LEAVING the EU could lead to the break up of the UK, said former Tory leader and former Foreign Secretary, William Hague yesterday.
Since the UK was the foundation from which the industrial revolution led to the rise and rise of British capitalism, Hague is really saying that British capitalism will not be able to survive in a world dominated by the growing world crisis of capitalism if it quits the Union.
His position is all the more remarkable since he is known as a eurosceptic and fought, as the then-Tory leader, the 2001 election campaign on the twin policies of keeping the pound and rejecting the euro and ever closer union.
However, Hague is not on his own. A number of other leading Tories were also lashing out on the issue. On Monday, the former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, the politician who shut down the mining industry, warned of a ‘civil war’ in the Conservative Party if cabinet ministers were given a free vote in the EU referendum – they must be whipped into toeing the party line is his message.
He argued that a free vote would make Cameron a global ‘laughing stock’, and lead to the referendum being lost. The Conservative Party vice-chairman, Mark Field, also criticised calls for ministers to be given a free vote and urged that anyone who was not prepared to back Cameron’s re-negotiation should resign from the government at once.
He also chose to lay the blame for the crisis on the Scottish Nationalists. However, the Scottish Nationalists need the Union now more than ever, since the worldwide collapse of oil and gas prices has shattered any vision that they had of an oil-rich super-Scotland. Quitting the UK would mean having to negotiate terms of entry into the EU as an independent state, with preferential treatment from the crisis-ridden body not guaranteed.
The real problem for the Tories over quitting the EU is that they have been warned by the US administration and its world trade negotiators that what is left of the special relationship between the US and UK, depends on Britain remaining in the EU as a reliable footsoldier of the USA, fighting for US interests.
An additional warning has been that the ending of the special relationship will see Britain locked out of all of the worldwide trade agreements that the US is in the forefront of negotiating. It is the US ruling class, not the SNP, that is threatening to abandon the UK to its fate should it quit the EU.
For the British ruling class, it is therefore the EU or bust. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the rise of British capitalism was associated with piracy to accumulate the resources for the development of capitalism. Today, British capitalism is barely a European power, never mind a world power. It cannot begin again – it is on the rocks.
Today, it is not only the Labour Party that is coming apart at the seams, the Tory party is in the same death throes. The Tory plan for life outside the EU is as a cheap labour, zero-hours contract state, with trade unionism semi-legal, the welfare state smashed and the NHS privatised. This is what the Tories mean by starting up again.
In fact, the growing collapse of the UK bourgeois political parties and the UK capitalist economy contains the clearest possible message. There is only one way forward for the working class of the entire UK. This is through the building up of the revolutionary party, the WRP, to mobilise the masses of the working class and the youth for a socialist revolution to smash British imperialism and bring in a workers government in the UK. This will be part and parcel of the socialist revolution all over the EU.
VOTE NO in the EU Referendum. Organise the British socialist revolution to smash British capitalism, and go forward, shoulder to shoulder with the workers of Europe, to replace the bankers’ and bosses’ EU with the Socialist United States of Europe.