AFTER weeks of near silence, Boris Johnson finally emerged yesterday to launch his campaign for the leadership of the Tory party and replace May as Prime Minister.
From the outset of his speech, Johnson made it quite clear that he is ‘not aiming for a no-deal outcome’. Instead, he held up the prospect of ‘no-deal’ as nothing more than a ‘vital tool of negotiation’ and that the UK ‘must do better than the current withdrawal agreement’.
Behind all the bluster and bravado of Johnson the simple truth is that he is as weak as the rest of the Tory leadership when it comes to carrying out the decision of the 2016 referendum to leave the EU.
Indeed, he comes over as weaker even than Theresa May, who famously insisted at the start of negotiations three years ago that ‘No deal means no deal.’ No such clarion call from Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to replace her.
Instead, Johnson’s position is closer to that of another Tory contender, Michael Gove, who has also pledged to use no-deal as a threat to secure a better deal than the one rejected; the only difference being that Gove has stated his willingness to seek an even longer extension to the deadline.
The idea that the EU negotiators will be so overawed by a Johnson-led government that they will cave in and make any concessions to the rotten agreement May was able to secure is laughable.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has consistently warned that there can be no more re-negotiations on May’s deal, a deal which has three times been thrown out by a parliament that has an overwhelming majority of MPs determined to scupper Brexit and remain in the EU.
Johnson is a past master at opportunism. He admitted that he only jumped on the ‘Leave’ campaign in 2016 at the very last moment and that, for all his opposition to May’s deal along with Gove, he voted for it eventually. This is a measure of Johnson’s great commitment to Brexit!
While Johnson waffled and prevaricated about Brexit, sounding more pro-EU than even other Tory candidates, saying that not enough has been done to promote ‘a new Europeanism’, he was absolutely clear about one thing, namely his undying commitment to capitalism.
He went out of his way to extol ‘free market capitalism’ and his ‘championing of wealth creators’, specifically the banks and financial sectors in the City of London – the very class forces that have dictated years of austerity for the working class and forced millions into the status of working poor reliant on food banks just to survive.
The greatest danger for Johnson is the prospect of a Corbyn-led Labour government and he promised to do anything to ‘stop the government of the UK passing into the hands of Labour, who have disdain for wealth creation’.
In fact, the Labour Party under Corbyn is doing its best to rescue British capitalism from Brexit with a plan to place before parliament on June 25 a motion that would make it illegal for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October.
This motion has the support of Tory MPs. 80 Tories have voted in the past against a no-deal Brexit and indicated their support for Labour’s motion which would make it illegal.
To the everlasting shame of Corbyn and the Labour leadership, they are attempting to overturn the democratic vote of millions of working people to break with the EU with no deal and making common cause with Tories who are determined to prop up a bankrupt capitalist system by dumping its crisis on the backs of working people.
The working class must prepare for the betrayal of the referendum decision being plotted by Johnson and the Tories aided and abetted by the treachery of the Labour leadership.
Workers must organise to force Brexit through by demanding the trade unions call a general strike on October 31 to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will break with the EU and advance to socialism.