Socialist Worker

Tax cuts for the rich and EU promises from Tory leadership hopefuls

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2661

Boris Johnson during his time as London mayor

Boris Johnson during his time as London mayor (Pic: Annie Mole/Flickr)

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt want us to know that they are really, really serious about leaving the European Union (EU).

The Tory leadership hopefuls are ramping up their rhetoric on Brexit in their efforts to become the next prime minister.

And because the Tory leadership election goes on until 22 July, weeks of similar nonsense lie ahead.

Hunt is so committed to Brexit that he said he would back leaving the EU without a deal even if it meant workers lost their jobs. Not a vote-winner among ordinary people, but maybe it works on Tories.

He also said he would pursue a no-deal Brexit if a plan to leave on the latest deadline of 31 October seemed impossible. But bosses, who overwhelmingly backed Remain, didn’t like the uncertainty and threat that this could pose to their profits.

So Hunt’s main concern was to reassure the bosses that they wouldn’t lose out under his leadership. He pledged to slash corporation tax even further—from 19 percent to just 12.5 percent—at a cost of £13 billion.

And after years of Tories telling us there’s no money for services, Hunt pledged to hand over £6 billion to bosses in farming and fishing.

Meanwhile Johnson supporter and health secretary Matt Hancock raised the idea of pay rises for public sector workers.

Johnson made no actual promise to raise workers’ pay.


But it didn’t stop The Times newspaper declaring on its front page on Monday, “Boris Johnson to boost pay for public sector staff.”

Johnson has spoken in vague terms about ­spending more money. He claimed in a Sky News interview to want to raise the Living Wage—although he didn’t know what the current rate is.

His ideas were mainly about how the government can spend more money to help business.

Johnson described himself as “somebody who has stuck for business through thick and thin” and has been an “evangelist for UK business”. “That is what I will be if I’m lucky enough to be elected,” he said.

Johnson also defended his racist description of black people having “watermelon smiles” and as “piccaninnies”.

He said the phrases, made in a Daily Telegraph column in 2002, were made in a “wholly satirical way”. He also said that the quotes, along with various other racist and homophobic remarks, had been “wrenched out of context”.

It followed a defence by Hunt of US president Donald Trump over a racist Tweet attacking Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Whoever wins the leadership election, the Tories will continue as the party of the bosses, the rich and the racists. But they will also remain weak and divided—and more struggle can get rid of them all.

General election now protest Monday 22 July, 6pm, Downing Street, London. Organised by People’s Assembly March against a racist prime minister. Monday 22 July, 6pm, St Peter’s Square Manchester. Called by Stand Up to Racism

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