Things are getting worse for Theresa May and her Tory government. There is hardly a day that goes by without some kind of crisis or setback.
Brexit has overwhelmed the Tory government. Its fate appears to be continually in the balance. Every time they come up with a suggestion, it is always kicked into touch by Brussels. For example, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, declared that all talk of a bespoke trade deal is “pure illusion”.
The ongoing balancing act between the two factions of the Tory Party is certain to end in tears. David Davis tried to reassure everyone that there will be no “Mad Max” Brexit, but few believe him. The failure to address the question of the Irish border or restore the Stormont government in the North of Ireland is adding to the uncertainties.
The government is now facing a defeat in the commons over the issue of the European Customs Union. Tory Remainers are threatening to rebel. Theresa May, in turn, is threatening to turn the question into a vote of confidence. This is dangerous territory. One false step and the government could fall or be left without authority.
The future looks increasingly bleak. The government has admitted that economic growth in the last quarter of 2017 was rather less than they had predicted.
At the same time, the situation facing the working class is becoming increasingly difficult. Unemployment is up by the largest amount in five years, and employment and productivity growth have slipped back.
Wage growth has only gone up slightly in the last quarter, from 2.4% to 2.5%. This is an average, and is still below the rate of inflation. This means real wages are still falling, following a decade of further falls. The Bank of England has warned that economic uncertainty will knock 5% off UK wage growth by the year end.
Investment is flat. Bosses are still sitting on a cash pile of £700bn. When they do invest it is not in productive industry but in speculative gain. They have no interest except making money.
The ugly face of capitalism
The capitalists hold workers in contempt. This was again revealed by the finance director of Carillion, Richard Adam, who stated that he considered pension payments a “waste of money”. The directors of the failed outsourcing company instead chose to pay “mega dividends” and were boasting to the City of London about doing so.
Frank Field MP said auditors and regulators were “mere spectators – commentators at best, certainly not referees – at the mercy of reckless and self-interested directors”. But this has always been the case. Bosses’ greed has always trumped regulation.
Unite the Union has raised concerns about “missing” pension payments, which had been deducted from members’ pay packets before Carillion’s collapse but had not reached the retirement scheme.
“We need to know what has happened to these payments, possibly involving more than £1m,” said the trade union’s national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe. “At present, they appear to have mysteriously disappeared into the financial abyss.”
What Jarrett-Thorpe real means by “financial abyss” is the pockets of the bosses.
It was recently revealed that a significant proportion of children from working households go to school hungry. At the same time, London now boasts more billionaires than any other city in Europe. The average pay of a FTSE 100 boss rose to £5.4 million last year. The whole thing is obscene.
Young people are acutely aware of being the first generation in living memory to have lower living standards than their parents. No wonder there is growing anger and bitterness in society.
This was even reflected at the recent Brit awards, where Stormzy - the 24-year-old winner of Best British Artist and Best British Album - launched into an attack on Theresa May over the Grenfell Tower tragedy. “We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this,” the grime artist roared during his performance. “What, you thought we forgot about Grenfell?”
“The [Grenfell] event has gone beyond the status of a disaster, beyond a tragedy of fire safety or construction failure or housing policy,” stated Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard. “It has become a symbol of the times, a receptacle for everyone’s political bitterness, alienation and craving for class revenge.” He went on: “All we can hear is ferocious language of dissent.” (23/2/17)
To hell with capitalism
The whole capitalist system stinks to high heaven. Workers are been exploited, squeezed and clobbered while the bosses run off with millions. “To hell with the workers” is their motto.
We say: to hell with the capitalist system. It is the cause of all our problems.
Labour must give expression to this anger. It should lay the blame where it belongs. It must not attempt to patch up a system built on greed and brutality towards the most oppressed.
A Labour government should take over the top 150 monopolies, banks and insurance companies without compensation to these fat cats. They should be run not by bureaucrats but under workers’ control and management.
This will then allow us to plan our economy in the interests of the majority and not the profits of a few. Only in this way can we quench the anger that exists and create a better life for all.