At election time, "fake news" rules!

17 May 2017

"Fake news" may be associated with Donald Trump, but he didn't invent it.  It's always been an integral part of this system's sham "democratic" process. After all, wasn't the Leave camp's £350m/wk for the NHS, just as "fake" as Trump's casual buffooneries on Twitter?

From May's very own "fake news"...

But what about the title of May's newspaper column, on Monday?  It said: "we will use Brexit as an opportunity to strengthen workers’ rights".  Whatever next?  And this, when she's just introduced ruthless welfare cuts against the working poor!  If this sudden concern for workers isn't "fake", what is?
    But then, by choosing to publish her column in the Financial Times, May gave her game away: she just wanted to reassure the FT's City readers that they have nothing to fear from her electoral rhetoric.  Nothing at all!  Because, says May, she remains "committed to preventing pointless red tape and keeping corporation tax low" - spelling out the fact that her party has always denounced workers' rights and protections as pointless "red tape" imposed on bosses!
    In fact, May's so-called "new rights" for workers only expose her total ignorance of workers' lives - and, by the same token, her hypocrisy.  She boasts about a new "right" to parental leave for child bereavement, for training and for taking care for an elderly or disabled relative.  But it would only be statutory in the first case, whereas, in the other two, companies would be under no obligation to agree to it.  What's more, this leave would be unpaid anyway.  And how are workers meant to survive in the meantime?  May doesn't say!
    But why would someone who can afford to pay £993 for a pair of trousers even bother with such minor "details"?

... To Corbyn's balancing act

While May's sudden "concern" for workers' rights didn't raise many eyebrows, Corbyn's election manifesto caused a flurry of indignant responses which are nothing short of hilarious.  For instance, the Financial Times' reaction to Corbyn's tax plans provided another "fake news" headline: "Labour seeks to increase tax to level last seen in 1940s", no less!
    As if.  In fact, Corbyn is very respectful of big business.  He only mentions asking "large corporations to pay a little more while still keeping corporation tax among the lowest of the major developed economies."  Likewise, for income tax.  Only the 5% richest taxpayers (earning at least £80,000/yr) will pay more tax - but how much, no-one knows!
    Not only has Corbyn no plan to go back to the tax rates used in the 1940s, but he doesn't even plan to return to the modest rates enforced by Thatcher in 1986, 7 years after she came to power: 29% for corporation tax (compared to 19% today!) and 60% for the highest rate of income tax (compared to 45% today for the richest 1%).
    Likewise, Corbyn stops short of pledging to repeal some of the Tories' most abhorrent measures, such as the 3-year freeze on benefits introduced in March 2016, or the benefit cap which so viciously affects poor households in big cities!
    The point is that Corbyn wants to keep everyone happy:  the Brexit supporters, on the one hand, by pledging to defend the "national interest" (meaning the interest of British capital) in the negotiations and, on the other, the Brexit opponents by pledging to retain all the benefits of remaining in the EU.

Only our mobilisation can achieve change

Likewise, Corbyn tries to keep big business happy by not threatening their exorbitant profits and accumulated wealth.  At the same time, he would like to appeal to working class voters with all sorts of attractive promises.  
    Except that this would require a head-on confrontation with the capitalists that only a mobilised working class can win - the last thing that Corbyn and his party want to see.  In fact, this is what they fear most!
    Yet, it is only by addressing the roots of the disease that we can hope to really shape our future, instead of allowing the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists who own everything in this society to dictate it to us.
    Shaping our future cannot and will not be done through voting in the coming election.  Whichever way we vote, we'll be endorsing people for whom the only thing that really matters is to preserve this mad capitalist system as it is.  
    But the working class has the means to have higher ambitions, rather than remain hostage to the profit system.  Our collective strength lies in the fact that, if we withdraw our labour, nothing can work in this society.  It is this weapon we have to use!