THE COLLAPSE of the US economy with 10 million US workers losing their jobs in the last two weeks, allied to the already collapsed state of the UK economy, with the Bank of England considering printing hundreds of billions of new notes masquerading as money to try and rescue it, have given the UK ruling class a lot of food for thought.
In this situation, where super-austerity will be required for decades ahead to even attempt to pay back the massive debts, dealing with the working class, which will be fighting for its jobs and wages to feed its families, will be a desperate affair in which the fate of British capitalism will be decided.
The ruling class in its crisis sees the situation as similar to 1939, when British capitalism was fighting for its life against German and then Japanese imperialism.
They got rid of Chamberlain the appeaser, and replaced him with Churchill. But that was not enough, since Churchill was hated by the miners. They needed Attlee and Bevin, the leading Labourites, in their cabinet, in senior positions to see the war through and to convince the working class that the sacrifices that were imposed were necessary.
At the moment, the ruling class have just the untested Johnson, and a coterie of young pretenders.
At such a time of crisis, the UK ruling class turns towards the Labourites, whom Lenin called the labour lieutenants of capitalism.
It is now considering inviting the winner of the Labour leadership election, plus a few others, into the cabinet to help run the campaign to save British capitalism by causing massive confusion about what the government is really up to. They want the Labourites to justify the reactionary policies of the government.
This is why the call has gone up to form a national government, and in particular for the new leader of the Labour Party, to be announced today, to be welcomed into a ‘war cabinet’. The battle cry is for Labour to ‘put aside its class differences’ and form a government of national unity with the Tories.
Ex-Tory party leader William Hague is one of those pushing for a national government. Hague is saying: ‘Really the leader of the opposition is owed explanations from the government about what they’re doing. You probably want the leader of the opposition to have a good understanding of what the bottlenecks are and what the difficulties are. Otherwise he’s going to be putting you under pressure to do things that you can’t do.
‘So it’s in the government’s interest as well as in democracy’s interest for that sort of meeting and discussion to take place.’
Meanwhile, leaders of some of the biggest trade unions, the BMA, RCN, Unite and Unison, are also calling on the government to ‘unleash a national effort to produce protective equipment’.
The union leaders are desperate to work with the Tories and boast of their role in negotiating 80% pay for ‘furloughed workers’. For their part, the Tories made a point of especially thanking the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for its role in assisting the government in that task.
With PM Johnson in self-isolation for an extended period, feigning sickness, moves are underway to either stiffen Johnson up or bring a Churchill-type figure into the cabinet, if such a figure can be found, and to team him up with whoever wins the Labour leadership battle in a national unity government.
The scene has been set for a ‘government of national unity’ with the media full of comparisons with the Second World War where the PM at the time, Chamberlain, was pushed aside to make way for Churchill, who formed a national government with the Labour leader of the time, Clement Attlee. However, this is not the Second World War.
It took the working class until 1945 to end the coalition and force the election of a Labour government led by Attlee and Bevan, that saw Churchill ‘the great war hero’ defeated and Labour returned to government on the crest of a revolutionary wave that brought in the NHS and nationalised much of industry.
This time round there must be no wasted years of ‘national government’ to save capitalism. Workers must force the TUC to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism. Join the WRP now to carry out this perspective. Forward to Socialism!