With job shortages, low wages and pay freezes this is making it unaffordable for many women to go out to work.
The Tory attitude towards women is also evident in the debate about a woman's right to choose.
Recognising that an all-out ban on abortion is not going to get through Parliament, many attempts have been made to reduce the time limit for abortion and strip termination providers of their counselling role.
Cameron has said he is sympathetic to these views while simultaneously criticising women who have children they can't afford. This has given the green light to the extra-parliamentary campaign of anti-abortion groups like 40 Days for Life to intimidate women outside clinics while remaining silent on the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Belfast, who was denied a life saving abortion.
This ideological attack is an attempt to divide working-class men from women and weaken the opposition to austerity policies.
The fundamental problem is that this government and the capitalist class object to our aspirations - equal pay for jobs of equal worth, affordable childcare, decent housing, free health care, reproductive rights, freedom from violence and - horror of all horrors - equal representation in the corridors of power.
In fact, all the demands laid out in the Charter for Women.
This is why the trade union and wider labour movement must ensure that these demands are not simply an add-on but become integral to the fight for a progressive and social just society.
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