Labour’s motion asking for the £20/week “Covid” top-up to Universal Credit to be retained, was passed in the House of Commons, 278 to 0. But this was only because Johnson told Tory MPs to abstain. Of course, proposing the motion was pure politicking by Labour. The government is not obliged to change tack. And so far, its “tack” is to end the top-up.
But Johnson didn’t want a repeat of his shaming by the likes of footballer, Marcus Rashford, as happened when he whipped his MPs to vote against free school meals. In fact this time, 6 Tory MPs joined Labour to vote for the motion. And the so-called Northern Research group of 65 Tory MPs had already told Johnson that cutting this £20 would be “devastating”. They’re worried about losing the seats which they only just gained from Labour in the de-industrialised and destitute “North”...
Already 16 million people rely on that paltry £20 extra credit to keep their heads above the water. If it’s cut, how many more will sink below the surface?
It remains to be seen what Sunak will offer when he presents his budget on 3 March. He has already shown what his priorities are, with another £4.6 billion “fresh financial support package for struggling UK companies” already handed out.
There has been talk of a £500 one-off payment to claimants. But unsurprisingly, there’s no "fresh package for struggling workers". Sunak has repeated the usual Tory line about state welfare being bad for the working class (but not for the bosses!) - and said that he will instead, support “job creation”... yes, by companies who he himself predicts will be cutting another 900,000 jobs this year!!
He has launched a “Build Back Better” campaign for “a post-Covid recovery” - claiming its single most important policy is the vaccine roll-out. However, the underlying cause of the mess we are in, is something there’s no vaccine for: a rotten and degenerate capitalist system. Against it, there is only our collective working class fight back.
…And so too, in the USA
The fact that the US establishment tolerated Donald Trump as president for 4 years and stepped in to “impeach” him only days before he was due to leave office anyway - in “outrage” over the storming of the Capitol - says it all.
US capitalism, plus its servile red and blue politicians, can refuse to tolerate presidents, prime ministers and their regimes all over the world when their interests are threatened, or when these regimes don’t obey the instructions of their US master - chief arbiter of the “world order”.
So their CIA and military duly unseated, executed and waged war against the good, the bad and the ugly, all over the world, and never mind about violating “human rights”! What’s more, they were supported every step of the way by their British counterparts, including those who today point a finger at China or Iran for human rights violations or “genocide”. It’s the Trump tactic of blaming the others when you are guilty.
The most bloody and destructive of these US/British interventions in recent times is the war and occupation against Iraq, which has left parts of the Middle East and most horrifically, Yemen, in continuing deadly turmoil, up until today.
So, if this same establishment was tolerant of Trump and sucked up to him, it only means that he did nothing to disturb their business: the accumulation of profits at home and abroad. And in fact he gave so many tax breaks and cut so much red tape to help them weather the crisis, that they saw no problem in allowing this infantile, misogynous, racist monster to preside over their state apparatus.
But of course, for some of the middle class and the working class, life was already bad and has been made so much worse by Covid. In the absence of a credible political alternative - and there isn’t one in the USA today - this would already have been a recipe for the growth of the far-right, as has happened in every world depression. But Trump helped to whip this up, resulting in a resurgence of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and “America First” MAGA militias - who featured among the motley crew of Capitol invaders.
And yes, they will not go away, even when Trump leaves his stage, especially since Biden and his Democrats cannot and will not resolve the inbuilt contradictions of a system in a prolonged, but ultimately, terminal crisis.
The only real way out of this, is for there to be a resurgence of the working class and its own fighting organisations, on the opposite side of the political spectrum, offering a future free from capitalism and all its restrictive trappings, in the interests of the whole of humanity - and the planet.