THE TORY government has caved in to EU demands and agreed to pay a whopping ‘divorce’ bill that is estimated to be £50 billion.
EU officials briefed the press that the UK government had agreed that it would honour its share of the EU’s unpaid bills, loans and other liabilities run up over the years of Britain’s membership. This includes commitments made by the previous Cameron government to fund projects not even started yet, liabilities that stretch decades into the future.
All of Theresa May’s cabinet, including the most ardent Leave campaigners, threw in the towel and buckled under the threat that a weak British capitalist system would be cast adrift to sink on its own if it didn’t pay up. Instead, they have opted to try and buy their way into a second-rate single market deal with the EU.
What has characterised the whole process of negotiations is the complete collapse of the Tories in the face of threats from the bankers and bureaucrats, so desperate are they to cling on to the sinking ship that is the EU.
From the outset it has been clear that the entire strategy of the EU has been to ‘punish’ the British working class for defying their political and trade union leaders by voting to leave. Their motivation is clear, the referendum result was a huge blow to the EU, it represented a mass movement against capitalist austerity, a movement that is emerging in a revolutionary way in every country across Europe, threatening all the old bourgeois parties.
The EU has used its ‘negotiations’ with a crumbling Tory government to try and discipline workers throughout the continent. Now, May and the Tories have thrown in the towel and meekly submitted to paying the huge sum demanded with the possibility of even more in the future.
The Tories have admitted that the UK is not legally obliged to pay these EU bills; instead, May has said that Britain has a ‘moral’ obligation to cough up £50 billion. No such moral obligation exists when it comes to finding money for the NHS or welfare benefits or public sector pay.
There is no money for workers and the welfare state, just never-ending austerity cuts to pay off the huge debts run up by bailing out the banks and a bankrupt British capitalist system. When news of the Tories agreeing to pay up broke, the pound shot up in value as the currency speculators and financiers rejoiced that British capitalism had been whipped back into line.
In the same week that the Tories agreed to stump up £50 billion to the bankers and bosses of Europe, it was revealed yesterday that NHS leaders were meeting to discuss cutting services, increasing waiting times for patient treatment and increasing NHS rationing after the recent budget which gave less than half of the £4 billion extra funding NHS England had asked for as an absolute minimum.
At the same time, Tory health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has unveiled his plans to introduce ‘productivity’ for NHS workers who have seen their wages slashed by zero increases or wage-capped for the past ten years. Of course, the outrage workers will feel at seeing vast sums handed over to the EU will be seized upon by the right wing of the Labour Party and TUC to bolster their campaign to overturn the referendum result and keep British workers tied to the EU and tied to permanent austerity.
The working class and the middle class who voted overwhelmingly to get out of the EU must act to stop this weak Tory government capitulating to the EU and to the plots to overturn the referendum result.
The Tories must be removed by a mass campaign of strike action, a general strike to kick them out and bring in a workers government that will repudiate all the deals and promises made in the past and break with the EU immediately with no compensation. A workers government will advance to a socialist Britain that will join with the working people of Europe in the struggle to smash the EU and replace it with a Socialist United States of Europe.