THE CRISIS in the Tory party sharpened over the weekend, as the requirement to dump the economic collapse of British capitalism onto the backs of workers dominated the government.
Last week, Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak made plain his preference for hitting pensions by ending the triple lock guarantee, causing a split with Johnson who is determined to keep it in order to appease elderly Tory voters.
Now, according to a report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, the Treasury is drawing up plans for a raid on pensions in Sunak’s review of public spending due in the Autumn to help pay off the astronomical debt run up to bail out British capitalism during the pandemic.
According to the Telegraph, the plans under consideration involve taxes on pensions for higher rate taxpayers.
This has unleashed a torrent of anger from Tory MPs and voters who believe wholeheartedly that the job of the Tory government is to enrich the wealthy at the expense of the working class.
Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at consultants Lane Clark & Peacock, warned that the changes would hit Tory voters and be politically risky.
He said: ‘If you want 200 more Chesham and Amershams, put together a package like this on pensions tax relief.’
The rapidly emerging split at the top of the Tory Party reflects the moves to dump Johnson, and install a leadership to wage war on the working class.
The Tories have spent £64 billion on the furlough scheme along with £75 billion in fully or partially guaranteed loans to companies and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
1.6 million companies took up these loans, and the latest figures from the Bank of England show that UK companies now have £484 billion in debts.
The accounting firm KPMG is predicting that 8,000 companies in the UK will go bust as furlough and the government-backed loans end in October, throwing millions of workers out on the streets to join the hundreds of thousands who have already lost their jobs.
Indeed, the reason for the statistical ‘mirage’ of an increase in average wages is explained by the loss of these low paid jobs, especially amongst young people, pushing up the average.
With the Tories telling Johnson not to give an inch to the working class and pensioners, the leadership of the trade unions are relying on appeals to Johnson to make fire and rehire wage cutting illegal.
What is clear is that the Tories are getting ready to clear the decks for an all-out class war to force the capitalist crisis onto workers and youth, by driving on with wage cutting and inflicting mass unemployment and poverty on the working class – while the trade union leaders are reduced to begging.
Workers are already rising up against fire and rehire and the compulsory redundancy notices that are beginning to mount up across every sector as the class struggle sharpens to the point of explosion.
The issue of the struggle for power is being posed point blank today in Britain and across Europe, and it is exposing the degeneration of the trade union and labour leadership along with crisis gripping the ruling parties of the bourgeoisie.
This was seen in the weekend’s results in French regional elections where president Macron’s right-wing party was repudiated by voters while the extreme right-wing party of Marine Le Pen received a similar blow despite all predictions of a right-wing upsurge in popularity.
An unprecedented 68% of French voters abstained in a dramatic show of contempt for both.
With both the UK and Europe hit by the world capitalist crisis and drowning in debt, the main issue for the working class is the building of revolutionary parties prepared to lead the rapidly developing struggle to overthrow capitalism and go forward to the United Socialist States of Europe.
This means building the revolutionary leadership of the WRP in Britain and sections of the Fourth International in every country across Europe to take the struggle for socialist revolution to victory.