In the bus stops, the canteens, the working-class pubs and clubs, the hairdressers and corner shops – you name it – the conversations are the same: the price of food and energy bills; deteriorating public services; and the spiralling cost of living.
Added to this is the utter contempt for the ‘two morons’ who, since the downfall of Boris Johnson, have been bidding to run the country.
Now, with the Tory leadership contest over, this has been whittled down to one moron: Mary Elizabeth Truss.
She will be the fourth Tory prime minister in six years – a fact that is itself revealing of the depth of the crisis that she will inherit; of the poisoned chalice that she has been handed.
And this crisis is only set to accelerate and intensify – no doubt with a little push from the reckless actions of Truss herself.
It says something that in Britain’s so-called ‘democracy’, our new prime minister was ‘elected’ by less than 82,000 ageing Tory headbangers: the hang-‘em, flog-‘em brigade.
Liz Truss, who is as mad as the rest of this rabid rabble, will now attempt to put her stamp on things, having made all manner of pledges to revive the spirit of Margaret Thatcher – a reincarnation that will resemble more the Addams Family or the Night of the Living Dead.
But Truss’ government will immediately face the most serious crisis that the country has seen in the last century.
And despite the economic calamity facing Britain, like all the cranks running the Tory Party, the new PM promises tax cuts, increased defence spending, and a Thatcherite creed that has already destroyed countless working-class lives and communities.
On top of that, Truss has threatened to immediately suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol. This could lead to a disastrous trade war with Europe – all at a time when the UK economy is already predicted to perform worse than any other in the G20, apart from Russia.
The strategists of capital must be pulling their hair out at this ‘reliable’ pair of hands.
The removal of Boris the buffoon was seen as a step forward. But to now be lumbered with Liz Truss is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
In effect, the ruling class have lost control of the Tory Party to the ‘swivel-eyed loons’, having given the vote to the thoroughly-reactionary membership.
Welcome to the madhouse that is the Conservative Party, formerly considered the most reliable bourgeois party in the world.
Government of crisis
There will be no honeymoon period for Truss, even if she is forced to make some concessions, particularly in relation to Britain’s looming energy catastrophe.
In the face of the impending disaster, this government of crisis will go from bad to worse. It will become even more unpopular than Johnson’s administration. It is even possible that Truss will be dumped before the next election.
Bizarrely, Johnson’s supporters – who believe the ‘Big Lie’ that the former Tory leader was hard done by – think that he could return to power.
Boris clearly harbours such ambitions, of being called to lead the party and the country once again – just as was the case with his hero, Winston Churchill; or as perhaps will be seen with Donald Trump and the Republicans.
The fact that this is a possibility only shows how much the Tory Party has degenerated.
Playing with fire
Truss has also promised to deal with the rising tide of strikes and industrial struggles by bringing in further – harsher – anti-union laws. The new PM has stated that she will not let Britain be “held to ransom by militant trade unionists”.
But such a move could easily backfire, provoking an even-larger movement of organised workers.
The Tories will be playing with fire. The anger and bitterness in the working class has reached explosive levels.
As Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB, the biggest industrial union, has noted, the number of workplaces and sectors voting for strikes reflects a broader mood of indignation and defiance amongst workers.
“These ballot results are off the Richter scale,” Smith stated. “There are just a lot of pissed-off people saying something has to give.”
According to banking giant Goldman Sachs, UK inflation could reach 22% early next year – levels not seen since the 1970s.
On top of astronomical energy prices, millions face a massive cut in real wages, and the dire prospect of being plunged into destitution.
To expect ordinary people to accept this in silence is delusional.
Faced with such economic and social instability, Truss has already hinted that her government is likely to intervene to introduce a price freeze on household energy bills, with state handouts provided to the energy monopolies in compensation.
Such a bailout will come at an eye-watering cost. Some have suggested a figure of £100 billion, even more than the COVID furlough scheme, funded in the short term through government borrowing.
And, most importantly, it is workers who will be made to pay – either through higher bills or further austerity down the line, or both.
As pressures mount, the summer of discontent will turn into an even bigger winter of discontent, with more and more workers forced into action. The question for many will not be “can I afford to go on strike?” but “can I afford not to?”
In such a climate, a precipitous move by the Tory government will only add fuel to the fire. It could even lead to a general strike, as was the case in 1972.
Already, the unions are gearing up for coordinated industrial action across the movement.
If Truss attempts to wage war on the trade unions, she could very well come unstuck. Her predecessor Ted Heath tried that in 1974, calling an election with the campaign slogan: “Who runs the country: the trade unions or the government?”
His government was summarily booted out.
There are parallels with the 1970s, that is true. But in reality, we have entered uncharted waters.
At that time, the ruling class had a degree of control over its political representatives. Today, this is clearly not the case.
The present Tory leaders – those supposed to be running the country – are the most obtuse, stupid, short-sighted bunch of clowns. They could easily provoke an out-and-out social upheaval with their rash, myopic actions.
No doubt there will be sections of the ruling class who will be looking to Labour leader Keir Starmer to help them out of this impasse. And clearly this knight of the realm would fall over himself to oblige.
But a Labour government in this charged situation would also be a government of crisis, as it sought to carry out the diktats of big business. This, in turn, would open up a new convulsive chapter in the class struggle, and for the crisis of British capitalism.
Britain has entered a protracted pre-revolutionary crisis, where all the contradictions will intensify and come to the fore.
This is going to have a massive impact on consciousness, forcing workers to draw revolutionary conclusions.
In the coming period, all tendencies will be put to the test. And all those who base themselves on capitalism will be found wanting.
It has therefore never been more urgent to build the forces of Marxism, in preparation for the stormy events that are to come.