THE QUEEN dropped by Westminster on her way to Ascot races yesterday morning to spend 20 minutes outlining the Theresa May minority Tory government’s legislative programme.
All the key Tory Party manifesto pledges on the dementia tax, restoring grammar schools and foxhunting, along with ending the triple lock on pensions, were dropped. By dropping every one of her manifesto pledges, May is attempting to cling on to power by trying to get a blank cheque not just for the next year of parliament but for the next two years.
That May and the Tories are forced to take such steps is a sign of the terminal weakness of her government – a government with no overall majority, no legitimacy and which hopes to cling on with the support of ten DUP MPs.
May was likened by one Tory minister to a ‘wounded antelope’. A more accurate description of her and the Tories is that of a very sick dog desperately trying to put off the inevitability of being put out of its misery by a vet.
Some measures the Tories are intent upon introducing did get a mention in the speech especially the commitment to review counter-terrorism laws and to establish a new statutory anti-extremism commission.
Of course, the Tory definition of ‘extremism’ is very wide indeed. During the election campaign Jeremy Corbyn was frequently labelled an extremist. In fact, for the Tories, all those workers and their unions who fight against austerity and poverty are extremists who will have to be dealt with.
For what was also clear is that there will be no let-up in austerity and that the policy of tax cuts for the rich and corporations will continue while nothing is offered to workers and the poor except more and more misery.
As for the victims of the Grenfell Tower inferno, all they got was a promise of a public inquiry and the vague promise to be housed ‘as close as practically possible’ to where they lived before.
By concentrating so much on Brexit negotiations, May is walking a very thin tightrope between the forces that are tearing the Tories apart.
By dropping the slogan ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ over leaving the EU, she is bending towards the section of the Tory party and the capitalist class terrified of leaving the European Union, leaving an incredibly weak British capitalist system to sink on its own.
But also this move by May towards what is called a ‘soft Brexit’, which will cause splits with the hardline Brexiteers of her party, also raises the prospect of winning support from the right wing of the Labour Party.
34 right-wing Labour MPs sent a letter this week demanding Corbyn changes Labour Party policy and fight along with May to stay in the single market. Indeed, one right winger went even further. Interviewed immediately after the Queen’s Speech, Labour MP Mary Creagh stated that ‘the Labour Party’s position is to remain in the European Union.’
That is not the position that the Labour Party fought the election on and which won the overwhelming support of workers and young people, but it is the position of these right-wingers who are only too willing to enter into some broad-based pro-EU movement of LibDems and others to keep the dead dog of the Tory party nailed upright.
Corbyn has pledged Labour will submit numerous amendments to the Tory plans that, if passed in the vote due next week, will trigger a motion of no confidence in the minority May government and bring it down. He must also act against the fifth column within the ranks of Labour MPs who are prepared to keep May in power.
The mass march in London called for July 1 must be supported by the trade unions and millions of workers mobilised to demand the Tories be driven out of office. If they refuse to leave, then the trade unions must call a general strike to bring them down and bring in a workers government that will break with the EU and carry out socialist policies including the fight for the creation of a United Socialist States of Europe.