Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 6 December 2017

6 December 2017

This Monday, the pound went into another downward tailspin, threatening us all with even higher prices.  And all because, behind the veil of secrecy surrounding the Brexit horse-trading, May had failed to reach a deal over the issue of the Irish border.
    Indeed, May has yet again bowed to the overbidding of right-wing MPs sitting with her inside the Westminster bubble.  This time, however, it wasn’t the pressure of her party’s Eurosceptic factions which was responsible, but the blackmail of her even more right-wing DUP allies.
    Ironically, in this so-called “democratic” system, the DUP’s 10 pro-Brexit MPs wield more power than the 56% majority of the Northern Ireland population who voted for Remain!  But just because May needs the DUP votes to have a Commons majority, not only has DUP leader, Arlene Foster, got away scot-free from the corruption scandal in which she was embroiled, but she is now in a position to impose her diktat on the Brexit negotiations!

Ireland threatened by Brexit madness...

The issue of the Northern Irish border is one of the most extreme examples of Brexit folly.
    Ever since 1921, when the British state imposed partition at gunpoint on the new Irish Republic, the artificial border between British-occupied Northern Ireland and the Republic had been an obstacle for the Irish population on both sides.
    With the end of the peace process, in the 1990s, families which had been divided for decades by this border were finally reunited.  In the North as well as in the South, people were able to freely travel to work - or shop - on the other side of the border without queues or checks.  Goods which were produced on either side became available on the other.  At last, this artificial border had ceased to physically divide the Irish population.
    Then came the Brexit madness and, today, the old nightmare is threatening to come back all over again.  Why?  Because a handful of Westminster careerists decided to bet on Brexit in order to shore up their own political careers!  And because, as a result, they insist on rebuilding impregnable walls around what they call the “United Kingdom” - as if we were back in the Middle Ages!
    And never mind the consequences!  The Westminster Brexit bigots - whether Tory or DUP, are totally unconcerned that their obsession for raising walls and fences between peoples revives the angers, frustrations and tensions of the past.
    But how can we forget that it was precisely this kind of oppressive straitjacket imposed from London which produced, first, a decade of open civil war across the whole of Ireland and then, a hidden civil war in the North, which, for many decades, constantly simmered beneath the surface and which was no less lethal?

...And we are, as well!

But Ireland is not the only potential victim of these irresponsible politicians.  We workers are as well.  In fact, we are already victims.  And not just due to rising inflation, but also because of their on-going attacks on benefits, pensions, wages and jobs.
    Poverty is rising again in Britain.  15 years ago, the proportion of children in households living below the poverty line was 27%.  But, today, we’re back to 30% again.  The reasons are obvious: on the one hand, low-paid, casual jobs, which will increase even more, as permanent jobs are killed by Brexit;  and, on the other, the on-going cuts in benefits meant to make up for inadequate wages.
    Meanwhile, whereas 15 years ago, the proportion of pensioners living in poverty was 13%, today, it is 16% and rising.  And the reasons are just as obvious: a pensioner on a full state pension earns, on average, 29% of his or her previous wages (including benefits).  This is the lowest level among the world’s 35 industrialised countries!  And if personal and occupational pensions are added to the equation (and this includes fat cats’ pensions) British pensioners still only get 60% of their previous wages - under the 63% average of the industrialised world!
    Yes, if British capital and their politicians are “leading the world” as the Westminster Brexiteers claim, it is only downwards and backwards!  And no wonder:  if Britain’s 1,000 richest have increased their combined wealth by £400bn, if they are looking forward to pocketing an estimated £94bn in dividends this year, someone has to foot the bill - and that someone is us, the working class!
    Coming on top of this already dire situation, the Brexit chaos threatens to turn the wheel of history backwards.  It is high time that the working class threw a spanner into the Brexit works, so as to take our future into our own hands.  Then we could turn the wheel of history forward for a change and get rid of the dictatorship of the wealthy parasites and their profit system, once and for all!