TUESDAY night’s live debate between the five remaining Tory hopefuls to replace Theresa May and become prime minister, was a stark demonstration of the complete and utter disintegration of the Tory party and its absolute inability and refusal to carry out the Brexit referendum result.
There was general agreement that no deal was a bad deal and all pledged that if it was possible to carry on negotiating even after October 31, for just a few more days to avoid a ‘no deal’, then this is what they should do.
This posture from Brexit ‘extremists’ like Johnson and Gove will hardly make the EU bureaucrats tremble. In fact, the MI6 candidate for Premier, Stewart, was much more candid, saying that the way forward was to get May’s deal carried at a fourth attempt, arm-in-arm with Labour’s right wing.
It is also on record that Johnson and Gove voted for her third attempt to get her deal through, so they are there for the taking!
What they disagree on is how to overturn the 2016 referendum result, which instructed Parliament to leave the EU, without provoking an uprising by the working class that voted to leave without any deal or pre-conditions, and is getting angrier and angrier at the delays and all of the prevarications.
What emerged in the debate is that none of them had a clue what to do to extricate the Tories out of the mess except to carry on just like May, with her deal to keep British capitalism tied to the EU but without even a seat at the EU table.
Boris Johnson admitted that his only strategy for dealing with Brexit is to use the latest ‘final’ withdrawal date of October 31 as a threat to get a deal from the EU saying: ‘Nobody wants a disorderly no-deal Brexit’ and that this threat ‘is the way we will get the deal we need’. This is what May thought! When asked point blank if he would guarantee leaving on that date, he refused to commit himself.
Michael Gove was adamant that October 31 was a counter-productive ‘arbitrary deadline’ and he would delay Brexit until he got a deal, even if this meant delaying Brexit indefinitely.
Jeremy Hunt offered the same position as Gove, saying he would extend the deadline and that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit was a ‘last resort’ and one he made clear he would not accept.
Sajid Javid came closest to committing to leave on that date describing ‘irresolution’ over a firm leaving date as May’s ‘greatest blunder’. He was, however, clear that all he would do is re-present May’s withdrawal agreement but without the Irish backstop – something the EU has vowed not to even think about.
The fifth contender is Rory Stewart, the MI6 spy. Stewart openly embraces May’s dead-duck deal, and advocates a pact with the Labour Party to do it.
In other words, they are all in the same boat as the completely bankrupt May. This is because the British ruling class itself is bankrupt, and just waiting to be despatched into the dustbin of history, at the hands of the working class.
It would be a mistake to attribute the spineless weakness so publicly exhibited in this debate to the personal defects of these five individuals. They faithfully represent the very weakness and decay of British capitalism and its ruling class.
For decades, British capitalism has lived happily within the bosses’ and bankers’ EU, enthusiastically embracing all the legislation handed down by EU courts that dictated privatisation and austerity cuts throughout the member states.
With the loss of Empire, the UK ruling class had no option but to give up any semblance of independence. Cameron and Osborne only called the referendum in 2016 to try to silence those eurosceptics who still harboured delusions that British capitalism could survive the world economic crisis on its own.
What they didn’t reckon on was the working class, galvanised by a hatred of the Tories and the rule of the bankers and bosses after years of austerity, intervening and voting decisively to leave.
The working class with its Brexit started a political revolution that is now convulsing the bourgeoisie. What is clear is that the only way to achieve Brexit is for the working class to turn this political revolution into a social revolution, to secure its jobs and its basic rights by forcing the break with the EU and then expropriating the bosses and bankers with a socialist revolution in the UK.