Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Nightmare on Downing Street

Boris Johnson achieved his childhood ambition when he stepped into Downing Street this week. The successor to Mrs May has called on all Tories to close ranks around his new government that he says is going to “Deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”. But Johnson can’t deliver Brexit. He can’t unite his own party let alone the country and most pundits believe that the new government will be brought down in the autumn when Remainers on both sides of the House of Commons combine to block a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
The Johnson camp talk about winning better withdrawal terms from Brussels but none of them seriously believe it’s going to happen. They say that the only alternative is to walk out on ‘no-deal’ World Trade Organisation terms – which is what we thought we were voting for in the first place. But that’s not going to happen either. The Remainers, who’ve been working day and night to reverse the results of the historic 2016 referendum, now have the numbers in the Commons to stop a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
All the Labour leaders are now in the bag, The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, and the maverick MPs who have left the mainstream parties over Europe can now overturn the Government – whose parlous majority of two includes the 10 votes of the bigots from northern Ireland.
The Johnson team tell us that whilst Boris likes to play the fool a shrewd intelligence lies behind his oafish persona. To give him a common touch they call him “Boris” or “BoJo”.
But Johnson’s rivals prefer, in an equally childish way, to call him the “Heffalump” or “Bunter” in mocking reference to the new Tory leader’s supposed conduct and girth.
Johnson may not be an Einstein but he can clearly add up, so he must know that he simply cannot achieve in 100 days what Mrs May failed to get in her two and a half years in office.
Some might point the finger at the incompetence of the Tory Brexiteers who have been clearly out-manÅ“uvred by the Remainers and the Europhile Establishment. But for us the lesson is simply that workers can never rely on any other class to defend their interests. The independent working class campaign to leave the European Union (EU), which the New Communist Party argued for time and time again over the years, was dismissed by those who tried to build an anti-EU platform with right-wingers, reactionaries and racists in the name of “broad campaigning”. Now, very late in the day, they understand the need for a Left Exit campaign to counter the Brussels propaganda that most of our unions have embraced.
In 2016 we took part in a referendum that asked a simple ‘In or Out’ question. Fifty-two per cent of the voters elected to leave the EU. We don’t want another referendum. We want a general election and a Labour government that respects the will of people.
In 2016 millions of people voted decisively to leave the EU. The alternative is the EU with its austerity regime, the highest food prices in the world, ham-strung unions, and mass unemployment in Greece, Spain, Italy and throughout eastern Europe. We voted for Brexit. That’s what we want.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

People’s Power Defends Libraries!

By John Maryon
Waving the Red Flag in Ipswich library

Manchester 's Chetham Library is considered to be the oldest public library in Britain. The British Library is the UK’s largest and the national institution holds over 200 million items, including 14 million books. The Mark Memorial Library in London holds an invaluable collection of books, magazines and newspapers dealing with Marxism and working class history. Since 2010 more than 700 libraries have closed in Britain, with the loss of 800 jobs. Today many of our public libraries are under threat as cash strapped county councils cutback their services.
Public libraries help to educate, provide information, act as community hubs and enable readers to enjoy great literature that they may have been unable to afford to buy. An increasingly important role is the provision of digital access for those wishing to improve their computer skills or who do not own a computer – especially those jobless people forced to apply for work online. Our libraries are committed to educating young people so they may grow up to appreciate the beauty and form of the written language. They provide a source of enlightenment that gives the poor access to knowledge that would otherwise remain within the domain of the rich and privileged.
Essex County Council (ECC) planned to close 25 libraries and to convert others into voluntary run status, but did not expect the scale of determined opposition to the measures. Colchester saw the Young People's March against these plans. Children chanted “no ifs, no buts, no Essex library cuts” as they marched through the town accompanied by a bagpipe player and bongo drums. A second event, one of many, saw over 600 people campaign for 'Save our Essex Libraries' outside city hall in Chelmsford at which they made their voices heard.
After months of protest and demonstrations of people power ECC has finally dropped its plans to close 25 libraries. This follows over 21,000 responses to the council's public consultation and petitions signed by almost 60,000 people. The council is to invest £3 million into the service and has said that no libraries will close for five years. Campaigners remain concerned that some small ones could still be handed over to voluntary workers and lead to stealth closures. They have asked for assurances that all libraries would continue to employ paid professional staff.
Within three of East Anglia's main libraries, Colchester, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, the {New Worker} is proudly on display. Donated by local comrades, the newspaper is available to read in their reference sections. We value and appreciate the decision of these institutions to allow an alternative viewpoint from that of the bourgeois press mass media. Would other comrades consider approaching their own local library to offer the {New Worker} as a donation?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Troubled Waters

Although the results of the Tory leadership contest won’t be declared until next week, Boris Johnson looks set to win the ballot in the race to fill Mrs May’s boots in Downing Street. Johnson says his first act as Prime Minister will be to press forward on Brexit. The Conservative front-runner insists that he would ensure Brexit happens “come what may” by the autumn deadline and he’s vowed to take Britain out of the European Union (EU) by 31st October “do or die”.
            But there’s no majority in the House of Commons for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Nor is there a majority for any other option on the EU in this fractious parliament. The unofficial factions in the Commons that regularly defy the wishes of their own leaders on both sides of the House cannot agree on Brexit nor, indeed, anything else at the moment. This is what brought Theresa May down in the first place. What chance has Johnson of succeeding in pushing Brexit through when others have failed over the last two years?
The Johnson team tell us that whilst Boris likes to play the fool a shrewd intelligence lies behind his oafish persona. His latest wheeze is to threaten to suspend parliament in order to force through Brexit against the will of MPs. Although the prime minister could ‘prorogue’ parliament to prevent MPs from blocking a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it would plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.
The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, has stated that he will not permit Parliament to be prorogued in such a way. Prorogation is, however, the gift of the monarch, who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, not the Speaker. Refusing the advice of the sitting premier challenges one aspect of the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament whereas ignoring the views of the Speaker challenges another.
Former Tory prime minister John Major threatens to seek a judicial review to stop any arbitrary suspension of parliament and wilder Remainer politicians say that if prorogued they would meet in another place, such as Central Hall Westminster, for a ‘Rump’ session to block Brexit.
What the Johnson government will actually do remains to be seen – but Johnson would be playing into the Remainers’ hands if the Brexit issue is subsumed into a crisis over Parliamentary authority. Johnson knows the only way out of the impasse is another general election and he clearly hopes to side-line the Brexit Party by totally embracing their ‘no-deal’ departure demands.
We have no problem with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. That’s what the people voted for in the 2016 referendum and that’s what we want. The problem is that the Tories cannot deliver it.
Meanwhile, the Remainers within the labour movement are on the march. The Blairite majority of Labour MPs have always supported membership of the EU. Now the Europhile leaders of most of our trade unions are moving to push the Corbyn leadership to follow suit.
In June the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) that largely reflects the thinking of the Corbyn leadership rejected Brexit under the slogan of “Remain and Rebel”, which is just a variation of the “Another Europe is Possible” drivel that third-rate left social-democrats in Greece, Germany and France use to justify their treachery.
For us the issue is clear. We want a general election now to get Labour in and the Tories out. We want Labour to stand by the people’s vote to leave the EU without any ifs or buts. And the surest guarantee of Brexit is a massive majority for Labour at the next election.