Just before he appeared in the Commons to say “sorry” on Monday, Johnson visited Tilbury Docks to open “Tilbury2". In the noise and recriminations over partygate, few even noticed - though Johnson made a point of mentioning it. He said he was getting on with “delivering” his government’s agenda, while everyone else focused on his lies and his parties...
Tilbury2 is the first large Freeport and main new border infrastructure, “helping to capitalise on Brexit”, boasted Johnson early that morning. These special Freeport zones offer an overhead-, tariff- and tax-free ride to businesses - for warehousing import and export-bound goods, or to do very minimal value-adding at maximum gain. But for workers?
Sitting at the wheel of a forklift, Johnson boasted that every single bit of the EU legislation taken into British law is going to be replaced in this respect. Nothing is to remain intact and what’s more, there will be further “deregulation”, of what little remains of workers’ protection against super-exploitation.
As if the conditions of work under the current agency contracts, which have created a huge class of “working poor” aren’t bad enough. Yet these are the only path these days to a job for most young workers. That, or an “apprenticeship” (something Johnson claims will be on offer in these new exploitation zones) - at a starvation “wage”.
He also repeated that National Insurance Contributions would definitely still be going up. So along with energy bills and price inflation - the cost of living is skyrocketing. And now there is a new wave of job cuts - 1,600 at Tesco were announced on Tuesday. As for the Brexit “benefit”, who even talks about the partly-Brexit-related exodus of Ford, near to Tilbury, except workers directly affected by this?
So yes, for the working class and poor of this country the real issue is not whether prime ministers lie or not. Of course they do. Labour’s “Bliar” stayed in office for another 4 years after the Iraq war. Nor is the issue whether politicians “disgrace” a parliament which reproduces the class system, or “undermine” a “democracy” designed precisely to keep the capitalists and their personnel in power.
Whatever the final Sue Gray and Met police investigations reveal, the working class is not going to learn anything it did not know already. Why would workers have any illusions in institutions which operate against their interests - and indeed, against the interests of society as a whole?
Whoever or whatever replaces Johnson - if he is ousted - this system will carry on, whether under a new Tory PM or, eventually, maybe even a Labour one. Until, that is, as a class, workers collectively throw it out. That is what we need to prepare for.