Boris Johnson, the Eton-educated millionaire and Trump wannabe, got to number ten with the votes of just ninety thousand members of the Tory Party, less than 0.25% of the electorate.
Now he is using his position to over-rule elected MPs. This is one more indication of how big-business politicians are prepared to push aside all their talk of ‘democracy’ when it suits their interests to do so.
For a general election!
Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union movement need to urgently launch a mass campaign to demand an immediate general election.
Workers in different sectors are already fighting back against the bosses’ attacks; we need to link this to a generalised fight to get the Tories out.
Johnson is not the only pro-big business politician who is demonstrating their contempt for the views of the working class.
The majority of the capitalist elite in Britain are opposed to Brexit because it could threaten their profits, and there are politicians in every party – including in the Labour Party – who are desperately manoeuvring to try to overturn the EU referendum and ‘step back’ Brexit.
There is one thing that most of them fear more than a chaotic Brexit, though: the election of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government with socialist policies.
While Corbyn’s programme is actually very modest, the capitalist class and its political representatives are terrified by the enthusiasm a government promising mass council house-building, free education, a higher minimum wage and more, could create among millions of working and middle class people who have suffered endless austerity.
Hence the contortions of pro-Remain Tories, Liberal Democrats and pro-capitalist Labour MPs who are desperate to defeat the prime minister, but even more desperate to prevent the leader of the opposition coming to power.
No to a ‘national unity’ government – Tories in all but name!
It was in order to achieve these twin goals – stop Johnson and stop Corbyn – that representatives of opposition parties attended a meeting called by Corbyn and argued to try every parliamentary manoeuvre possible – except the only one that could clearly succeed which had been proposed by Corbyn: a successful vote of no confidence in Johnson, then a short term minority Labour government extending Article 50 and calling a general election. Liberal Democrats leader, Swinson, were prepared to be part of a vicious pro-austerity government with the Tories for five years, but won’t support a Corbyn government for five weeks!
Now, seemingly outmanoeuvred by Johnson, they can be forced back to Corbyn’s proposal. He, however, has made a mistake in feeding the false idea that there is any kind of ‘national interest’ which justifies uniting together with pro-capitalist politicians.
The gap between rich and poor in Britain has reached astronomical levels. The wealth of the richest 1,000 people increased by £47.8 billion last year alone, while wage restraint and poverty continued for the majority.
Tories, Lib Dems who joined a Tory government, Tony Blair-supporting ‘Labour’ MPs who privatised our services, went to war and introduced tuition fees – these MPs will never act in the interests of the working class majority but will continue to defend the interests of the billionaires.
Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union leaders need to state that clearly, and launch a fight for a general election to kick them all out!
Build on the 2017 snap election
Such a campaign could shatter the parliamentary manoeuvres of all stripes of capitalist politician and transform the political situation.
Labour could win by a landslide, provided that it adopted a fighting socialist programme.
The 2017 manifesto could be a starting point but the manifesto should also include, for example, reversing all cuts to council services, scrapping universal credit, and a pledge to nationalise Honda Swindon, Ford Bridgend and British Steel under democratic working class control, along with any other companies who carry out closures and job cuts in the name of Brexit or otherwise.
A pledge to renegotiate Brexit in the interests of the working class – refusing to accept the EU’s pro-privatisation, pro-austerity laws – would form an important part of such an approach.
This should be combined with nationalisation of the major corporations and banks to really take the levers of power out of the hands of the capitalist saboteurs that would otherwise do all in their power to prevent the implementation of pro-working class policies.
If such an approach is not adopted, however, the current situation – where many workers see no difference between Corbyn and the pro-austerity politicians – could continue or worsen.
Fight to transform Labour into a workers’ party
If this were to happen, Corbyn and the Labour left would bear responsibility for it. In the vain hope of winning unity in the parliamentary Labour Party, they have made repeated concessions to its pro-capitalist wing, not least campaigning for Remain in 2016 instead of fighting to lead the elemental cry of rage that was the working class vote for Brexit in a socialist and internationalist direction.
This is now being compounded by deputy Labour leader, John McDonnell, and others, seeming to drift to a ‘remain in all circumstances’ position, rather than arguing that a Labour government would renegotiate Brexit in workers’ interests.
Of course, no matter how many concessions are made, the Blairite wing of the Labour Party remain unreconciled to Corbyn and determined to remove him when they get the opportunity.
That is why another essential – and well overdue – aspect of the fight for a general election is the launching of a serious campaign to transform the Labour Party into a workers’ party.
This would mean transforming the structures of Labour so that it was brought under the democratic control of its working class members and supporters, particularly via the trade unions and a return to the kind of federal structure Labour had when it was founded, which would allow all genuine socialist forces – including the Socialist Party – to affiliate.
• General Election now!
• For a Jeremy Corbyn-led government with socialist policies