Pressure was piling on Theresa May this week as her government tottered from crisis to crisis.
One Tory minister was quoted last weekend saying, “She had better pull up her socks and start to lead—and if she can’t do that she should go. Shape up or ship out.”
May has been in talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) to secure a majority in parliament ahead of this week’s queen’s speech,
But no deal with these vile bigots had been announced as Socialist Worker went to press.
May will face votes on the queen’s speech on 28 June, with Labour pledged to put forward alternative proposals. This is when the crunch tests could come.
It is crucial that protests grow to make sure that, despite her weaknesses, May does not limp on to force through further brutal measures.
Daniella, who joined a 1,500-strong protest outside Downing Street last Saturday, told Socialist Worker, “We need to get Theresa May out—and we need another general election”.
May did her best to avoid ordinary people during her stage-managed general election campaign.
But whenever she was forced to come into contact with them, May was hounded by angry hecklers and protests.
She wouldn’t even meet people in the recent aftermath of the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London.
Facing criticism, May went again—but was bundled back into her jeep as furious residents chased her calling her a “coward”.
James, an A-Level student on a protest in Nottingham, told Socialist Worker, “Tory MPs are directly responsible for what happened at Grenfell, they only care about the rich.”
Unit, a student from north London, agreed. “They got rid of the fire stations that could save people’s lives,” he told Socialist Worker.
The loss of lives at Grenfell has revealed the naked reality of how our rotten society is run. “It shows how much class warfare there is in society when the only people things are getting better for are the rich,” said James.
Meanwhile the rich have grown richer from austerity.
The 1,000 richest have seen their wealth grow by 14 percent from £575 billion to £658 billion in the last year alone.
Anger at seven years of Tory austerity and how it has wrecked people’s lives is beginning to burst through.
Kaya has just finished her GCSEs, but her school in Nottingham has axed her A-Level choices because of Tory funding cuts.
“I’ll now have to take an hour’s bus journey every day to get to college because of cuts,” she told Socialist Worker.
As well as anger, there is a growing determination not to let the Tories get away with their attacks.
Kaya said, “I can’t vote, but I can have a say about my future by coming out here in Nottingham and protesting.”
From school funding cuts and £9,000 a year university tuition fees to the housing crisis, young people are being denied a future.
May’s attempt to stitch up a deal with the DUP has added to many people’s anger.
Abby, a student, told Socialist Worker, “The Tories have shown that they don’t care about gay people and women by trying to go in with the DUP.”
Many people have been angry about austerity for a long time. Yet there hasn’t been a widespread sense that ordinary people can fight back and win.
But the support for Jeremy Corbyn and the socialist policies he represents is beginning to shift the mood.
He’s galvanised an entire generation of young people.
On the London protest people began singing, “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” and passers-by joined in.
After the election result many people now feel that a different society is possible.
It’s not just young people who feel stronger—some seasoned campaigners and trade unionists are gaining confidence.
Ben, a nurse in the Unison union in Nottingham, has been battling against the Tories’ assault on the NHS for a long time.
“People have now had a glimmer of hope that there could be an alternative, and we’ve got to keep pushing at that,” he said.
At the Bfawu bakers’ union conference last week, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, “We need every union mobilised, get out on the streets.
“Just think if the TUC union leaders put out that call, that we want a million on the streets of London in two weeks’ time.”
That struck a chord. As James said, “I don’t want to wait until 2022 for another election. We can’t allow this to carry on. We need to stand up and make a revolution.”
Sammy, an education worker in the Unite union, told Socialist Worker, “When my union supported a demonstration in April we had a quarter of a million people on the streets for the NHS.
“It should do that again.”
The national demonstration on Saturday 1 July called by the People’s Assembly, can be a key focus for this growing discontent.
We must pile the pressure on the Tories to push their crisis to breaking point.