British capitalism is breaking apart


THE one clear message that emerged from Cameron’s speech yesterday was that the political representatives of the capitalist class in Britain have given up on holding the United Kingdom together, and are so desperate that they are seeking to keep going by breaking it apart and retreating back to an English parliament, with English votes for English people.

Cameron was speaking at the launch of the Tory ‘English manifesto’ where he pledged ‘English votes for English laws’.

Cameron went out of his way to deny that the Tories were proposing to implement the complete break-up of the UK saying: ‘We do not support English nationalists, we do not want an English Parliament, we are the Conservative and Unionist Party through and through.’

Cameron is lying through his teeth – this is precisely what the Tories, representing a whole section of British capitalism, are now being driven towards, by their acute weakness.

Moving towards separate parliaments in England, Scotland and Wales, each voting on their own laws from taxation right the way through to health services and education and welfare provision, is the beginning of the end for British capitalism.

The unspoken truth behind this reactionary move, is the calculation by the Tories and the ruling class that England has its stranglehold on about 80% of the wealth of the country – mainly concentrated in the financial sector based in London – so Scotland and Wales can be cut off and left to sink.

The bourgeois press have quickly identified this move by Cameron as a desperate ploy to rally behind the Tories all the right-wing nationalists in the country grouped around UKIP.

While this may be true on the surface, behind it is a much more fundamental question than winning votes off Farage.

The political calculation made by the Tories is that so hated are they by the working class – demonstrated in last year’s referendum vote in Scotland – that their only chance of hanging on to power lies in the creation of an English parliament.

Then, even if Labour has a majority across the country, the Tories will still rule through having a majority of English MPs.

But even more than this, the move to begin to break-up the United Kingdom is a recognition by the bourgeoisie that the game is up for British capitalism – that despite all the claims to economic recovery they are being suffocated by a mountain of debt run up bailing out bankrupt banks.

The only way out they can see is to break up the union, and retreat to their perceived stronghold of England, from which they can wage an all out war against the working class to make it pay for the crisis through the most savage austerity cuts and privatisations.

This represents an historic collapse of the country where capitalism began, that was once the most powerful capitalist nation in the world – a country that in its imperial heyday ruled most of the known world.

British capitalism owed its pre-eminent position to the creation of the modern capitalist state which developed out of the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707.

The centralisation of the United Kingdom was a tremendous historical step forward for capitalism and laid the foundations for the rapid development of Great Britain into the most powerful capitalist nation in the world – far in advance of its future capitalist rivals like Germany, split up by medieval disunity.

Today, British capitalism has declined to such an extent – it has no productive industry to speak of and relies almost exclusively on a banking and financial system that is bankrupt and set to collapse under its massive indebtedness – the Tory proposals represent a British capitalist system that has given up on its own future and is beginning to disintegrate.

The inescapable fact is that British capitalism is so weak and bankrupt today that smashing up all that was once progressive is seen as its only means of survival.

For the working class the only way forward from this debacle is to put an end to capitalism, and for the working class of Wales, Scotland and England to unite in a socialist revolution, to smash the remnants of British capitalism, to go forward to socialism and a British workers republic, that will be part of a Socialist United States of Europe.