Against their race to the bottom!

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3 July 2019

It is no big news that the Westminster Brexiteers are cooking up a race to the bottom on workers’ backs.
    What did their Trump-like pledge to "make Britain great again" mean, if not that they planned to boost the profits of British companies, currently threatened more than ever by the world capitalist crisis?  And how can they possibly do this, while having to face the exorbitant cost of breaking up the comprehensive economic ties which have been built between Britain and the Continent over the past 50 years or so?  How, if not by driving down our conditions and standards of living as much as they can?
    That Brexit would become the pretext for yet another turn of the screw of exploitation on the working class has been on the cards right from the very beginning of this whole saga.  And it is no coincidence if, today, the Brexiteers are represented by demagogic spongers like Farage, greedy millionaires like Hunt and privileged toffs like Johnson and Rees-Mogg: what these self-serving politicians have in common is their total contempt for the rest of us, workers, and an abject willingness to please their capitalist masters.
    In any case, this is certainly what today's contest between the contenders for May's mantle is showing us.

Propping up capitalist profits...

So, for instance, there is the  overbidding between Johnson and Hunt over taxes, which is particularly significant.  Both are bending over backwards to find ways of doing the wealthy's bidding.  Johnson promises to cut tax bills for the small minority of very rich taxpayers, while Hunt pledges to cut the rate of corporation tax to 12.5%, thereby making it the "lowest among the industrialised countries"!  And both have plans to cut the "tax burden" on capital gains - the main source of the capitalists' already overinflated incomes!
    Of course, by contrast, neither of them had  anything to say about last week's announcement that the proportion of workers working in the gig economy had doubled to 4.7m over the past three years alone!  They had nothing to say about this rise of casualisation, because this is precisely what they're aiming at, so as to boost the bosses' profits further!
    Take Northern Ireland, for instance.  Both Hunt and Johnson boast that they'll be able to resolve the complex question of the Northern Irish backstop in three seconds flat.  And it's certainly not by doing the obvious - that is, by reuniting Northern Ireland with the Republic, from which it should never have been carved out in the first place!
    No, on the contrary, they want Northern Ireland to remain occupied and they want to turn it into a profit spinner for British capital: Johnson, for instance, has come up with the idea that Belfast could become the centre of a Special Economic Zone, like Singapore - i.e., virtually tax free for the bosses and with no rights for workers!

...turning the clock back for workers

At the same time, again significantly, both Johnson and Hunt have gone out of their way to reassure the Northern Irish bigots that they will protect the existing ban on abortion in the province.  This, of course, is a sop to the DUP in the hope that these arch-reactionaries' will carry on supporting the government in Westminster.
    But there is more to this attack against Northern Irish women than meets the eye.  In his efforts to woo the most bigoted Tory members, Hunt has also come up with the idea that he might consider supporting new legislation covering the whole of Britain, this time, which would reduce the legal time limit for an abortion from 24 to 12 weeks.
    If this was allowed to happen, it would be a catastrophic attack against women's rights.  Better-off women would always be able to find a way around it by travelling to the Continent.  But for working class women who cannot afford this luxury, this would effectively turn the clock back many decades into the past!
    So, the more the two contestants posture over their competing hard-Brexits, and everything else, the more obvious it becomes what they really have in store for society: a raft of attacks against women, against migrant workers, as well as attacks against the jobs and conditions of the working class as a whole.
    These politicians and their Brexit project do not only represent a political past which has long exceeded its sell-by date.  They also represent a dangerous threat for our collective future, a threat that we, workers, cannot allow to go unchallenged.  Whether this threat is successfully countered will depend entirely on us and on our determination to unite our ranks and use our collective strength in the coming period.