From Brexit To Trident - the disconnect of the politicians' world

20 July 2016

A hot week in politics too? Nothing like a vote on renewing a hot weapon - the so-called nuclear "deterrent", to distract from the thorny Brexit issue!

The idea was that Trident would provide a unifying moment for the warring pro- and anti-EU Tory party factions. Because for sure, every Tory (bar one) agrees with this £31bn (official estimate) renewal programme. But of course that's just the down-payment on the 4 submarines, which goes straight into the pockets of the BAEs and their US equivalents. Total costs may be as much as £136-£174bn over 30 years - more than enough to cover generous increases in welfare and NHS budgets! Instead, it guarantees big profits to the arms industry for decades. Never mind its uselessness or even danger, for humanity.

In fact, Theresa May hit two birds with one stone. Anti-Trident Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, having failed to ensure that Labour's policy was changed at its last conference, had compromised, by giving MPs a "free vote". So May won by 472 to 117 votes, with the Labour vote split 3 ways: 140 voted for Trident, 47 voted against and 43 abstained. And some used the opportunity to abuse Corbyn, in advance of the Labour leadership contest - which, by 24 September, should either oust him, or confirm him as leader.

Why Brexit can't really mean Brexit

Of course Labour's troubles are unlikely to be over, whatever does or does not happen to Corbyn. But neither are the troubles of the Tories. May has carefully selected her ministers from the Brexit camp, claiming "Brexit means Brexit". But Brexit is now facing a court challenge that could demand a future parliamentary vote to confirm it.

That said, what she is required to do anyway - by her real masters, who are neither her Parliamentary party, nor her Cabinet, nor her electorate, but the City and British Capital, is to negotiate a deal which preserves their access to the single market...

So in other words, she must seem to exit, while remaining, on their behalf. Which of course will infuriate the Brexiteers and those MPs, who above all, fear being unseated by Ukip. But getting pro-Leave ministers to try to do the impossible themselves, and failing, and thus earning the disgrace of the rest of the pro-leave lobby, is one way to deal with the problem!

There are already issues being raised over the improbable assertions made by David Davis, Brexit minister. Because evidently, Davis does not understand the economics. Some 45% of UK exports go to the EU and, on average, about 8% of the exports of each member state go to the UK. So he is hardly in a position to drive a hard bargain. As for his idea of relying on trade deals with other countries - they can only be done after the 2-year exit is complete. And now Article 50 will only be triggered next year, if at all. So no "outside" deals for 3 or more years?

Ironically, for those who thought that voting Brexit would "save" what little is left of the public sector and the NHS from overseas vulture-profiteers, by stopping TTIP (a trade deal between the EU and the US), this is almost dead in the water anyway, due to opposition from within the EU itself. On the other hand, Britain is - as it always has been - open to US companies for free-for-all-parasitism at the public's expense...

Change is urgent

So for now, the austerity and the cuts go on. May has made that clear. As for her "pro-working class" maiden speech as PM - well, let us hope not too many are taken in. After all, how many struggling working class families actually have the house which she mentioned, in order to have difficulties paying the mortgage in the first place? Certainly not many workers under 40! If she acknowledges that the working class exists and that many voted against the government in the referendum, it is only because she fears what this ever-increasing anger against the rich and their puppet-politicians could bring.

Anyway, since when were the interests of the working class ever defended by any government? Certainly not by the Tories - but not either by Labour. Not just because of its present sorry state, but because it has long-since been an "alternative" party for the bosses' interests. It was Labour which presided over the casualisation which devoured decent jobs and destroyed working conditions to bosses' huge benefit!

And now May refuses to guarantee the status of 2m EU workers residing here, who give far more than they take. Indeed, 31% of food processing, 21% catering and 15% warehouse workers come from the EU. They are all part of our class; our allies in the fight against the bosses: a fight we need to wage together, to get the "rate for the job", equal pay for equal work and against 2nd class or 2nd tier status for any worker! All workers, regardless of origin, need to be brought into our ranks without delay. But these "ranks" need rebuilding. There is no short cut to this. The working class needs its very own political policies and an organisation, independent of unions and Labour, which proposes a fight against the capitalists on their own ground, where the profits are made. This is the only way that workers can gain some control over, and ultimately change, the system.