IN HIS INTERVIEW with the Spectator magazine Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak made it quite clear that in the New Year there will have to be a settlement of accounts with the working class, as bankrupt British capitalism can no longer afford to run up massive state debts.
Government borrowing, Sunak insisted, is ‘clearly not sustainable’ and all the massive UK public debt will have to be paid off by the working class through savage austerity cuts to pay, benefits and public services.
On Sunday the general secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, gave her own interview to the on-line Labour List in which she spelled out the treacherous fawning relationship that exists between the TUC leaders and the Tories.
Asked about her relationship with Sunak she said: ‘As trade unionists, we’re trained to look for good faith relationships. Where, even if you don’t like what the other person is saying, there’s mutual respect, you meet on equal terms, you get a chance to put your case. I would say that Rishi Sunak responded with good faith at the very beginning.’
She praised Sunak for being ‘prepared to listen’ to the TUC when he brought in the furlough scheme, although she has been a bit disappointed with him since then saying: ‘What we’ve seen since is it feels like the Chancellor is having a bit of a struggle with himself.’
O’Grady is ‘disappointed’ that Sunak dropped any pretence of good faith when last month he announced a pay cut for public sector workers through a wage freeze but, she insisted, all is not lost and: ‘There’s still time for the Chancellor to change his mind on that.’
Sunak is not struggling with himself. The Tories were forced to implement the furlough scheme for the reason that they were terrified that millions of workers sent home without pay would lead to a revolutionary explosion of anger on the streets.
In the first seven months of the financial year they borrowed a staggering £215 billion to bail out British capitalism from its crisis and this, Sunak has made clear, is going to have to be paid back.
O’Grady is completely silent on this preferring to insist that Sunak, the ex-merchant banker and hedge fund operator, is a reasonable person who can be persuaded to change his mind by appeals from the TUC.
O’Grady made the position of the TUC absolutely clear saying: ‘It doesn’t matter who’s in government, our job as the trade union movement is to present our case, to look for a fair hearing and to secure jobs and livelihoods for working people. That’s what we do.’
In fact, what the TUC have done throughout this crisis is to suck up to the Tories and Sunak putting all their faith in them giving workers a fair hearing.
That is what the TUC bureaucrats are trained to do, to work full out in this crisis to hold back the anger of the working class while attempting to curry favour with a Tory government that is preparing to unleash a vicious class war against workers and their families to save the profits of the bankers and bosses.
The trade union movement was not built through the enormous sacrifices of generations of workers in order to gain a ‘fair hearing’ from the bosses and their government – they were built as fighting organisations in the struggle to defend workers against the attacks of the capitalist class.
With Sunak promising a class war in which the full might of the capitalist state will be brought down to impose mass unemployment and poverty on millions of workers to pay off British capitalism’s unsustainable debt mountain these TUC leaders refuse to fight, and are only offering collaboration with the Tories to rescue bankrupt capitalism.
These leaders must be thrown out of the movement and replaced with a leadership that will not collaborate with the Tories but mobilise the strength of the working class in a general strike to kick them out and replace them with a workers’ government and socialism.
Only the WRP is building the leadership required to take the working class forward to power – join today, there is not a moment to lose.