Socialist Worker

The Tories can be beaten - but only if we fight

Issue No. 2520

NUT strikers and supporters rally in London in July

NUT strikers and supporters rally in London in July (Pic: Socialist Worker)


The Tories marked their return from a long summer holiday by doing what they do best—whipping up racism and fighting among themselves.

They all want to scapegoat migrants but are split over how to do it.

Prime minister Theresa May rejected a points-based immigration system on Monday. But several cabinet ministers disagree.

In an attempt not to appear “soft”, May is considering blocking people from the European Union (EU) coming to Britain unless they have a job.

The bigger divide in the Tory party is over the EU in general. The leadership is split on whether Britain should aim to keep full access to the EU single market, or prioritise slashing immigration.

David Davis, the minister in charge of exiting the EU, made a statement this week on what the vote would mean. He helpfully explained, “Simply, it means the UK leaving the European Union.”

The Tories are refusing to spell out exactly what will follow the Leave vote because they can’t agree on it.

These divisions won’t stop the Tories going on the offensive against working class people.

But they do mean the government is weaker than it may seem to be—and they also mean resistance can have a big impact.

The Leave vote showed the disillusion and anger in Britain. Many ordinary people defied politicians who instructed them to vote Remain because they don’t trust them.

Official politics is dominated by people who live in a different world to the rest of us. This is why there has been so much enthusiasm for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Successful

This mood for change could be turned into resistance. And when resistance has been organised, it has been successful.

The NUT teachers’ strike in July saw big protests, including 10,000 in London. Every junior doctors’ strike has seen widespread support. When workers are given the chance to fight, they take it.

NUT members backed strikes by 92 percent in their ballot. Junior doctors voted by 98 percent for strikes.

Resistance can strengthen unions too. Some 6,000 people joined the NUT between it calling a strike and the day of the walkout.

Of course this doesn’t mean there are no weaknesses. Not all workers take part in struggles, or believe that strikes can win.

But this is partly because union leaders have often pulled the plug on disputes before they’ve had chance to show their real muscle.

The Tories are weakened after losing David Cameron and George Osborne. But they remain determined to make ordinary people pay for the crisis.

A much bigger fightback could stop their assault. We urgently need to build one, starting with the demonstration outside the Tory conference in Birmingham on Sunday 2 October.


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