On the night of 12 December, many people will have spared a thought for the vulnerable and the oppressed - those who will bear the brunt of the austerity and attacks set to come as a result of the election of this cruel Tory government.
On that same fateful night, however, others were riding a different wave of emotion altogether. The sound of champagne corks popping could be heard in the boardrooms of the City of London. Investors and speculators, overcome with joy, were jumping in the air.
This jubilant mood was reflected on the markets. Stock prices rose sharply at the news of a Tory victory. Pound sterling shot up by 2.5% against the dollar.
And with the threat of Labour’s nationalisations staved off (for the time being), shares for potentially-affected businesses soared. BT’s share price rose by 7%. Utility giant Centrica rocketed up by 8.7%. And transport operator Firstgroup saw its share price grow 6%. The FTSE 250 index as a whole also increased by 3.5%.
In addition, a wave of multi-million pound property deals went through in just the first few days following the election. One mansion in London’s billionaire playground of Belgravia was sold for £65 million to a Hong Kong businessman just hours after Johnson's majority was confirmed.
Many private developers and estate agents welcomed the wave of cash that flooded into the property market. Some property deals pursued by high-profile investors had so-called ‘Corbyn clauses’ within their terms and conditions - essentially meaning that once the threat of a Labour government had passed, the deal would be given the green light.
Sigh of relief
As share prices skyrocketed, hungry packs of investors emerged, signalling the start of a new feeding frenzy. Big business investments that had been withheld due to fears of a Corbyn government began to flood in.
The capitalist class breathed a collective sigh of relief. As one observer from inside Glentree International, an exclusive estate agent, commented:
“The feeling was that we have not just dodged a bullet - we've dodged a nuclear explosion. When the guillotine stops an inch from your neck and you get a reprieve, obviously it's just elation.”
Whilst Boris Johnson has proven to be an unreliable representative of big business’ interests, the thought of Jeremy Corbyn entering Number 10 was too much to stomach for the bosses and bankers.
Now this uncertainty has subsided, the capitalists can get back to business. They have a Tory government with a clear majority: one committed to attacking the working class and the labour movement.
Despite the prospect of a hard Brexit and the damage this will inflict on the wider economy, therefore, investors, speculators, and CEOs are all licking their lips at the opportunities that lie ahead to boost their profits.
This was demonstrated by the post-election statement of Carolyn Fairbairn, the head of the CBI, which represents British bosses, who quickly offered her support to Johnson’s new government.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: "After three years of gridlock, the Prime Minister has a clear mandate to govern. Businesses across the UK urge him to use it to rebuild confidence in our economy and break the cycle of uncertainty." #GeneralElection2019— Greg Wright (@gregwrightYP) December 13, 2019
All of this will of course be achieved on the backs of the working class, through the continuation of austerity, low pay, and precarious work, alongside an assault on trade union rights and workers’ rights.
The leaders of the labour movement must begin the fightback against these attacks straight away through strikes, coordinated actions, and mass mobilisations.
The current elation of the capitalist class is the other side of the coin of their fears towards the idea of a socialist Labour government. Big business will do anything and everything to prevent such a government from coming to power, and to blackmail and sabotage any left Labour government that is elected.
The only alternative is to expropriate the assets of these parasites, taking over the key levers of the economy and placing them under the control of the organised working class as a part of a socialist plan of production. This is the vision that Labour must fight for.