Meaningful votes? no, meaningful action by the working class is required!

14 June 2018

They say the fire at Grenfell Tower was the worst civil disaster in Britain in a century.  One year later, Theresa May says, yes, she should have been more apologetic towards the victims.
    As if her “sorry” could mean anything!  Grenfell happened because politicians, just like her, only see the population as an "electorate", to be used and abused in order to keep the same politicians and their class of money-grabbers in power.
    They wouldn’t and didn’t listen to Grenfell residents’ repeated warnings.  For them, such people are not “worth” taking notice of.  But of course it was their profit first, safety last, one failing after another, capitalist system, which made Grenfell Tower a catastrophe waiting to happen.
    And yet, even after this appalling tragedy, it could happen again.  Out of 312 similarly-clad buildings identified after Grenfell, only 26 have had their dangerous cladding fully removed, and just 3 have had replacement panels installed.
    Actions speak louder than words.  The bosses and their government clearly do not act in the interests of the working class.
    And so we come to the latest Brexit escalation.  Where again, politicians pretend to represent the interests of “the people”.  As if it was in “the people’s” interests to have more restrictions, higher costs, fewer jobs, poorer prospects for medicine, education, science and cooperation and more borders, in a world which is necessarily interconnected!

Meaningless votes

This week the issue turned around the meaning of “meaningful” votes.  Which, thanks to the widening divisions in the Tory ranks, had the potential of losing Theresa May her “meaningful” role in government.
    Indeed, this was the fear, if parliament’s “Remainers”, in the words of the Tory Brexiters, were able to “scupper” Brexit by voting for a Lords’ amendment which aimed at giving parliament the final say at the end of the negotiating process.
    So May managed to get 14 Tory “Remain” rebels to close ranks around her and vote with the Brexiters against the amendment.  It thus fell by 298 votes to 324 and May is apparently safe, for now...
    But the joke is that the Remain rebels only agreed to play ball because May gave them an assurance that parliament would still be allowed a “meaningful say” via another, new amendment, which would be written by her Attorney General and proposed, again, by the House of Lords...  So what happens when that one comes down to the Commons?
    Of course, these parliamentary to-ings and fro-ings and the squabbles in the Tory ranks, which even led to another ministerial resignation this week, delay the Brexit process yet further.
    Already May has reluctantly had to accept a “backstop” position - meaning that Britain can remain in the EU customs union beyond 2021, much to the dismay of David Davis.  And after that, everything still depends on Northern Ireland: whether it remains in the customs union, united at last with the South, or whether there is a hard border somewhere...  But both scenarios are unacceptable to one set of politicians or another.  So even if these current Brexit dilemmas are resolved there are far worse, maybe even insurmountable, ones to come...

The real meaning for us

That said, whatever happens down the road, the working class is already paying and will be made to pay more.
    Of course, May claims that she will get “Britain” the “best Brexit deal”, in all “our” best interests and it will even be “a good deal for jobs”!  Never mind that the only deal on the table will be one which delivers for the bosses, and thus by definition, not the rest of us.  But the cost of Brexit is already out there.  It’s not just the divorce bill, nor all the other billions like future tariffs, duties, lost trade, cost of inflation, the exit of foreign companies, etc., etc.  But worse.  Brexit will be used (if it isn’t used already) as the excuse to cut jobs to the bare bone everywhere and clamp down on our already poor conditions of work so as to maximise profits for shareholders in the context of their ever-worsening economic crisis - whether due to Brexit or not.
    Already there is a foretaste of things to come.  Beyond the lies of the official employment statistics, which claim record employment (yes, record precarious employment!), jobs disappear daily.  Not just in retail (House of Fraser, M&S, Mothercare, Toys R Us, etc...), but in the whole economy.  BT announced 13,000 job cuts, Jaguar Landrover is cutting 1,000 jobs and moving Discovery production to Slovakia, Rolls Royce which makes engines for the European Airbus and Eurofighter Typhoon jet is cutting 4,000 engineering jobs, etc.,
    One way or another, we are being hit in advance.  Which is why we need to identify our allies - workers regardless of language and nationality - and close ranks around our own class to prepare to hit back.