Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro drinks water during a meeting with students at Havana's University
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro drinks water during a meeting with students at Havana's University September 3, 2010. REUTERS

The Labour Party and the unions that fund them appear to be doing their utmost to oppose the cuts being proposed by the Coalition government.

The Coalition has pointed to the succsessful cutting of the public sector in countries such as Canada, Sweden and Ireland as evidence that cutting can and does work.

Now however the Coalition can point to a country which is dear to heart of every socialist. Cuba.

Last week the ageing Fidel Castro admitted that the country's Marxist economy did not work. This week we learn that his brother and successor Raul Castro is to cut one million workers from the public sector in a bid to promote private enterprise.

It is estimated that around 85 per cent of Cuba's 5.1 million workers are employed in the public sector, meaning that shifting one million public sector workers will cut that sector by nearly a quarter and would double the size of the private sector, assuming those workers can find jobs.

The Cuba authorities have said that the cuts will begin immediately and will run into April next year. The only workers who will be kept by the state are those in "indispensible" areas such as farming, construction, industry, law enforcement and education.

The government is to ease restrictions on private enterprise and will issue more licences for people to start up their own businesses. It is hoped that many of the million workers will become self employed or join co-operatives or already existing private businesses.

Compare this with the attitude of the Labour Party and the trade unions, which are issuing apocalyptic prophesies about Britain turning into a Mordor of unemployment and inequality.

Ed Balls, one of the Labour leadership contenders, although not it has to be said a frontrunner, is one of the more extreme examples. Just a few months ago he was part of a government whose Chancellor promised tougher cuts than Margaret Thatcher. Now he seems to be against cuts at all for the life of the Parliament.

The public sector in this county, vital as it is, has become too large, it long ago reached the point where we could not pay for it all. That means that some of it has to go or at the very least that wages need to come down.

Whenever this is mentioned to politicians of the left the standard issue response is "How can the government cut nurses, policemen and teachers?" Very rarely do they mention the heads of quangos with six figure salaries and close connections to the Labour Party, such as Dame Suzi Leather, who as head of the Charity Commission (and card carrying Labour member) has been accused of conducting her own ideological crusade against private schools.

Nor do they mention the bureaucrats and managers who often seem to outnumber these fabled nurses, soldiers and teachers.

Unfortunately the cold hard facts of life are that if you want something you have to pay for it and to pay for it you need to work for it. Cuba's very own Raul Castro admitted as much when he said, "We have to end forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where you can live without working."

In order for the public sector to carry out its essential functions it needs a strong private sector to pay for it, even Marxist Cuba seems to have learnt that now, how long before the Labour Party realises it too?