Another Tory prime minister bites the dust, another stake is plunged into the heart of a party once famed for its discipline and electoral cleverness. Liz Truss resigned on Thursday because she had lost the support of Tory MPs, having already received a vote of no confidence from the bankers and financiers.
Chaotic scenes on Wednesday night of Tory MPs bullying and assaulting their “colleagues” to try to get them to vote the government’s way in support of fracking underlined the open chaos.
Having begun on 6 September, Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. There ought now to be a general election to sweep away this corrupt rabble. But the Tories know they would be slaughtered in a vote. They might not even have more MPs than the Scottish National Party to be the official opposition.
So once again they are going through the utterly undemocratic process of choosing the prime minister themselves. In almost her last act, Truss agreed with Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, “That there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week”.
Theresa May followed David Cameron in 2016 by an internal Tory election, Boris Johnson followed May by the same method. And then Truss replaced Johnson by the decision only of Tory members. There ought to be a general election, but winning that will take mass resistance.
There is now a major question for the whole trade union movement, the left and campaigners. Is this government of rejects and nobodies going to be allowed to continue? Are these corporate stooges and money-grabbing thieves to be left in place?
Are we going to endure weeks, months or years of further assaults on working class people, more poverty, illness, malnutrition and early deaths? The next general election doesn’t have to be held until January 2025.
That’s two years and more of vile racism, deportations, migration raids and scapegoating of refugees and Muslims. It’s more time wasted in inaction over climate chaos.
On the same day Truss departed, the Tories were introducing a new anti-union law into parliament. Are the unions going to let them get away with that?
And as Truss goes under, a new face of Tory rule emerges. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has laid out a very traditional Conservative programme of austerity and cuts which he said would be of “eye-watering difficulty”.
His measures include tearing up the pledge to hold down gas and electricity bills for two years. Instead, in just a few months, a “review” is set to unleash massive price surges again for millions of ordinary people.
This is no time for business as usual. The union leaders should call mass demonstrations for this weekend or next and keep protesting. Every union should be calling all out and indefinite strikes if they are already in dispute and moving to a strike if they do not. And the process should not go through all the obstacles of the anti-union laws.
It’s hard to imagine a more extraordinary political crisis at the top of the British establishment. The Tories cannot be allowed—again—to ride it out.
Blood on Tory hands
The Met is a corrupt barrel
They tried to paint killer cop as a bad apple
Spring budget to come out on Wednesday 6 March