Britain

The crisis of British capitalism expresses itself at the economic, social and political level. Its latest political manifestation, the defection of a Tory MP to the UK Independence Party (Ukip), demonstrates the dialectical law of sharp changes and sudden turns. The British establishment has always whipped up xenophobia and racism in an attempt to divide the working class. Today, however, under conditions of crisis,  the issue of immigration and anti-EU hysteria has served to highlight divisions with the ruling class, especially its political representatives.

Another day, another scandal. In the wake of allegations of the political cover-up of child abuse in the 1980s, Teresa May, the Tory MP and Coalition Home Secretary, has announced that there will be a government inquiry into the case. But no amount of inquiries or investigations will be able to repair the public’s trust in the Establishment, which has reached rock-bottom levels after years of seemingly endless scandals amongst those at the top of society. The latest revelations only serve to reinforce the stench emanating from the elites – a stench that reveals how the whole system is rotting from the head down.

Over 100 comrades attended the 4th annual Marxist Summer School in London, hosted by the IMT and UCLU Marxist Society from 20th-22nd June. The theme of this year’s school was ‘A Century of Struggle’ to commemorate not only capitalism’s passing over into imperialist barbarism in World War One, but also the manifold revolutions led by the working class in a period where capitalism has ceased to play any remotely progressive role.

Converted garden sheds, industrial outbuildings and domestic garages are now common features in London's housing market. They are the symptoms of London's housing crisis, demonstrating that capitalism exploits every angle and turns a profit out of the most soulless conditions.

The British press are raging about the number of British youth who may have joined ISIS, the Islamic fundamentalist organisation, supposedly a break-away from Al-Qaeda, which is fighting in Syria and Iraq. Alarms are ringing about the political consequences of having these young men, radicalised and hardened by war and military training, returning to political activity in Britain. It has been estimated that the number of Muslim youth from Europe who have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq number at least in the hundreds.

With falling living standards and more draconian cuts on the way, the Tories have presided over the biggest assault on the conditions of working class people in living memory.

The phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World (NotW) newspaper brought to the surface the real state of things within the British establishment. Three years later, verdicts have now been issued that have found Andy Coulson, former editor of NotW and former Director of Communications for David Cameron, guilty of conspiring to hack phones. Meanwhile Rebekah Brooks, former Chief Executive of News International, parent company of NotW, was found not guilty of all the charges against her.

"I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s 1,000 richest people over the past year." (Phillip Beresford, compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List)

UKIP-mania has swept Britain, or rather, its chattering classes. If we were to form our opinions solely on the basis of those found in the bourgeois media (as the media’s own members do), we would be able to think of nothing but the inevitable rise of UKIP to electoral dominance.

Conor Burns, the backbench MP for West Bournemouth, can only be described as a caricature of a head-banging Tory with a hatred for working class people. Having strongly supported cuts to welfare across the board and been fiercely opposed to increased taxes on bonuses and the super-rich, Burns has now outdone himself once again by attacking a charity for tackling poverty.

Some recent opinion polls have put the Tories ahead of Labour for the first time since 2012. Does this mean that the public has made an historic shift to the right, at a time when the right wing is presiding over possibly the biggest ever fall in living standards and rise in inequality? Is the support for UKIP further evidence of this strange, irrational trend? No, the contradiction between the working class’ interests and their voting intentions is more apparent than real. In reality, the contradiction lies between the working class’ interests and the Labour leadership. This poll is a dire warning to Labour that they must fight on a pro-working class, socialist programme to win back support.

With less than five months to go before Scotland goes to the polls to vote on independence, the Better Together campaign is in a state of panic as the gap between both sides continues to narrow.

For workers and youth, it is clear that the fallout from the 2008 global economic crisis adversely impacts upon the majority of households in the UK. It is plain for all to see: as jobs are lost by the thousands, public services are cut to the bone, and the juggernaut of austerity ploughs on desolating communities, synchronously wealth continues to flow upwards into the pockets of the elite.