ON TUESDAY Theresa May launched what has been billed as her final attempt to cobble together a parliamentary majority amongst MPs for her ‘new’ Brexit deal.
This new deal includes an offer that if MPs pass her bill in June she will give them a vote on calling a second referendum. May offered compromises including a bill on workers’ rights and a commitment to entering into a temporary customs union with the EU – a main demand of the Labour leadership.
Jeremy Corbyn dismissed it as a rehash of the old deal with Labour right-wingers denouncing it for only promising a vote on a second referendum and not imposing one immediately while her own MPs dismissed it as treachery.
What is puzzling people is that May must have known she could only succeed in splitting the Tory party even further while at the same time winning little support from Labour.
The answer to this is not some prolonged political suicide by May, but is instead the working out of a plan to drive towards the formation of a national government. Corbyn said yesterday that ‘May’s time has run out’. Perhaps Chancellor Hammond is to be their coalition partner.
With the Tory party destroying itself and the Labour Party split from top to bottom the only way forward for the ruling class out of the political and economic chaos is to move towards a government of national salvation, drawing in the Labour Party and pro-EU Tories, all united in their desire to keep Britain firmly within the EU.
This developing unity between Labour and the Tories was seen in an exchange between Tory chancellor Philip Hammond and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell on Tuesday over a speech Hammond was due to deliver that evening to the CBI on the economic dangers of leaving the EU.
McDonnell welcomed Hammond’s ‘clear warnings to his CBI colleagues about the hit the economy would face from a no-deal Brexit, especially those who have said there is nothing to fear from a no deal.’
In the exchange that followed, McDonnell told Hammond that ‘I shall be happy to deliver the Chancellor’s speech this evening. Any time!’ before going on to ask if Hammond acknowledged any responsibility for nine years of Tory austerity that led to workers delivering a ‘kick at the establishment’ and voting to leave the EU in the Brexit vote.
For the ‘left’ McDonnell, Tory austerity was simply a choice made by the Tories that led to the calamity, for British capitalism, of Brexit. This choice could be reversed if only MPs got together and behaved decently towards workers. Then the economic crisis and with it Brexit could be averted. He even offered to make Hammond’s speech to the bosses for him!
It is the world crisis of capitalism that drives austerity, not some choice made by the Tories – the huge cuts were necessary to pay for propping up a bankrupt banking system after the banking crash in 2008.
This world crisis is destroying what is left of the country’s manufacturing industry with British Steel the latest in going bust with thousands of workers losing their jobs. Faced with a working class not prepared to tolerate austerity and demanding Brexit, the strategy of the ruling class is clear.
The Tories have been destroyed as a government while the prospect of a Corbyn-led majority Labour government with millions of workers and youth pushing and demanding it implement socialist policies is unthinkable.
The only salvation for the ruling class is in a reactionary national government strong enough to take on the working class and end Brexit completely. This is why even Corbyn is insisting that there must be a second referendum.
The only way forward for the working class is for it to force the trade unions to take decisive action. The trade unions must call a general strike to bring down the May government and bring in a workers government that will leave the EU at once, and nationalise British Steel, Honda and all the major industries, under workers control, to defend all jobs and the millions of families who depend on them.
A UK socialist planned economy will act as a beacon to the working class in Europe who are also rising up against the rule of the bosses and bankers, and pave the way for ending the capitalist EU, replacing it with the united socialist states of Europe.