THE DEBATE on the adjournment of Parliament for a month until April 21 took place immediately after the Tory emergency legislation passed though the Commons and Lords yesterday.
From today, Parliament has closed down for at least a month, leaving a Tory government armed with dictatorial powers to do exactly what it wants to do. It is almost certain that when the month is up Parliament will remain suspended indefinitely until such time as the Johnson government decides otherwise.
The reality is that having assumed powers that amount to the imposition of a police state in Britain the Tories will not voluntarily relinquish these powers.
On the contrary, the sweeping nature of the legislation means that it can impose a dictatorship over the working class even after the immediate threat of the coronavirus epidemic has receded.
The ruling class has long dreamed of acquiring the power to dictate to the working class by banning all democratic rights won by workers in over a century of struggle, including the right to strike.
Now, the coronavirus has provided just the ‘national emergency’ that has given it the opportunity to tear up these rights and prepare to launch a full scale class war against workers, backed by the police and army to make sure that it is the working class that pays for capitalism’s crisis.
Already the state is preparing to enforce a police state with the armed forces general staff being instructed to prepare for troops to be put into action on the streets in mid-April.
In an act of monumental betrayal and treachery, the Tory drive towards a police state has been supported by the Labour Party and trade union leadership. The emergency laws were nodded through without Labour calling for any vote.
The same message of capitulation has been repeated by the TUC, with general secretary Francis O’Grady congratulating the Tories, saying: ‘The government took a big and important step last week with wage subsidies for employed workers.’
If anything, O’Grady was upstaged in her support by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who described the measures taken by the Tories in handing billions to industry as ‘historic, bold and very much necessary’.
McCluskey went on to urge the government to work more closely with trade unions in order to get the correct measures in place for working people, saying: ‘The prime minister has asked us all to play our part in the enormous national effort to save lives and beat the Covid-19 virus.’
In a naked call for a corporatist unity, McCluskey said: ‘So I appeal to the prime minister and his government, please work with us in order to keep your promise to do whatever it takes.’ He concluded: ‘Workers need clear direction and protection from government now.’
The general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), Manuel Cortes, even called this week for police to be deployed at all main London railway interchanges to ensure that the passengers are only those providing vital services.
How long before they support army patrols policing working class communities to ensure obedience to Tory laws?
Even the RMT railworkers union, while slamming the Tories for their ‘grossly irresponsible “business as usual” lines from government on London Underground’, called for them to ‘work with the tube unions and the Mayor to protect health, safety, livelihoods and travel services for essential workers.’
So here we have it – it is the Tory government that is the ‘protector’ of the working class, not the unions!
They have surrendered the independence of the unions and opted for a reactionary anti-working class coalition with the Tories and even urged the capitalist state forces to intervene against ordinary workers.
The burning issue of the hour is to remove these leaders and replace them with a new leadership that is not enthralled by the requirements of a bankrupt capitalist class but is prepared to take the working class forward by bringing down the Tories and going forward to a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers and bring in a planned socialist economy. Only the WRP and its youth movement, the Young Socialists, is building the revolutionary leadership to do this job. Workers and youth must join up today.