Socialist Worker

Boris Johnson is set for further battles

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans?
Issue No. 2685

Boris Johnson addresses Tory workers last Friday

Boris Johnson addresses Tory workers last Friday (Pic: PA)


Boris Johnson had a spring in his step after the Tories’ resounding win over the Labour Party in the general election last week.

But Johnson faces serious problems—and the fight against Tory austerity, racism and inaction on climate change must continue.

Johnson campaigned on the slogan, “Get Brexit done.”

He does not face rebellious backbenchers anymore and a crop of loyal MPs will vote for his withdrawal agreement in parliament.

But Brexit won’t just get done.

It will require further tortuous talks with the European Union (EU) and prolonged negotiations with the US and other powers.

Johnson has already fallen out with much of big business—the Tories’ traditional bastion. Bosses were desperate to remain inside the neoliberal EU because it protects their profits, lets them compete with world rivals and blocks left policies.

Big business cheered when Jeremy Corbyn lost last week.

Eight of the industries in line for possible nationalisation under a Labour government saw their combined stock value grow by £6 billion. Telecoms group BT rose by 7 percent and utility Centrica was 8.7 percent higher on the stock market.

The First Group, which operates major rail and franchises, rose by almost 6 percent.

Financial

Shares in house builders including Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey saw double-digit increases, as did a number of financial stocks.

Stocks of banks shot up—including an 18 percent gain for billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Money.

The relief shows how much bosses want to protect the profits and assets they have grabbed by looting public services.

But there will be further battles between Johnson and the bosses over Brexit. And, with a possible recession and global shocks coming, it will not be plain sailing for the Tories on the economy.

What happens to the British border in Northern Ireland after Brexit remains unresolved.

The Tory win was devastating for working class people, but we’re not broken. Thousands of people took to the streets in angry and overwhelmingly young demonstrations across Britain last week.

Resistance is not over. School students will still walk out and march over climate change.

Extinction Rebellion activists will battle on. UCU union members at universities and RMT union members on the South Western Railway can still keep up their strikes. In Scotland there will be more agitation for independence.

A victory for right wingers at an election doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten through strikes, protests and direct action.

With a commanding majority, Johnson will be able to steamroll vicious attacks through parliament. That means we need urgent action, not excuses from union leaders.

Labour and union leaders failed to drive out one of the weakest, most divided Tory governments in decades. Now each attack must be met by a response in the streets, workplaces and campuses, and by the whole movement.

All those who worked or hoped for a Labour victory have to maintain their energy to keep up the fight for a better world and socialism.


The problem with ‘One Nation Toryism’ is it is still Toryism

Boris Johnson declared victory in front of a background proclaiming, “The People’s Government.”

Pundits said it showed his commitment to “One Nation Toryism”.

One Nation Toryism—associated with 19th century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli—was never a nicer form of right wing rule.

Disraeli used One Nation Toryism to pretend to rule in the interests of bosses and workers—while keeping power in the hands of the rich. He tried to bind working class people to the Tory party through reactionary ideas of British nationalism.

In reality, One Nation Tory governments have still ruled in favour of the elite and clamped down on working class people.

Factually

Tory cabinet minister Michael Gove gloated that the Durham Miners’ Gala and Notting Hill Carnival will now take place in Tory constituencies. That’s not factually true—as the City of Durham is a Labour seat.

But in a sign of their true intentions, the Tories were poised to announce plans for further restrictions on rail workers’ right to strike.

Those who voted for Johnson will expect him to deliver for them—but he won’t.

The pledge of £32 billion more for the NHS is a rehashed Tory lie from the campaign trail. The figure is given in cash terms—meaning that once inflation is taken into account it amounts to £22 billion.

His promises of infrastructure in the north of England are far off.

Johnson is also set to announce longer prison sentences.

The Palestinian-led campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) is also under threat. Johnson is set to lay out plans to stop local authorities from boycotting individual companies.


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