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280 people crammed into Conway Hall to hear Caroline Lucas MP, Tony Benn and others discuss the crisis and how we can resist the cuts.

Videos by Ady Cousins and Paul Hanes

The Queen should donate her priceless diamond studded crown to start paying off the national debt rather than deliver speeches containing the Conservative's pledge to slash public services, Aris Vasilopoulos from SYRIZA told a packed meeting last night.

Vasilopoulos, from the Greek coalition of the radical left, said that the working class was being forced to pay for the greed and madness of the bankers and speculators - but had united in fighting back.

Myths now being circulated that Greek workers were privileged and overpaid were simply not true, he argued from a platform shared with Tony Benn and the Green Party's newly elected MP Caroline Lucas at the Conway Hall in London.

The socialist said that 22 percent of people in Greece were living below the poverty line at £4,500 a year. Workers are now being forced to accept a 16 percent pay cut.

At the same time the public sector is facing a pay freeze until 2014 - which would devalue their wage packet by 50 percent because inflation is running at 4.8 percent, the highest in Europe.

At the same time corporation tax in Greece had been slashed from 40 percent to 20 percent with a loss to the treasury of £20 billion a year. The Olympic Games - which is coming to Britain next - had left the country with a further £13 billion in debt.

He said: "Yesterday Queen Elizabeth was in Parliament saying that the first priority of the British government must be the reduction of debt - why doesn't she donate her crown which has 2,000 diamonds on it?"

He said in Greece "the banks have been subsidised with £50 billion of our money in the last three years. Now is the right time to nationalise because we have no other only of controlling the flow of capital and to make them pay."

John Rees of Counterfire followed the speech by telling the audience that out of the coalition cabinet of 23 ministers just five were not millionaires. Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat, lives in a million pound house - and has five others which he rents out.

Attack on democracy
"When George Osborne says we are all in it together, we are not quite in the George Osborne income bracket together. This is a coalition-of-the-wealthy Government. The £6 billion in cuts they have announced is just 10 percent of what they are going to do this year."

Caroline Lucas, the Green MEP and now MP, said: "We have to look at how we got here today. We have greater inequality now than when Labour came to power. The crisis is a result of financial deregulation which was started by Margaret Thatcher, continued under Tony Blair and will remain under David Cameron.

"What we need is another way which is genuinely based on equality and freedom, based on a steady state economy. We need a progressive package which includes taxation - but higher taxation for those people who can afford to pay an awful lot more."

Tony Benn, who closed the rally, said: "Globalisation has meant the transfer of power from the people we vote for to the people who run the banks.

"What we have built up through democracy is now being eroded. The NHS and public services were purchased at the ballot box so cuts and privatisation are an attack on democracy itself."

The rally closed with a call for people to attend the demonstration on Tuesday, June 22 to coincide with the Government's emergency budget. Full details to be announced soon.

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