Tweedledum and Tweedledee

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10 July 2019

No-one expected that anything would come out of Tuesday's Tory leadership debate on ITV.  And nothing did come out of it.
    Johnson was just his usual bombastic, loose-cannon self, while Hunt put on his best "entrepreneurial" look in an attempt to seem more serious than his rival - but to no avail.  It was not anticipated that either of them would show the slightest interest in the urgent problems that the working class is facing today - and they did not.
    However, the fact that this debate was taking place against the backdrop of the Mail on Sunday's telegram leaks about Trump, helped to highlight how little real difference there is between the two rivals - or between them and the other leading politicians of the British capitalist class, for that matter.

Trump's next poodle?

After all, there we had a former and a current Foreign Secretary.  Both had long been told by their man in Washington how "inept" and "volatile" Trump's regime really was.  But had this ever prevented either of them from wagging his tail in front of the self-proclaimed "great man"?
    As to Hunt's alleged determination to stand up to Trump in this scandal, as opposed to Johnson's obvious reluctance, it turned out to be just empty posturing, when it was revealed that the British ambassador to the US had resigned anyway!
    Ironically, both Johnson and Hunt have been hailing the "bright independent future" awaiting Britain after Brexit!  But "independent" from what?  Clearly not from Trump's aggressive policies against the poor countries.  In fact, both Johnson's and Hunt's idea of an "independent" policy is to continue the long tradition of British governments’ tail-ending of US imperialism's military ventures!
    For instance, both endorsed May's move to join the US in supporting the Saudi dictators' murderous war against the population of Yemen.  Both have been 100% behind the sale of billions of pounds worth of weapons to the Saudi air force since it began its Yemeni bombing campaign.  Both have the blood of the Yemeni population on their hands - for the sake of  preserving the US-British "special relationship" and boosting the profits of British arms manufacturers!
    More recently, the hijacking of a tanker carrying Iranian petrol by the Royal Navy, in Gibraltar, was yet another example of the British government's slavish support for Trump's bully-boy policy against Iran, under Hunt's watch this time.  Clearly, the point of this hijacking was to tell Trump that he can count on the British government against Iran.  Just as Blair chose to be Bush's poodle in the invasion of Iraq, 16 years ago, Hunt and Johnson are offering to be Trump's poodles in his predatory ventures in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Above all, propping up capitalist profits

As to the issues which directly affect the working class majority of the population - jobs, standard of living, housing, etc - the two rivals stubbornly avoid saying anything about them.
    By contrast, the overbidding between Johnson and Hunt over taxes, is particularly significant.  Both are bending over backwards to do the wealthy's bidding.  Johnson promises to cut tax bills for 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 has  anything to say about the recent announcement that the proportion of workers in the gig economy had doubled, to 4.7m, over the past three years alone!  They have nothing to say about this rise in casualisation, because this is precisely what they're aiming at, so as to protect the bosses' profits against the crisis of their own system!
    Take Northern Ireland, for instance.  Both Hunt and Johnson boast they'll resolve the complex question of the Northern Irish backstop in three seconds flat.  But it's 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 to turn Northern Ireland 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!
    These politicians and their Brexit project is just about turning the clock back for the working class.  They represent a dangerous threat for our collective future, a threat that we, workers, cannot allow to go unchallenged.  And 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.