THE TORY leadership is now in complete disarray, with PM May repeatedly refusing on Tuesday to say how she would vote if there was another EU referendum. The so-called champion of Brexit said: ‘I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions.’
She said of her support for Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, ‘I voted Remain for good reasons at the time but circumstances move on.’ So much for principles! When LBC presenter Iain Dale asked her why she would not say why she had changed her mind, given that she was now leading the country into Brexit, she responded: ‘I am being open and honest with you. What I did last time round was I looked at everything and I came to a judgement and I would do exactly the same this time round.’
When, asked the same question on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday night, May’s second-in-command, First Secretary of State Damian Green, said, ‘it would have been better’ had the country voted to remain. Presumably May, who was appointed leader by the Tory 1922 Committee to avoid a ‘Leaver’ being elected Tory leader, agrees with Green.
Then, there is May’s Chancellor, Philip Hammond. He said that taxpayers’ money should not be spent on preparing for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, saying he would spend only when it is ‘responsible’ to do so. The truth is that British capitalism suffered a huge defeat when millions of workers voted in the 2016 Referendum that the UK must leave the EU. In fact, since then workers have increased their resolve over the issue. Defeated along with the bosses were the TUC, the major trade union leaders, and the Labour Party which urged voters to ‘Remain’.
The British capitalists have been struggling to free themselves from the referendum ‘hook’ ever since, attempting to cobble together an unholy alliance of bosses, bankers, Blairites and union leaders prepared to sabotage the referendum result by any means necessary, and then to reverse it.
However, as question time showed in the House of Commons yesterday, the austerity punishment the working class has faced has further stoked up its anger against the Tories and capitalism.
Labour leader Corbyn gave voice to a part of this anger for once, saying: ‘The Citizens Advice Bureau describes Universal Credit as a disaster waiting to happen, housing associations report an increase of up to 50% in eviction of tenants with rent arrears due to Universal Credit …
‘The Halton Housing Trust reports a 100% year-on-year increase in the number of evictions; half of all council tenants on Universal Credit are at least a month in arrears in their rent … it’s years behind schedule; it’s forcing people to foodbanks, driving up evictions, leaving families in debt …’
Corbyn continued: ‘The IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) and the Child Poverty Action Group estimate it’s going to put another 200,000 children into poverty … I urge the Prime Minister, show some leadership, pause Universal Credit and stop driving up poverty, debt and homelessness because that is what it does.’
Corbyn said: ‘The last Labour government lifted a million children out of poverty. Gloucester City Homes has evicted one-in-eight of all of its tenants because of Universal Credit. The prime minister talks about helping the poorest, but the reality is a very, very different story. Not only are people being driven into poverty, but absurdly, the Universal Credit helpline costs claimants 55 pence per minute for the privilege of trying to get someone to help them claim what they believe they are entitled to.
Corbyn said: ‘Sadly Universal Credit is only one of a string of failures of this government …’ He concluded: ‘Isn’t it the case that if the prime minister can’t lead she should leave?’ Corbyn fell short of calling for the Tories to go, but this is precisely what must happen. The trade unions must mobilise to take advantage of the current economic and political crisis by bringing down the Tories with a general strike and bringing in a workers government and socialism. This will defend workers’ jobs and living standards by breaking with the EU, and expropriating the bosses and the bankers at home, to bring in a socialist planned economy and a socialist welfare state.
It will ally itself with the workers of the world to prevent another 1930s-style trade war where workers are used to put each other out of a job. This means, in Europe, replacing the EU with a Socialist United States of Europe, with a planned socialist economy working to satisfy the needs of the people. In North America, it means allying with the US working class to get rid of American capitalism and go forward to worldwide socialism.