Socialist Worker

Don’t let Theresa May off the hook

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2650

Theresa May

Theresa May


 

Theresa May found no respite on her Easter ­walking holiday in North Wales.

European Union (EU) leaders last week agreed to delay Brexit until 31 October. But there has been no let up in Tory MPs drawing up “war books” in the battle to succeed May as party leader and prime minister.

One Tory adviser told the Daily Telegraph newspaper, “The biggest feature in Westminster is people ­looking for dirt on others.

“The main focus is how to take people down.”

They added that the ­leadership race is “not a battle of ideas” but “people trying to kneecap each other”.

This war of succession will deepen the Tory divisions over Brexit. And the war could drag on, as May has only committed to stepping down after MPs pass her EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Parliament has already rejeced May’s deal three times—and there has been no significant shift in the balance of forces among MPs.

The defeats have largely been at the hands of sections of the the European Research Group of right wing Brexiteers.

They have refused to back any deal opposed by the bigots of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has propped up May since she lost her majority at the last general election.

May is attempting to get around the impasse by ­holding talks with the Labour leadership.

Labour already supports key parts of her abysmal deal. Shamefully, it also pledges to end freedom of movement for EU workers.

And, Labour is attempting to present itself as being on the side of big business by backing a ­customs union.

The Financial Times ­newspaper last week quoted a spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn saying, “We’ve made clear we will move off our core position” and it cited “Labour’s willingness to accept EU single market membership, including the bloc’s state-aid rules.”

That would mean curbs on nationalisation and other intervention in industry. This would be a disaster for Corbyn’s more radical economic policies.

Talks were set to resume this week, but neither side appeared to be in a hurry to sign up.

May’s negotiations with Corbyn have ignited Tory MPs’ wildest fantasies of “Marxists” running the country.

And Labour can see the Tories’ are haemorrhaging votes to forces further to their right, such as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and Ukip.

The Tory divisions provide a golden opportunity to drive them out.

But while the talks go on there is not concerted drive to force a general election.

Meanwhile, the Tories plough ahead with NHS privatisation, dismantling the welfare state, ­deporting migrants and other crimes.

Stopping them requires protests and strikes now to drive out the Tory regime of austerity and racism.

Step up defence of workers’ freedom of movement

The best vision of Brexit would say “Yes to freedom of movement” and “No to the single market”.

The single market’s rules act as a neoliberal straitjacket and a curb on change.

For instance, they would stop a left wing government nationalising a whole industry or sector to run it as a public service.

But these same rules allow capitalists to move their assets freely across Europe to where they can make most profits.

Tackling the economic, social and climate crises requires an economy where resources are directed on the basis of people’s needs, not on the basis of bosses’ profits.

While capital shouldn’t be allowed to roam the globe, people should have more right to move where they want.

EU migrants are not to blame for declining wages, overcrowded classrooms or long waiting times in the NHS. The 3 million people living here should have the right to stay without any applications.

And free movement should be extended beyond the deadly borders of “Fortress Europe”. These lock out refugees and migrants and force them to take deadly routes across the sea.

 


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