THE Tory Party annual conference ended on Wednesday with Sunak announcing he was cancelling the Northern leg of HS2 rail network – something that everyone in the country has known for the past two weeks.
‘The facts have changed,’ Sunak declared when he justified this decision to scrap what had been the Tory flagship policy for levelling up and ‘growing the economy’ for the past 13 years.
The HS2 rail link between the northern regions, the industrial heartlands that in the past provided the productive forces that made British capitalism the great imperialist power in the 19th century, would drive the country forward into a new era of industrial wealth, the Tories claimed.
Now that has been unceremoniously junked by Sunak in a massive admission that British capitalism is bankrupt, that the productive forces of the country have been destroyed.
Margaret Thatcher spelt this out when as Prime Minister in the 1980s, she declared that British industry was finished and the future was in the hands of the bankers and financial speculators.
The bankers and speculators produce no real value, in a world where billions are made through debt and money printing, only to disappear in bankruptcies and banking collapse.
The changing facts that Sunak alluded to in his speech are simply the fact that British capitalism is bust and has reached the end of the road.
Instead of a high-speed rail, Sunak is promising to use the money saved in some glorified bus replacement service for the cities and towns in the north.
The reality behind all of Sunak’s announcement was spelt out by a Daily Telegraph article welcoming the cancellation of HS2 rail link headed: ‘A new financial crisis is upon us – and our political class can no longer lie.’
Defending Sunak’s decision to slash hundreds of thousands of jobs and leave northern regions to sink even further, the article, by Allister Heath, sums up the situation saying: ‘Sunak is protecting Britain against the impending global disaster facing profligate governments.’
The impending global disaster facing Britain, the US and Europe is being driven by the huge increases in the rate of inflation, inflation that the central banks have been unable to contain despite all the increases in interest rates.
These increases have driven up the cost to governments of making interest payments to the financial markets, who buy government bonds to finance government spending. Today, Heath says, the ‘bond market vigilantes’ are back with a vengeance.
These are the international financiers who dump government bonds when it becomes clear that governments have piled up such a debt mountain that they are unable to repay the interest.
When Liz Truss, during her disastrous stint as Prime Minister, promised billions in unfunded tax cuts to the rich paid for by more debt, these bond market vigilantes dumped UK bonds in a fire-sale that crashed the pound. Truss was kicked out to appease the real masters of UK capitalism – the bankers and speculators.
Now Sunak is distancing himself from Truss by posing as the leader who will cut all unnecessary expenditure as directed by the world’s bankers.
It won’t stop at HS2, the already miniscule investment in industry and the vital infrastructure it relies on will end – along with all spending on health, education, pensions, benefits and all the social welfare provisions for the working class.
As Heath writes in his article: ‘Welcome to Austerity Mark II, Manchester school variant.’
While Sunak announced the end of the dream of bankrupt British capitalism ‘growing its way’ out of recession, the TUC is still clinging to the same delusion when it set out, before the Tory conference, proposals for an ‘invest in our future’ programme, with a call for a US-style ‘Biden plan’.
The TUC is oblivious of the fact that the US is currently in a state of political and economic meltdown with the ongoing threat of the US government closing down over the increases in the national debt ceiling that Biden is demanding for the war on workers at home and to finance the imperialist war against Russia in the Ukraine.
The TUC must end its cowardly refusal to act and be forced to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and a socialist planned economy. Putting an end to capitalism is the only way forward for the working class!