Brexit overbidding, a threat to the working class

3 October 2018

There was not a chance in hell that the Tory Party conference would suddenly rally behind Theresa May's banner - and it didn't.  On the contrary, it was far more likely to be used as a platform by the party's warring factions to promote their respective narrow agendas.  And indeed, it was.
    In fact, despite the official speakers' repeated calls for unity behind May and her government, despite the self-satisfaction of their speeches, most of the conference did not even take place in the official hall, which was apparently half-empty a lot of the time.  No, it took place in a bewildering array of fringe meetings, addressed by the many contenders to May's mantle.
    In fact, the list of these contenders is getting longer by the day.  Some have already crossed the Rubicon by resigning from government, others are still in government, supporting May's policy like the rope supports the hanged man.  But either way, the last thing they want for now is to jump in May's shoes - not yet!
    Indeed, who, in his right mind, would want to risk the discredit which will inevitably be attached to presiding over Brexit?  So all the noise they make is just aimed at positioning themselves for a post-Brexit leadership contest.  As to the "policies" they claim to defend against May, whether it is a "no-deal" Brexit, a "Canada-style deal", a "Canada++" or whatever else, they are pure and simple overbidding, with no relevance whatsoever to the real world.

May dances to the Brexiteers' tune

And yet it is this meaningless overbidding between the Tory warring factions which, for years now, has been driving British politics.  It first produced the Brexit referendum itself - and its outcome - and now it is shaping the Brexit saga.
    But at what cost?  More and more concessions to the party's right-wing factions!
    So, under the pretext of restoring some discipline in her own government, the "Chequers' deal" itself was a major concession to the hard-Brexiteers' overbidding, even if it was not enough for the likes of Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox.  Not only did it enshrine the break-up of vital economic links woven over four decades between Britain and the Continent, but it added ridiculous demands which the EU could not possibly agree to.
    May's championing of the "Chequers' deal" at the EU Salzburg summit was, therefore, just posturing, designed to keep the Tory right on her side, but knowing full well that she would get nowhere.  And so was the vengeful tone of her speech on her return.
    Then, her next step, in the run-up to her party's conference, was another concession to the Tory right.  Not only did she refuse to change anything to her "hostile environment" policy against migrant workers after the Windrush scandal, but she outlined a new immigration policy which, if implemented, will deprive millions of workers of their rights and put them at the total mercy of their employers.

Workers won't pay their Brexit bill

Of course, right from the beginning of the Brexit saga, the working class has always been considered to be a “legitimate” target for its promoters.
    From Cameron to May, the Tories' policy of driving a wedge between British and EU workers and between EU and non-EU workers, was already aimed at splitting the ranks of the working class and undermining its ability to fight exploitation.
    But now that the Brexit deadline is getting closer, the Tory politicians are increasingly showing their hand.  May's Brexit minister, Dominic Raab is a case in point.  Raab had already made a name for himself by demanding that all the rights granted to workers as a result of EU regulations should be scrapped.  But at a Tory party conference fringe meeting, he came up with a proposal to turn Britain into the "Singapore of Europe", by cutting the rate of corporation tax to 10%, down from its already ultra low level of 19%.
    Likewise, at other fringe meetings, Johnson and other hard Brexiteers have been advocating more tax cuts for the wealthy.  Meanwhile, from the platform of the official conference, Hammond was insisting that its programme of cuts in welfare budgets would go ahead as planned - this, despite the fact that poverty is officially on the rise!
    Either way, Brexit means that the rich stand to get richer at the expense of the poor who will get even poorer.  But it also means that the competition between British and European bosses will become much more tense.  And the next thing these politicians will tell workers is that they have to make themselves more "competitive".  While companies will pay less tax, workers will be expected to work more for less!
    The working class has no reason to allow the politicians and their capitalist masters to get away with this.  Since someone will have to foot the bill for Brexit, let them do it!