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Chaos reigns as the Tories cling to power

Issue 2800
Boris Johnson and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

Boris Johnson is busy dealing with war in Ukraine (Flickr/ Number 10)

The Tories are causing chaos, but they’re clinging on. The drive to a wider war in Ukraine, the rocketing cost of living and the tax scandals at the heart of the cabinet are more proof of how the system fails. They also mean the Tories are vulnerable. In each case there are particular factors—but there’s also a general, systemic issue.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s tax‑dodging flows from the same contempt that Boris Johnson has for the rest of us. Each element of chaos is linked to another through the warped priorities of capitalism. The Ukraine war is linked to an inter-imperialist conflict about control of markets and resources. The fossil fuel economy is central to that.

Restoring profits through fuel price rises is part of boosting bosses’ interests, and that’s linked to bearing down on wages, benefits and pensions. Capitalism, with the market in charge, means the rationality of profit that causes chaos for the rest of  society. We have been here before. Six months ago petrol supplies dried up in many areas. Supermarkets could not guarantee even quite basic goods. Pharmacies were running short of medicines due to a lack of deliveries. 

Essential industrial processes were imperilled by a lack of CO2. Labour shortages among drivers, poultry workers and in other areas revealed the crucial role played by “unskilled workers”. Privatised energy suppliers were also crashing into bankruptcy as ordinary people faced terrifying price rises. And the government’s response was to push through a £20 a week benefit cut that hit six million people. Then came Johnson’s lies and contempt about lockdown parties—and much more. But Johnson and the Tories remain.

They enjoy multimillion pound mansions kitted out with a pool and fitness centre, a holiday home in California and a flat in Kensington. Meanwhile ordinary people are feeling the biggest squeeze in decades. A central reason the Tories have hung on until now is that opposition is weak. Time and time again the Labour Party has been handed ammunition to try and oust the Tories, but instead Keir Starmer waits patiently, hoping he’ll get his turn one day. 

More resistance is desperately needed in the form of protests and strikes that could spell the end for this rotten government. The current chaos will likely lead to explosions of anger against the Tories. But politically that could go in many directions. It could, for example, be corralled against environmental protesters. That’s why it’s more than ever important to build workers’ resistance and socialist political organisation.

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