Tory bigots are back on the offensive. Former party leader Michael Howard, who now enjoys the comfort of the House of Lords, was first to pull out his Brexit battle axe. Posing as a valiant champion of Gibraltar against Spain, he invoked Thatcher's ghost, celebrating her 1982 Falklands war, "to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country" - predicting that May would act in the same way for Gibraltar.
And all this, because some EU document said that any decision concerning Gilbraltar should be agreed by Spain! As if this wasn't common sense! Isn't the famous Rock an enclave that Britain stole from Spain three centuries ago? And what was it turned into by this colonisation? A tax haven which offers British companies a 10% corporation tax! Not only that, but it exists as a parasite on Spanish workers, with over half of its workforce having to commute to work everyday from Spain, because there's no affordable housing for them in Gibraltar!
But, of course, the likes of Howard do not give a damn about the "freedom" of workers, whether Spanish or British, for that matter!
Behind the farce, a lethal threat
Howard's jingoism over Gilbraltar may just seem to be the farcical nostalgia of an ageing politician for the "good old days". But, significantly, neither May nor her Defence minister, has disowned Howard - nor, in fact, has Labour's "spokesman", Keir Starmer. Because, just like Howard, they all want public opinion to fall in behind what they call the "national interest".
But, lest we forget, it was in the name of this "national interest" that Thatcher sent the Navy to the Falklands and got a thousand soldiers killed. All that, just for the sake of "punishing" a poor country, Argentina, for daring to defy the rich countries' order, by laying claim to an island which should never have been hijacked by Britain in the first place!
It was also in the name of this same "national interest" that, later, Blair followed Bush - first into the Afghan war and then into Iraq. And, this time, the human and material cost of these military adventures was catastrophic for the populations of these countries - and they are still paying an intolerable price for it.
When the politicians of the capitalist class talk about the "national interest", of course, they never have in mind the interests of the populations. They are acting exclusively in the interests of "their" capitalists who want to squeeze ever more profits out of their looting of the world.
Twice in the past, the defence of "national interest" has led the world's richest countries to go at each other's throats - in two world wars which claimed millions of victims - for no other reason than to steal each other's markets and colonies. Their "national interest" has always been and remains, a lethal threat for the working class!
Facing up to the danger
Over the coming months, politicians will invoke the "national interest" (or talk about "putting Britain first", as May does) to try to whip the working class into line behind their policies.
For years, they have blamed the EU and immigration for the degradation that the profiteering of their masters was generating. As the Brexit process unfolds, they are going to carry on with this false blame game, pointing at other countries, at their leaders and their workers, as the enemies of the working class - and more generally, by whipping up anti-foreign prejudices.
Even before their horse-trading with the EU has really started, the result of their scape-goating can already be seen. The fact that, on March 31st, in Croydon, a 17-year old asylum seeker was brutally beaten up by a mob of several dozen thugs, is no accident. It is the by-product of an atmosphere of fear, suspicion and hatred consciously created by the likes of Howard and May in order to mobilise public opinion behind the interests of British capital.
No-one can predict the outcome of the Brexit process, except for two things: the profits of British capital will be protected, while the working class will be expected to foot the bill. And this, in the same way - or worse - that they have made workers pay for the financial crisis, through their jobs, wages and conditions, over the past decade.
This is what the working class needs to prepare for, consciously, by realising that its only enemies are the capitalists and their politicians. Whereas, whatever their jobs or nationality, all workers share the same interest in fighting against the greed of their exploiters. Workers have no "national interest" - they only have a "class interest", common to all workers across the world. And it is their greatest strength!