US and World Politics

It’s Class War!

A report on the worsening conditions of the working class in the UK

By John Blackburn

The illusion is being shattered. The charade is over. All the modernization of the Tory party in recent years—“politically correct,” anti-racist, LGBTQ friendly, promoting women, “...the National Health Service is safe in our hands”—has been a necessary smoke screen for true Tory ideology and program. There would have been no Coalition or May government had the Tories gone to the polls with a traditional Thatcherite manifesto. Too many people now reject that ideology. However, behind the modernist façade they have continued to carry out the Thatcherite program bequeathed to them fundamentally unchanged from Blair and Brown. The privatization and selling off of public services at knock-down prices to their allies and financiers in big business has continued unabated.

The current Tories are all Thatcher’s children and hate the working class, its organizations and achievements with the same venom. Thatcher hated the NHS so much that she refused to have a minor operation in University College Hospital in London but had the equipment needed removed from there to a private hospital at our considerable expense. Unfortunately for the Tories this living example of socialist ideology has entrenched itself in British society and many Tory voters, too, would rebel against an outright attempt to destroy the NHS. It is being done though, continuously and generally without the public’s knowledge.

The National Health Service is not just an institution it is a concept—the concept that all people should be treated equally and freely irrespective of their background or condition. It is a socialist concept and utterly abhorrent to capitalists and their Tory representatives. In Parliament every Tory MP voted against the establishment of the NHS because, at its root, it challenges the fundamental concepts of their ideology that there are a few people who are better than all of the others. We are menials who are fodder for industry and the battlefield. To them our lives are meaningless and expendable. As one senior Tory put it recently “We keep just enough of the masses content to prevent revolution.” While they enrich themselves and their big business supporters. “It is he who pays the piper calls the tune.” The extent of this is criminal. Government contracts to G4S (a British multinational security services company) who have a multitude of failings and even fraud yet continue to get government contracts and tax payers’ money. May’s husband is a director of G4S. Tories cry aloud about “Tax-payers money.” Yet in government they facilitate a myriad of tax avoiding schemes while profligate with the money they control (Grayling’s £12 million to a non-shipping company owned by Tory friends, Boris Johnson’s salary, more than £20 million for Trump’s three-day visit.)

Brexit has produced the greatest political crisis in the UK since WWII. All major parties are in various stages of turmoil with splits and realignments both inside and outside Parliament. There is also polarization. The reactionary Tory politicians having seized on the 52 percent vote for Brexit as a mandate and without having to go back to the electorate have carried out a virtual coup d’etat. Teresa May abdicated, knowing that she was effectively handing the premiership to Johnson, a liar and incompetent, who she had had to sack. Was this her final act of vengeance on the British people for humiliating her last year? (I have nothing but contempt for people who cry tears of self-pity in public. She and her husband will still be millionaires whatever happens.) Or was she just true to her Tory convictions—“Rather the right-wing megalomaniac Johnson than Corbyn.”

The Tories’ outlook

What hasn’t changed are the principles of the Thatcherite ideology which are the essential outlook of the majority of the Tory members and its financiers. Thatcher was a racist, a homophobe (Clause 28—was part of the Local Government Act in 1988 that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and in Britain’s schools,) a friend of reactionaries (Pinochet,) and herself a reactionary and vindictively anti-working class. If one needs to consider Thatcher’s attitude to the working class and poor one particular action shows her true nature—she ordered the sinking of the Argentinian ship the Belgrano causing over 300 young conscripts to lose their lives. It was an act of mass murder and a war crime. And that is how I will always remember her. Her attitude at home was fundamentally the same with her despicable description of coal miners as “The enemy within.” The battle of Orgreave is an example but there were many more during the miners’ strike of the forces of the state, the police, other goons and even soldiers let loose with impunity to attack miners on the picket lines, in their clubs and many even had their homes mashed up. During WWII miners were so important to the war effort that one-in-ten conscripts from 1943, onwards, the “Bevan Boys,” were sent to work in the coalmines. Far from being the enemy within, their work was essential for the maintenance of industrial production and the eventual victory over the Nazis. Some surviving Bevan Boys were on strike in 1983.

Our sacrifices and contributions mean nothing to the Tory establishment.

By the ’90s and 2000s many of the racist and homophobic views were no longer acceptable to many voters, so for opportunistic electoral purposes the Tories “modernized”—a change in tactics not principles. Tory MPs representing the safest, mainly rural constituencies could, by and large, continue to express their traditional right wing and reactionary views. To the many metropolitan voters who were needed if the Tories were to form a government, a more liberal, caring, anti-racist, LGBTQ-friendly, environmentally-conscious emblem was needed to cover their real intentions. May’s government and Tory controlled Kensington and Chelsea council’s response to the Grenfeld Tower tragedy and the Windrush scandal expose the true nature of Tory politics.

Class war?

We have been told by Labor, Tory and Liberal politicians that “class war” was a thing of the past. Britain was now a meritocracy where ability, not birth or wealth, would determine your future. That deception is now on its last legs. Over 40 years the gains in standard of living and quality of life for working class people has been systematically destroyed while sections of the middle class have been proletarianized as Marx predicted. The Labor Party’s social democratic project is the Parliamentary route, with the continual improvements in standards of living and education over time will lead to socialism and will show that there is no need for revolutionary change—evolution not revolution. Over 200 years of progress has been brushed aside in a few decades with mass poverty and social deprivation in the formerly rich industrial towns and cities all over the country.

The probability is that Boris Johnson will become our next prime minister. Just over 100,000 Tory party members will decide. Where is the democracy in that?

That this racist, homophobic, misogynistic, reactionary liar has been selected as an MP let alone having held various cabinet positions reveals the real attitudes of the Tory party membership, their contempt for the mass of British people and the degeneration of British politics. This despicable, incompetent who rode roughshod over the London Assembly when mayor, would have used water-cannon on demonstrators, will soon have all the powers of the state at his command. Johnson, who should never hold any public office in a civilized society, considers those who are not of his class “Oinks.” He has already raised his anti working class banner—he will give £40 billion of tax money to those already earning £50,000 or more (which of course includes all MPs) and that money will be taken from programs and institutions that benefit the working class, the sick and the poor.

That he has Trump’s endorsement should sound the alarm. Trump has already said that the NHS will be included in any trade deal after Brexit. Johnson and his cohort of appeasers are not going to defend the NHS from Trump’s carpetbaggers. They are more likely to open the door, put out the red carpet and carry their bags for them.

The other candidates for the Tory leadership are all now vying to show that they are more right wing and harder than the others. Sajid Javid behaves typically like any new convert to a religion. He carries out all the rituals and obligations with more vigor than those born into it, hoping to convince the Tory faithful of his devotion and that he is as tough and right wing as any of them. Still he was not welcome at Trump’s London do. No brown skins or Muslims, for him, Boris is the real deal.

Nazi example

In the 1933 election in Germany the Nazis did not stand on a program of ending elections, banning opposition political parties and trades unions, of building concentration camps and the mass extermination of the Jews or total war. But once in power that is what they did do. Johnson as prime minister could declare a state of emergency over Brexit—suspend parliament and elections and rule as the upper class autocrat that he believes that he should be. (Will he make Nigel Farage1 a peer, take him into the cabinet and Privy Council making us all subject to the tyrannical rule of the Johnson-Farage Axis?)

It is class war and we must organize and prepare to win.

We need a mass United Front to stop Johnson’s coup!

We need a program of real measures that are in the interest of the working class, the poor, the disposed and impoverished middle class.

  • Full employment.
  • Free universal education.
  • Free national health service to be maintained.
  • Nationalize the land.
  • Nationalize the banks and run them to stimulate the economy.
  • Nationalize all public transport. Free public transport.
  • Nationalize all utilities.
  • Reduced retirement age.
  • Longer holidays.
  • A military veterans charter—jobs, education, housing and all the medical support necessary.
  • We need leaders who will be as fearlessly determined and ruthless in enacting measures that are in the interest of the working class and the poor that the Tories and Blairites have for the rich for the last four decades.

We need a socialist revolution to take back what is ours and build a humane society.

1 “Nigel Farage Is the Most Dangerous Man in Britain,” By Richard Seymour