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The bankers used their power against Truss—it’s time to use ours

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Our side needs to be just as ruthless against Liz Truss and the Tories as the financiers were
Issue 2827
A collage shows Tories Grant Shapps and Liz Truss in front of an RMT union placard and flag

Strikes have the power to bring down Liz Truss

After shredding all her key policies, Liz Truss is near-certain to join the growing list of Tory prime ministers ejected by her own MPs. British politics is so unstable that perhaps she has gone by the time you read this.

A poll on Tuesday showed just one in ten people now have a favourable opinion of Truss. The surprise is that there are still that many.

But as Truss goes under, a new face of Tory rule emerged. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has laid out a very traditional Tory programme of austerity and cuts. Hunt himself said these would be of “eye-watering difficulty”.

His shifts include tearing up the pledge to hold down gas and electricity bills for two years. Instead, in just a few months, a “review” might unleash massive price surges again for millions of ordinary people.

To emphasise the assaults to come, Hunt has surrounded himself with an advisory “panel of experts” of people used to slashing public services and carrying out the bankers’ demands. They include Rupert Harrison, an architect behind chancellor George Osborne’s vicious austerity programme after the 2010 election.

There is Karen Ward, a chief market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management. And there’s Gertjan Vlieghe from the US hedge fund Element Capital. Finally there’s Sushil Wadhwani—chief executive of his own investment firm.

Hunt won’t have to wait to see how the markets react to his policies as Truss did. Their representatives will be in the room with him.

The last week has underlined how the financiers use all their power when they don’t like what a government is doing. They don’t hold back, they don’t worry about what the media think about them, they don’t move at the pace of the slowest.

Our side needs to be equally ruthless against Truss.

The TUC union federation conference this week was expected to pass motions calling for coordinated action by unions over pay and to defend union rights. It’s positive that the pressure from below is so great that even the most hesitant union leaders have to make such noises. But there isn’t a date for such a strike, or a programme to build for it.

Working class people must not be spectators, instead they have to shape what’s happening. Serious resistance now could not only win over the cost of living but drive out Truss’s government, which is rotting on its feet.

That’s why everyone has to build solidarity for the strikes that are happening, try to spread them to more sectors, and then fight to unify them. As the Tories hope to achieve stability on the backs of the working class, we need a fightback by millions.

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