Boris Johnson has clearly turned indecision into a fine art. He refuses to sack Priti Patel over the “bullying” scandal whilst at the same time letting his minions brief the media of his intention to downgrade her at the next Government reshuffle in the New Year. The Home Office scandal has already led to the resignation of the Government’s independent adviser, Sir Alex Allen, a retired civil service mandarin whose report concluded that Ms Patel's approach “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying”.
There’s no doubt that Priti Patel did breach ministerial standards. She’s got form on this. Three years ago a former aide received a £25,000 pay-out from the government after claiming she was bullied by Priti Patel who was then employment minister. In February, Sir Philip Rutnam, the Home Office's most senior official, resigned alleging that Ms Patel's conduct towards staff included “swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.
Far from being an exclusively fascist virtue bullying is, in fact, a vital part of capitalist culture. Until the late 1960s it was the basis of discipline at school from the teachers down to the prefects and their class-room toadies. It remains the principle behind order in the armed forces throughout the bourgeois world. In factories and offices it’s called “Management’s right to manage”, which can only be mitigated by strong union organisation.
Whilst Johnson needs as many friends as he can get at the top table as his Government faces an uncertain future now that Trump’s gone, the question of bullying goes right to the heart of the psyche of the ruling class.
counting the days
What has Sir Keir Starmer achieved since he won the Labour leadership contest in April? Absolutely nothing apart from getting away with the continued persecution of former leader Jeremy Corbyn and encouraging a wave of Blairite purges in the constituencies.
Starmer said he would continue along Corbyn’s path. He said he would fight austerity and “unify” the party. Instead, he’s taken the bogus “anti-Semitism” campaign to new ludicrous heights to drive the Corbynistas out of the Labour party. His “ten pledge” programme has long been forgotten. The only “unity” Starmer wants is with the ageing Blairites who still sit in the House of Commons, and the only fight Starmer’s led is against Jeremy Corbyn and those who backed him when he was at the helm.
Though the Johnson government is useless and incompetent it still tops Labour in the opinion polls and barring a miracle Labour looks set for disaster at the local and regional elections next year.
How long can Starmer last as Labour’s leader? Whilst the answer is clearly for as long as the membership is prepared to put up with him, his days must surely be numbered.
US President-elect Joe Biden tells the world that “America is back, ready to lead the world”, but sadly it never went away in the first place. Sure Trump talked about “America First” and made some token troop withdrawals in Afghanistan and the Middle East, but the great “deal-maker” achieved nothing on the international arena apart from strengthening the position of Zionist Israel in the Middle East.
Nor can we expect much from Biden. The popular vote that swept Biden into the White House may develop into a mass movement to halt American aggression in the future. We’ll see. Hopefully the new Biden team will put aside old dreams of regime change and world domination and focus on tackling the coronavirus plague that is sweeping through America unchecked at the moment. We can well do without the leadership of US imperialism, Trump-style or otherwise.