Socialist Worker

Boris Johnson gears up for campaign of Brexit, cuts and attacks

Issue No. 2678

Middleton Primary School students endure Boris Johnson

Middleton Primary School students endure Boris Johnson (Pic: PA)


Boris Johnson was floundering and spinning his way towards a general election as Socialist Worker went to press.

The serial liar who had promised to “die in a ditch” rather than apply for an extension to the Brexit deadline had applied and secured just such an extension.

And yet he remained infuriatingly alive.

Johnson said Britain would leave the European Union (EU) on 31 October “do or die” and “come what may” and “no ifs or buts” and “whatever happens”. But as Halloween came we were still firmly in the EU.

Johnson claimed his central task was to “get Brexit done”. But this week, despite winning a vote in principle to approve it, he abandoned the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Johnson had promised that he would ensure “the highest possible standards” for workers’ rights and environmental regulations after Brexit.

But a paper presented to ministers and leaked last weekend showed this was baseless.

It said there was room to force down regulations and rip up workers’ rights under the terms of the Johnson deal. That’s the real prize that the Tories seek—in the EU or not.

Fakery

Johnson hopes to use fakery about standing up for democracy in order to win an election.

He didn’t actually want to pass his Brexit bill because he wants an election that focuses on this and not other issues.

It is much easier to froth about the way parliament and judges have, he says, stopped him from delivering the verdict of the 2016 referendum than it is to talk about life after Brexit.

But Johnson’s lies won’t just be about Brexit.

He will say the Tories are pouring money onto the NHS. Another lie. A month ago he promised the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation” with £13 billion worth of funding for 40 new hospitals.

The plan quickly turned out to amount to £2.7 billion to refurbish six hospitals over the next five years.

The other 34 hospitals would only be completed in the second half of the next decade.

Johnson said he wants the best education for every child. But cuts have made that impossible.

He visited Middleton primary school in Milton Keynes last week. Even after the recently announced “funding boost”, that school will still be £353,000 worse off in real terms than it was in 2015.

Johnson has claimed that he only became interested in politics because a “bearded Marxist student” asked him to contribute to a collection for the miners’ strike in 1984.

Like much else that’s probably a lie. But he was and remains a class warrior for the bosses and the rich.

The Tories have ordered the melting down of the 50p coins minted to commemorate Brexit.

Now it’s time to melt down Johnson and the Tories.


Tory rule—a decade of disaster for working class people

Food banks

  • The number of emergency food parcels given out at food banks across Britain shot up by 73 percent in the five years to 2018-19.
  • The Trussell Trust charity said it gave out 1,583,668 parcels, compared to 913,138 in 2013-14.
  • It said the 12 months to March this year was the “busiest year for food banks” in its network.

Jobs

  • In September last year there were17 percent fewer public sector jobs than there were in September 2009, when the figure stood at nearly 6.5 million.
  • This is a drop of 1.1 million.
  • In March 2018 the public sector represented 16.5 percent of the total workforce.
  • It’s the smallest share since comparable records began in 1999.

Pay

  • Pay freezes, caps and real terms cuts have left public sector workers thousands of pounds worse off.
  • Paramedics suffered real terms pay cuts of over £6,000 between 2010 and 2016, according to the TUC.
  • Teachers lost more than £4,400 while firefighters have seen their pay drop by £4,770.

Services

  • Councils in England have slashed spending on local services by over a fifth since 2010.
  • The Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) reported in July that these services are “at the back of the queue” for public funding.
  • It found that money going to neighbourhood services across Britain fell by 27 percent in the nine years from 2009-10.

Social care

  • Some of the most vulnerable people have suffered the harshest cuts. Social care includes help for older or disabled people at home with things such as washing, taking medication or getting around.
  • In 2017-18 local authorities in England spent nearly a billion less on social care than in 2010-11. And because more and more people need support, the figure should be going up, not down.
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned in May that an ageing population will mean councils in England have to spend more on adult social care.
  • It said the 3 percent cap on annual council tax rises means adult social care would need 60 percent of local tax revenues within 15 years. It currently takes an average of 38 percent.

Schools

  • Real terms government funding on schools and colleges dropped by around £7.7 billion between 2011-12 and 2017-19, according to the Commons Library.
  • 16,523 schools, 83 percent of the total, will have less money per pupil in 2020 in real terms than they had in 2015.

Homelessness

  • The number of deaths of homeless people in England and Wales went up by a record 22 percent last year.
  • An estimated 726 people died in 2018—nearly two every day—according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • It said the increase was the biggest since it began recording homeless deaths six years ago.

Child poverty

  • The number of children living in absolute poverty rose by half a million between 2010-11 and 2017-18, the End Child Poverty charity found.
  • It said that in some areas, more than half of children are in poverty.

Poverty

  • More than four million people in Britain—7 percent of the population—are trapped in deep poverty, according to the Social Metrics Commission.
  • This means their income is at least 50 percent below the official poverty line.
  • Nearly half of all those living below the poverty line live in a household where someone is disabled.

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