THE TORIES have exceeded all previous borrowing records, taking the British bosses’ national debt to its highest level ever since records began, reaching £2.3tn. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already made it crystal clear that the government’s priority is to ‘balance the books’.
In other words, they intend to claw back every single penny of the debt off the backs of the working class. Yesterday, that process got well underway with a leaked declaration of war that 5.5 million public sector workers in England face a three-year pay freeze.
Economists from the Centre for Policy Studies say that a pay freeze would ‘save’ £3.8bn in the first year, £7.7bn in the second year and £11.6bn in the third, £23bn in total – a drop in the ocean compared to the £2.3tn of debt. However, even to get this far they will have to reward health workers who have battled against the virus by robbing them of £8bn!
In fact, a public sector pay freeze will be just one of the many weapons the Tories will use against the working class to make them pay for the crisis. Other measures, no doubt, will include tax hikes, pay cuts, mass sackings, benefits and council services axed and attacking the Triple Lock pension. For the youth, there is only one prospect under capitalism – mass unemployment – and only one way out, revolution!
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out his Spending Review next week, giving details of how much money will be allocated during the 2020-21 financial year. He says that there must be ‘parity between public and private pay’. This means parity downward, to reduce public sector workers’ pay to that of zero-hours non-unionised labour.
His Spending Review will be no less than a declaration of war on the working class. And it’s war at home and war abroad. With such a prospect directly ahead there has been a massive government pledge to the military of £16.5bn more of military spending.
At the same time as there are to be vast cuts to pay, conditions and the standard of living of the working class, there is an abundance of extra cash for the military – a giant sweetener!
Tory PM Johnson on Thursday announced an increase in defence spending worth £16.5bn in new money over four years. In 2020-2021, the UK Defence Ministry already had a budget of almost £41.5bn. The extra cash brings the annual spending on the military to £45bn a year, or 2.2% of the entire budget.
Johnson pledged to end defence budget cuts, protect shipping lanes that supply the country, press on with renewing the UK’s nuclear deterrent and restore Britain as ‘the foremost naval power in Europe’ with a ‘renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK’.
And who are these foreign enemies that the British rulers have to arm themselves to the teeth to apprehend? They are the Russian and Chinese revolutions that have shown the world that no section of workers has to put up with capitalism, when the working class has the power to overthrow it and bring in world socialism and planned production on a world scale, not to make billions for the few but to provide the basis for satisfying the requirements of the working people of the world.
The sharpening class struggle throughout the capitalist world shows once again that the enemy of the working class is at home, and that there will be no peace until capitalism and imperialism are overthrown and replaced by world socialism.
In the UK, the bosses know that the measures the Tories are going to enforce to claw their debt back will provoke mass actions, strikes and a general strike. This is why there is unlimited cash for the military, the backbone of the capitalist state.
There are also moves to prepare the way for a national government, around which all of the forces of counterrevolution will gather.
This is why there is a drive to clear all socialists out of the Labour Party, starting with Corbyn, so that Starmer, the current ‘Labour leader’ and ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, can realise his potential by forming a government of national unity with the Tories to lead the fight against the working class.
It is in this situation that the real crisis of leadership of the working class stands out in the clearest outline. The working class does not have the leadership it deserves to lead a successful struggle for workers’ power. The TUC leaders are part and parcel of the capitalist system, and are incapable of fighting it.
Only the WRP is building the necessary revolutionary leadership. We urge all workers and youth to join the WRP, to get ready to lead the British socialist revolution.