The result of the last British general election was an expression of the deep anger in society. The Tories will quickly find themselves unable to quell this anger as they continue to carry out cuts, laying the basis for major upheavals. Editorial originally published 11 February by Socialist Appeal.
“Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?”
“It is certainly tense. People are upset. People are struggling looking for work. These are tough times,” replied the social worker.
Although these lines come from the script of the film Joker, in many ways they are all too close to real life. These words reflect the current reality – not only in the United States, but in Britain too.
There is a deep anger felt throughout society. This was expressed in the Brexit vote, the Scottish independence referendum, as well as the last general election.
In the election, some were even persuaded to change the habit of a lifetime and vote Tory. This was a cry for help, reflecting a desperate yearning for change from those described as ‘left behind’.
Some bought into Boris’ lies that the Tories would ‘level up’ Britain, providing genuine help to areas crushed by de-industrialisation.
But these illusions in Boris Johnson and the Tories are not going to last long. Tory jingoism and Brexit Day flag-waving will quickly be washed away by events.
Only weeks after the general election, the cracks are already evident. “I feel really let down…I just think we’re forgotten. We aren’t important enough,” said Kelly Green, a mother of two, a former Labour supporter, who last December voted Tory for the first time in her life.
Kelly, together with 218 other workers, was made redundant after BondsHold – a northern iron and steel castings maker – went into administration.
BondsHold had three plants: one in Alston in Cumbria; another in Crook in County Durham; and one in Scunthorpe. All of these areas now have new Tory MPs. Two out of the three were part of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’, but have now turned blue.
Not surprisingly, these sacked workers have not seen hide nor hair of the local Tory MPs. “At the time of need, where are the people who have some clout?” said Ms Green.
Apparently, the Conservative MPs in these constituencies met the business secretary Nadhim Zahawi to ask for help, but they were told in no uncertain terms that a subsidy was impossible. In the end, the workers were left high and dry.
In reality, the Tories’ promise of ‘levelling up’ is more like a ‘levelling down’ – a process that has been going on for decades. Despite all the talk, the ‘left behind’ will continue to be left behind by the Tories.
@DrNeilHudson, recent FT report on the closure of #Bondshold factories, costing at least 77 jobs in Alston. Ms Green, first time Tory in 2019 and now redundant says you haven't been seen and she feels "let down" - what are you doing?https://t.co/Hdl7Rstfvu— Bruno Bentley (@BrunoBentley4) January 27, 2020
These workers, many of whom recently voted Tory, are now faced with broken promises and indifference from Downing Street. This is what all workers have to look forward to in Tory Britain.
Of the 58 seats the Conservatives gained in December, all but three were taken from Labour – some for the first time ever.
People have been sold false promises. But these will be increasingly exposed. Even Johnson’s mantra to ‘Get Brexit Done’ will leave a bad taste as the economy deteriorates.
It has recently been announced, for example, that Jaguar Land Rover is to cut production at two plants. And this is only the beginning.
This will simply add to the anger that exists, which will reach explosive levels. It will add to the disillusionment with Westminster politicians, who are always seen as breaking their promises.
Financial Times reported how Britain’s public finances face a £12 billion deficit by 2022-23, due to lower Bank of England growth forecasts. The Tories talk of borrowing £100bn for investment. But HS2 alone would swallow all that. “There’s no money,” said one former government official.
Any talk of increasing taxes will lead to splits in the Tory Party. The Chancellor, meanwhile, wants to keep a tight grip on the finances and has ordered departments to make 5% cuts across the board.
All of this will test the Tories in the coming months, as the government comes to terms with the ‘new normal’ of slow growth, no investment, low productivity and continuing austerity.
Let down by the Tories; let down by right-wing Labour councils: working people are going to be at the end of their tether. And next time the anger will be directed at the Tories and the capitalist establishment.
The December election was simply a snapshot. We are in a period of sharp and sudden changes. Things can – and will – change very quickly.
Britain is heading for a social explosion. British capitalism is in a parlous state. World capitalism is in crisis, with the prospect of a new global slump looming.
The revolutionary upheavals in France, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iraq and a host of other countries are an indication of what is to come.
We need to prepare. Our task is not to patch up capitalism, but to do away with it. There has never been a greater need to build the Marxist tendency in Britain, amongst the youth and in the labour movement. We call on you to join us in this task.