ON Friday 15th September 14 trade unions representing over a million nurses and NHS staff wrote to Tory Chancellor Hammond, to demand a 3.9% pay rise and an extra £800 to help make up for the savage wage cutting of the last 10 years.
The unions made the point that they were writing to Hammond directly because the Tories had turned the so-called independent ‘NHS Pay Review Body’ into its craven lackey. NHS pay was thus turned into a directly political matter for the NHS trade unions and the Tory Chancellor to battle out. That battle line has now been drawn up, and battle is due to commence.
On Wednesday 13th, the Tory government was humbled in Parliament when the only way that it could stay in office, (after the DUP dumped them over the question of the NHS pay cap and another increase in student fees despite the £1bn bribe), was to run away, to stay deadly quiet when the speaker asked for ‘Nays’ on the two issues so that the two Labour resolutions did not go to a Parliamentary ballot of all MPs, but were recorded as just a matter of opinion.
That Labour was satisfied enough to call this particular manoeuvre a ‘moral victory’ as the Tories saved themselves proves how much Labour Leader Corbyn has become a prisoner of Labour’s right wing. He certainly did not call for the Tories to go. He stayed quiet on this matter as he did at the TUC Congress.
On Saturday 16th September, Foreign Secretary Johnson wrote in The Daily Telegraph his own Brexit Manifesto, on the eve of his leader’s speech on the same issue, due to be made in Florence this week on September 22nd. May is due to give her ‘most substantial intervention’ in the Brexit process since her speech at Lancaster House in London nine months ago. Johnson beat her to the punch, and deepened the split in the already divided Tory party.
Johnson has been accused of being a Brexit ‘back-seat driver’ by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd who insisted that he was not ‘driving the car’ after his article appeared. Rudd said ministers must be united in their approach while Lib Dem leader Vince Cable urged the prime minister to ‘fire this guy on Monday morning’, warning that if she did not act her authority would be ‘reduced to zero’.
However, her authority is already at zero, where Cable’s has been for some time since the 2016 referendum. Meanwhile, there is no call from Corbyn that May and the Tories must go. At a time when a Cromwell is needed to disperse this Parliament Corbyn imitates a mouse.
The fact is that Johnson’s ‘vision’ in The Sunday Telegraph reveals the historic crisis of British capitalism.
Its loss of empire post 1945 was a killer, that demoralised the ruling class. Johnson writes: ‘To understand why we wanted to join, you have to remember the shock of Suez, the loss of confidence in Westminster and Whitehall, the way in which the post imperial future was sold to the people – a Common Market, a way of maximising trade.’
British imperialism could no longer stand alone. What future does Johnson see for the UK ruling class outside the EU. As a US-UK dual citizen, it is in Uncle Sam’s pocketbook. He quotes the Henry Jackson Society as saying that ‘with the second biggest contribution to NATO, with our forces deployed all round the world, with our bankers, our chefs, our scientists, our poets and yes our diplomats Britain at the beginning of the 21st century was the second greatest power on Earth after America’.
It is noticeable that he has no place in his honours list for the British workers. His post Brexit UK is ‘pro-business and pro-enterprise’… ‘This means simplifying regulation and cutting taxes’ and no doubt selling off the NHS to the USA. The Tory ship is now badly holed and sinking. Labour and Corbyn can’t be allowed to keep it afloat.
The 14 NHS trade unions must write another letter, this time to the TUC General Council, telling it that it must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the UK bosses and bankers, quit the EU at once, and unite with the workers of Europe to replace the European Union with the Socialist United States of Europe!