Tory split deepens as demand to end ‘health and safety authoritarianism’ grows

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THE CRISIS gripping the British ruling class is being directly reflected in the splits that are tearing the Tory Party apart over how to keep capitalism from collapse under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

These splits are now being played out in public and in the pages of the Tory-supporting Daily Telegraph newspaper.

On Saturday, the Telegraph printed an editorial originally under the heading: ‘Tories must fight these crazy new lockdown rules,’ while in later editions this heading was changed to the less strident attack on Johnson: ‘The Tories must fight to save Christmas.’

But a change of heading can’t disguise the fact that the editorial line being pursued is an attack on prime minister Boris Johnson’s policy of local lockdowns which it describes as ‘draconian but patchy’, adding ‘they are doing damage to the economy but No 10 still wants to keep life as normal as it can’.

Pointing to Scotland, which has increased lockdown measures after an increase in Covid-19 deaths, the Telegraph states the problem as being: ‘If deaths go down, it is taken as proof that it works; if deaths go up, then it is the cue for more intervention.’

More interventions is precisely what the Telegraph editorial is against and this is the position that is emerging sharply within the Tory Party that opposes Johnson’s half-hearted attempt to contain the pandemic and wants to go all out for the reopening of the economy to save British capitalism.

The Labour-run Welsh administration is attacked for being ‘possessed by the spirit of Oliver Cromwell’ for implementing a two-week ‘fire-break’ to try and hold back the huge increase in Covid-19 deaths in Wales.

As for the Welsh authority saying: ‘Our police forces have been given powers and they will use them’ to enforce the lockdown, the Telegraph indignantly denounced it as ‘sinister’.

The editorial ends with a stirring call for the Tories to rise up against Johnson and his local lockdown policy, although naturally it is posed as a demand on him to change rather than get out immediately.

It states: ‘Boris Johnson should rule out an East German-style Christmas and set returning to normal as much as possible as his central goal, and let all policy flow from that. What, after all, is the point of living if not to enjoy life and to bind our own existence to the lives of others? The Tories should join this fight against health and safety authoritarianism.’

The Telegraph and the Tories don’t want to save Christmas – they want to save capitalism and the profits of the bosses.

Measures to hold back a pandemic that has so far cost the lives of nearly 45,000 people in the UK, and to prevent thousands more suffering from dangerous health conditions from contracting the virus, are dismissed as ‘health and safety authoritarianism’.

Authoritarianism, such as the anti-union laws, is fine as far as capitalism is concerned, but anything that harms profits in the name of health must be smashed.

The Tories are rapidly heading for a massive split as a powerful section are determined to follow the lead of President Trump in the US and declare that it is impossible to fight the pandemic and that millions of workers would just have to live with it and suffer death and life changing illness as the price for keeping capitalism alive.

The Chinese deformed workers’ state was able to shut down, with no loss of wages to workers, and to conduct a massive campaign to defeat the virus. They definitely did not learn to live with it!

Capitalism is not prepared to follow this example – they are driven solely by the need of the bosses to make profit.

The only way forward for the working class is to kick out those leaders who merely criticise the Tories and build a new leadership that will immediately mobilise the unions in mass strike action to bring this Tory government down and establish a workers’ government.

A workers’ government will expropriate the capitalist class and under a planned socialist economy will put all the resources of the country into implementing the measures required to eradicate Covid-19.