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Tory crisis must be a call to action for the left

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Issue 2789

Anti-Tory protests earlier this month

The Tory crisis should be the gift that keeps on giving to the Labour Party, the left, the trade unions, and everyone who hates the Tories.
Every fresh revelation of yet another Downing Street party is another opportunity to put the boot in. Yet Labour just won’t accept the gift. Its leader Keir Starmer is nowhere to be seen.  And its leading politicians are so careful not to go too hard they seem scared of their own shadows.
In a BBC interview on Tuesday, Labour’s chosen spokesperson MP David Lammy wouldn’t even say if he thought Boris Johnson’s birthday party was a party.
For Labour, the big scandal is not that the Tories partied while many ordinary people were still separated from their families.  It’s that the revelations are a distraction from the government’s warmongering in Ukraine.
The consequence of all this is that Labour is now frightened that, when Johnson does go, the Tories will recover. One anonymous Labour shadow minister told the LabourList website they want to keep Johnson in place for as long as possible.
“It’s a nice and unusual feeling to be ahead of the polls,” they said. “I suspect it may evaporate once Johnson goes.”
The solution to this is to turn Johnson’s crisis into a crisis for the whole of the Tory party. But Labour is frightened to do that.
It would mean hammering away at how the Tories put the interests of big business ahead of the lives of ordinary people.
And just as bosses are pushing up prices to protect their profits, the Tories plan to hit us with a national insurance increase and a massive rise in energy bills.
Labour insisted on supporting the Tories throughout the pandemic because it also wants to prove itself the friend of big business. 
So Labour won’t attack the bosses for jacking up the cost of living.  And it won’t oppose lifting the energy price cap because it doesn’t want to upset the Big Six energy companies. 
All of this means that, amid the biggest crisis for the Tories—and the system—in years, the left isn’t playing a part.  The working class are left as spectators. 
The trade union leaders that could do something about this take their cue from Labour. 
They could organise the mass demonstrations and strikes that could make the Tories’ crisis about much more than birthday parties. But they would rather sit on their hands and wait for a Labour government.
In reality, that means waiting for a Labour government that won’t do much for working class people either. We need more resistance urgently. Anything else means giving the Tories’ gift back to them.

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