Another day, another Brexit. So Theresa May’s Brexit minister, David Davis, says on Tuesday that “no, Brexit won’t mean “a Mad Max race to the bottom”. But just a few days before, 62 Tory MPs wrote to May to demand that it should! And never mind that the race to the bottom already began years ago!
Of course the Tory Brexiteers, along with their demand for a “clean” (hard) Brexit, insist that the government should “gain full regulatory autonomy" from the EU... And no matter how much May and David Davis deny this, it is certainly a government objective. In fact, Michael Gove, that hard Brexiteer who was not a signatory to the “letter of the 62", but is one of May’s Cabinet, always wanted “a bonfire of regulations”! And like all of the bosses’ favourite politicians he would, in particular, like to throw the EU’s employment regulations into the fire. Some of which still benefit British workers, at least a bit!
In fact, it is quite hilarious to hear Theresa May explaining how much of a champion of workers’ rights she is. Her nose is growing longer by the minute! For instance, she says she “has taken action on zero-hour contracts”! Those 1.4m workers who today have no guaranteed hours of work, must be wondering if they are living in a parallel universe...
Nobody can take these perverse statements, from proven enemies of the working class, seriously.
Pretty much near the bottom already
Certainly, the Mad Max race to the bottom is not a post-Brexit scenario. It has been going on, pretty much full speed ahead, since the 1980s.
Yes, what a great leader “Britain” is! And by that, one must read Britain’s bosses and their politicians, not the rest of us, of course... So yes, “Britain” was the “first” among the rich capitalist countries to systematically privatise the public sector with wides-spread outsourcing, which allowed the bosses to destroy workers’ conditions and drive down wages... to the bottom.
The outsourcing giant Carillion and its fellow PFI, PPP and subcontracting giants like Capita, G4S, Balfour Beatty, Initial, Serco, etc., were created, precisely, by a government policy to revive “British” capital, which was being overshadowed by its rivals, by awarding it humungous state aid!
So yes, Britain has already “led the world” as Davis boasts it is going to do after Brexit! And already, the magnificently disastrous results are there to see.
Davis also spoke about “flexibility” being a proud “British” innovation. Yes, Labour’s Blair and Brown implemented it: it’s called “casualisation”, i.e., the end of permanent, full-time, jobs and the advent of the “MacJob” and temporary employment for all new workers. Today it’s also morphed into the bogus self-employment of, for e.g., Deliveroo workers. So yes, British bosses and their obedient politicians are very creative indeed, when it comes to screwing the working class! They do “lead” in this respect!
This must be stopped
The consequences of this long legacy of racing to the bottom - especially its effects on the population’s health - are borne out by some stark figures: according to UNICEF, “babies born in the United Kingdom are more likely to die in the first month than if they were born in Latvia, Lithuania, Cuba or Montenegro”. In Britain, 1 in 385 die. In Estonia, and Slovenia it is 1 in 769 and in Cyprus 1 in 714 -half of the British rate. And when survival rates are low, it’s put down to a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives and social inequality. The report says that “The rate of babies dying in the first month of life in the UK has remained almost static for three years with little progress on reduction. ...Inequality continues to be an issue in England ... Women who live in the most socially deprived areas are at higher risk of their newborns dying...”
Of course it’s well-known that the NHS and the rest of public services have been consciously run down at the expense of the population, so as to favour private profiteers. The dire consequences are felt by those in need, every day, whether they be the elderly, women in labour or cancer sufferers whose diagnosis is fatefully delayed.
Yes, it is a mad race to the bottom for the working class and already-poor and a mad race to the top for the capitalist class. If they win, they intend to drive workers’ conditions down much, much further.
That is why the working class cannot allow it and has to prepare to fight - not only to defend what we have, but to win back what has been taken. Yes, the bosses have to be stopped in their tracks and forced into retreat. But more than that. The working class needs to prepare to take control of society in order to run it for the benefit of all. It is the only “sane” force which can do so.