THE Attorney General – the same official who ruled after much equivocation that the war with Iraq was legal – on Thursday told the House of Commons that ‘it has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest.’
He was referring to the fact that the investigation into whether alleged illegal and corrupt payments had been made by BAE Systems to elements of the Saudi royal family could not be balanced with the much more important issues of preserving their profits through avoiding the cancellation of a contract for 72 strike fighters, and maintaining oil rich Saudi Arabia’s support for Britain’s foreign policy in the Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Iran.
For the capitalist ruling class, maintaining its profits and its relations with oil rich Saudi Arabia were always much more important than any rule of law. This is now the declared view of the Labour government.
So when the Saudi Royal family gave the British government 10 days to quash the Scotland Yard inquiry, it was quashed, in the interests of profit and the future of British capitalism, and to hell with maintaining the law.
The same process was at work at the time of the Attorney General’s Iraq war dilemma.
He began with the view that the war could well be illegal and criminal, but this respect for the law was dumped when it could not be brought into balance with the value of Iraq’s oil wealth to the British bourgeoisie.
The basic law of the capitalist ruling class is the maximisation of its profits at all times, a law that is primary to all legal, religious or ethical considerations.
This is the universal and only real law of capitalism. The March 2003 attack on Iraq, or the decision to allow corruption to flourish in relation to Saudi Arabia, are no exceptions to the rule, they are the rule.
The same rule also functions in the relations between the ruling class and the working class in Britain.
Innocent until proven guilty and the primacy of trial by jury belong to another age, as far as Blair and the gangs of venture capitalists that he so admires are concerned.
In a period of capitalist crisis bourgeois democratic law is being overthrown and replaced by reaction and shoot to kill, as the capitalist class drives forward to undercut wages with contract labour, abolish the NHS with privatisation, end free state education, and try, in a few years to throw back the working class a century, all in the interests of maximising profit with law as some kind of red tape that needs abolishing.
In this climate, a state apparatus is needed that expresses this savagery in the relations between the classes.
This is expressed most clearly in the relations between the police and the working class.
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head as he was being held down by armed police. He was completely innocent.
No police officer has been brought to trial for killing an innocent man. No commander of the police has stood trial for instructing officers to murder an innocent man.
In fact, they are all back on the job and some are being promoted. The reason for this promotion instead of demotion or jailing is that in principle they did what was required of them by the ruling class, and such men will be required in the near future, when the working class rises up against its oppressors.
The message is that law is secondary, the interests of the ruling class are primary and above the law.
The Attorney General has spelt this out clearly in the last few days.
He insisted that the profits of the ruling class and its security come first, while maintaining the law is secondary, and can be ignored when the state is faced with defending the profits and security of the rich.
Workers will not forget the class law that the Attorney General has spelt out, namely that securing the profits of the ruling class is the only law that matters. Their reply must be a socialist revolution.