Following a long string of scandals, most recently the infamous Christmas party, the stench of Tory corruption has become foul. Trailing behind in opinion polls, and reeling from recent electoral defeats, the fate of the Prime Minister now hangs in the balance.
Despite winning a formidable 80 seat majority in 2019, this government is one of crises and splits. Many Tory MPs were swept in on healthy majorities in 2019 that have since been quickly eroded. This has created a mutinous air in the party, with the knives now out for Johnson.
No free lunch
Already there is talk about a challenge against Johnson’s leadership. Without a doubt, City of London golden-boy Rishi Sunak and Tory-membership favourite Liz Truss are mobilising their forces in preparation for a leadership contest.
The issue of corruption, however, is not restricted to just Johnson, it is endemic within the party. One only has to glance back at the past year for countless examples of corruption and sleaze across the board.
Liz Truss, for example, was recently found to have dined with foreign diplomats on an extravagant £3,000 lunch at an exclusive Mayfair club, all paid for by public funds. Presumably the pay of £82,000 a year given to MPs simply isn’t enough for a meal befitting a Tory minister.
Liz Truss demanded her officials approve a £1400 lunch with a foreign diplomat at a struggling Mayfair club despite them advising against it. The club is owned by environment minister Lord Goldsmith's half brother Robin Birley who gave £20k to Johnson's leadership campaign— Will Thorpe (@withorpe) January 2, 2022
Despite objections from civil servants as to the extravagant cost of the lunch, Truss reportedly insisted that they must use the prestigious club. In exchange for her patronage, the venue agreed to cut the bill to £1,400, on condition of immediate payment.
Later it was revealed that the club owner – millionaire aristocrat Robin Birley – just happens to be a significant donor to the Tories, and half-brother of Tory minister Zac Goldsmith; and that his club had posted a six-figure financial loss that year.
This is just one example – out of many – of the cronyism that runs through the party.
In the face of a soaring cost of living, it has never been clearer that there is one rule for them, and another for the rest of us.
Rotten to the core
This comes at a time where the cash for curtains scandal is once again in the public eye. The Tories’ own inquiry into the matter came to an end with the bold claim that it will be sure to “criticise [the] prime minister’s conduct”.
Time and time again the Tories are mired in scandals. And time and time again they are simply given a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again!
This is because the sleaze of the Tory Party is far from being an unfortunate mistake or a mere coincidence. It is a product of the money grubbing capitalist system itself, of which the Tories are faithful servants.
Corruption has always been a feature of capitalism, serving to grease the wheels between the rich and powerful. Only in the past, the representatives of capitalism were simply better at keeping their dirty dealings out of sight.
With the decline of British capitalism, the party that once represented the most far-seeing strategists of capital has been transformed into a gang of the most degenerate little-Englanders, all looking to personally enrich themselves and their cronies.
With the crisis of capitalism producing deep splits within the Tories, it has become harder for them to keep a lid on their stinking cesspit of corruption.
It is true that some layers of the party have spoken out against the worst excesses of Tory corruption. Sunak himself stated that the government “needs to do better”.
Ultimately though, this is an attempt at damage control; to make moves against the worst offenders to ensure that the rest of the party tops and capitalist establishment can continue with business as usual.
Capitalism is corruption
Undoubtedly, there will be more scandals emerging in the coming months and years that will exacerbate the Tories’ decline in the polls and, subsequently, the divisions within the party.
After years of austerity, corruption, and economic crisis, millions of workers are all too aware that the Tories don’t represent their interests. But with Starmer’s Labour acting as a ‘loyal opposition’ – i.e. providing no opposition at all – it is easy to see why many write off politics and political change altogether.
The solution though, is not to reject the political struggle, but rather to campaign for a bold socialist programme throughout the labour movement.
The fact of the matter is, capitalism is corruption. Only by throwing away this rotten system can we make the sleaze and corruption that permeate politics today a thing of the past.