Sunday, July 19, 2020

Grovelling to Uncle Sam

LICKING THE BOOTS of the Americans has always been second nature to the leaders of the Conservative Party. Now it seems that Labour is going down the same path. If anything, Sir Keir Starmer has outdone Boris Johnson in backing the ban on Huawei and the nonsense about it being a Trojan Horse for Chinese intelligence that the Americans have spread to justify upping the ante in their vicious trade war against People’s China.
Brexit is a golden opportunity for Britain to expand its trade all over the world. A UK–China Free Trade Agreement would clearly be of great benefit to both sides, along with similar agreements with India, Russia and all our old Commonwealth trading partners. But Johnson clearly can’t see beyond a one-sided trade agreement with the USA. Now even that’s in doubt, as it all hinges on Donald Trump’s re-election in November and at the moment he’s trailing well behind his Democrat rival, Joe Biden, in the opinion polls.
Joining Trump’s new Cold War effectively ends hopes of a new trade bonanza with China that could have provided the basis for a genuinely independent post-Brexit British economy. Now all Johnson can put on the table to replace the Treaty of Rome is a third-rate ‘Treaty of Washington’ that will open up British markets to US vulture capitalism for little in return apart from cheap food which we could get from any country in the world under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.
Bourgeois politicians and their media lackeys are now churning out the usual lies to justify imperialist confrontation, backed by agents of imperialism posing as Hong Kong “democrats” or Uighurs claiming to have fled from Chinese “oppression”. Meanwhile supporters of the Palestinian cause are branded “anti-Semites” and calls for an end to the war in Yemen are simply ignored.
Communists call for major cuts in military expenditure, the scrapping of Trident, the withdrawal of all British troops from the Middle East, and an end to trade wars that can only lead to more unemployment and economic stagnation. The cuts in the arms budget should then be used for peaceful and civil purposes and creating jobs for the whole of society. But the Achilles’ heel of British imperialism lies in the working class. The labour and peace movement can, and must, stop the drive to a new Cold War.

If not now, when?

Over 45,000 people, many of them elderly, have officially died from the coronavirus plague. But the UK recorded 65,000 more deaths than usual in the last three months, so the true figure may be much higher. Whichever way you look at it, Britain has suffered the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and one of the highest fatality rates in the whole world.
Nearly 20,000 people are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 in care homes in England and Wales. We also have one of the highest death tolls in the world amongst health and social care workers during the pandemic. At least 540 frontline staff have died after contracting the coronavirus in England and Wales – second only to Russia, which has recorded 545 deaths.
Thankfully the worst seems to be over, at least for the time being. So now is the time for an independent enquiry into the Government’s handling of the crisis. Boris Johnson agrees but not now. He told MPs: “I do not believe that now in the middle of combating, still as we are, a pandemic is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry, but of course we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened.”
Now is the time. Justice demands answers, whether Johnson likes it or not.

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