96 years later, another general strike? & Kwarteng’s mini-budget “event”: playing to the tory peanut gallery!

 96 years later, another general strike?

The official mourning for QE2 is now over.  So political life is back to normal?  Well no, not for MPs, who’re still off work!  But in a ceremony which says it all about the rituals of Britain’s “constitutional monarchy”, this week ordinary Members of the House of Commons were lining up to take a new oath of allegiance to the King - even though they don’t have to.

    The front benches already swore this voluntary oath during their special Saturday sitting, when fawning speeches were made about tea with “her majesty”.  The oath obliges MPs to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law” (and most ask “God” to help them!).

    Does this make any sense?  Charles’ first act as he slipped straight into his mother’s place without a pause (the queen is dead, long live the king!) was to swear his allegiance to parliament - promising his subservience!  What an absurd contradiction!  In fact, it’s largely down to the “unfinished” English revolution, which may have instituted a republic in 1649 and executed King Charles 1, but left the aristocracy intact and thus free to plot a return of the monarchy.  Yes, unlike the French revolution 150 years later, which guillotined the whole lot of them, ensuring they were gone for good!

    That said, English parliamentarians of the time decided to have it both ways - so while restoring a King in 1660, they retained the supremacy of the same Parliament which republican Oliver Cromwell had won for them!

    So now we come to our side of the class divide.  And we certainly don’t want to be back to “normal”.  A start has been made to reinstate our strikes: postal workers will go out on the 30th September and 1st October and railway workers on the 1st October.  That said, how will we hold to account the union leaders, who, in that incredible display of disrespect towards members, took a unilateral decision to suspend all strike action for the duration of the 10-day festival of ruling-class grief?

    Postal leader Dave Ward wrote that “the union”(?) decided to call off planned strike action “out of respect for [the queen’s] service to the country and her family”!  As for Mick-”the-working-class-is-back”-Lynch, his excuse was that the RMT had to join “the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth”.

    As if the queen ever served the working class!  Her job was precisely to help maintain the pretence of “national unity” (thanks Mick!) in order to keep social peace!  That’s the use-value of the monarchy!  And indeed, the queen deserves the gratitude of the wealthy class for succeeding so well for the past 70 years!

    But their long spell of good luck may be over.  The late queen was born in the year of the last general strike - 1926.  Maybe the year of her death will see the next one?  Of course, that’s up to the rest of us: not Mick nor Dave, but those already fighting on the ground and all the brothers and sisters who will join us!

 Kwarteng’s mini-budget “event”: playing to the tory peanut gallery!

PM Truss' new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver a "mini-budget" on Friday.  It will outline the "energy price guarantee", already announced earlier in September, which is meant to help households with energy bills.  This will cap bills for 2 years at £2,500 (based on average usage), which is still more than double the average £1,100 level of October 2021, and still unaffordable for millions!

    Over two years, this is estimated to cost (depending on gas prices) £100-£150 billion, which will be paid for with government (i.e. tax) money, with no higher taxes on energy companies' profits, nor price controls on energy producers!  Instead, workers will continue to fund the sky-high profits of energy companies.

    Kwarteng's budget is also expected to reduce taxes, even though Britain is a low-tax economy compared to other similar-sized rich countries.  Still, Kwarteng will cancel the 1.25% rise in National Insurance (which was meant to pay for social care and the collapsed NHS).  Together, the "energy price guarantee" and cuts to taxes will benefit the rich twice as much as the poor, according to the Resolution Foundation.  He's also planning to cancel the cap on bankers’ bonuses..!

    Even Financial Times commentators consider Truss and Kwarteng’s plans to be dodgy, calling them "gamblers on a huge scale" and ridiculing their notorious “Britannia Unchained” treatise for suggesting Brazil as an economic model.  But while the FT worries that global money markets will refuse to continue to lend Britain money - if inflation keeps rising and the value of the pound keeps falling - these same factors will cause further drastic cuts in workers' incomes.

    In fact the pound’s value recently reached its lowest point against the dollar for 35 years, making imports more expensive and, since Britain imports 46% of its food, plus medicines, cars, fuel, etc., workers are now paying more for almost everything they buy.

    Already Britain is one of the most unequal countries in the G7, paying among the lowest wages.  An average household here is 20% worse off than its north west European counterpart.  And by 2030 a Polish family will be better off than its British equivalent!

    Truss and Kwarteng intend to redistribute wealth to the already wealthy and keep the blows raining down on workers' heads. A concerted fight back could, however, send their good ship “Britannia” crashing onto the rocks!