Another week goes by, and still the politicians inside the Westminster Brexit bubble carry on playing their self-interested games, showing no concern for what is happening in the real world outside.
Theresa May’s latest “achievement” - the extension of Article 50 until 31 October - opened the way for yet more squabbles and infighting inside her party. As for the Brexit process, it remains stranded indefinitely, when the logical solution would be to dump it.
But now the 1922 Tory Backbench Committee has (yet again) seized the opportunity to question May’s leadership, even if there are so many “wannabees” that they can’t agree on that, either!
Tory history repeats as farce
So the process which Cameron started because of the party’s internal squabbles in the first place, has now brought the Tory squabblers right back to square one.
It’s an amusing irony: the Tories again face the threat of Nigel Farage, this time with a revamped “Brexit Party”, stealing their seats in an EU election. The very seats they sought to save after his 2014 EU success, by stealing his thunder, launching Brexit and playing the racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant card.
What is not so funny, is that more of this whipping up of prejudice is bound to come, as the parties begin their nationalist overbidding in their local and EU election campaigns.
Of course, blaming “outsiders” is a political trick which is as old as the hills. It should, by now, have been dropped into the dustbin of history, since despite today’s petty nationalism and capitalist rivalries, the world economy is so globally integrated, that borders should be obsolete. So it speaks volumes when bigoted politicians point their little fingers of blame at “the other” in order to distract from their own misdeeds.
And now, after two years of messing around with Brexit, with all the waste that this has involved, these same irresponsible Tory politicians have brought politics round full circle!
This, in a nutshell, is what their “sovereign democracy” is all about: petty self-interest. It exposes their utter bankruptcy and the bankruptcy of their system. And while they pretend to defend “the Brexit vote”, they are making sure that the economy of their capitalist class keeps turning a large profit, despite the consequences of their Brexiteering, which, for instance, increased the cost of imports. What is more, they carry on turning the screw of austerity against the working class with a vengeance!
The “will” of the “people”?
So yes, the promoters of the so-called “will of the people” in government have no interest in listening to the “the people’s will” when it comes to matters which drastically affect workers’ daily lives. Not only do they not give a damn about the rising poverty and gross inequality all around them - this is what they are actually promoting.
What Hammond has slipped into his budget since 2016 - and what Osborne wrote in beforehand - is now being implemented. From 6 April, 35 tax, benefit and pension changes came into effect. The winners are the high earners and the losers are the low-earners - particularly those who rely on benefits to survive. They will lose up to £1,845 this year, because of caps and freezes imposed since 2010-11.
The minimum wage, which the Tories have the cheek to call the “National Living Wage” might have gone up to £8.21 for over 25s, but who can live on that, let alone pay rent - especially in London? As for the 3 bands of under-25s, getting £7.70; £6.15; £4.45, or apprentices on just £3.90/hr - for them it’s a recipe for homelessness and despair.
It is also mostly the low-paid who will now have to pay higher contributions (5%, up from 3%) for the so-called auto-enrollment pension. So someone working 35hrs/week on the minimum wage, instead of paying £246/yr, will now pay £440!
Those who need to claim benefits, however, face the worst year ahead of all: if you lose your job, you must survive on Jobseekers’ allowance of £73.10/week - frozen since 2015! And those unable to work, face the notorious Work Capability Assessment which, despite all the scandals, still assesses people who have terminal illnesses as “work capable”, leaving them dying and destitute!
The ongoing economic crisis, exacerbated by politicians’ Brexiteering, means even more attacks against jobs and conditions to come. And neither an election, nor a new referendum, can or will offer a new perspective - just more of the same old rot.
The working class has not made itself felt as an organised force, voicing its own distinct interests, during the course of this whole Brexit fiasco. Yet it is the only section of society which has the power to effect any real change - and begin to clear out the Brexit mess - and its Brexiteers. High time to act!