Sunday, October 30, 2022

Building a fairer society

Echoes from the Chinese Communist Congress

A week after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party drew to a close, the CMG Europe media group assembled experts from different fields to discuss key messages about the direction the world’s most populous country is heading. On this special one-hour show, CMG Europe’s Juliet Mann was joined by China’s Ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, and a host of experts from across the world to consider exactly what that new journey will look like, and how it will impact on relations with the UK and Europe. 

In any discussion about the policies that have steered China’s recent past, the topic of poverty alleviation is impossible to avoid. The numbers are well known - around 100 million rural residents lifted out of poverty in just eight years through 2020; 800 million in the past four decades; a middle class that has swollen to 400 million people. But the achievement goes far beyond incomes, into access to education, clean water, internet and transport connections.
    That is the development strategy of China, one that goes beyond economic growth and puts people first. China cannot develop in isolation from the world and the world needs China for its development. And the message from the country’s leaders in recent weeks has been a firm commitment to that path.
    The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, shared his thoughts on how China and Europe can work together to tackle global problems. He told Juliet Mann: “China will respond to external uncertainties with its own certainty and inject positive energy into world development with its high-quality development and high standard opening up.”
    There are “several key messages that are essential for the future global order: that China vision of a fairer and more inclusive global order; a more cooperative global order; and more importantly about a global order that has a safety net for the left-behind so that everybody can benefit,” said Yin Zhiguang, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University.
    David Ferguson, senior translation editor at the China International Publishing Group, agreed: “A huge amount of emphasis has been placed on shared development, which means that everybody shares the fruits. That was one of the fundamental bases of the whole poverty alleviation programmje. Targeting poverty alleviation was designed to make sure that nobody was left behind. And I think that that fundamental concept of shared development, people-centered development, is something that President Xi places increasing emphasis on.”

Balanced growth

On a panel focusing on China’s economic development, guests discussed how China has ensured that its growth - powering the global economy for the past two decades - has also been sustainable. With a “trilateral, hybrid” structure built around a 60 per cent contribution from domestic private businesses, a 20 percent participation from the state and a further 20 per cent from multinational companies, China has been able to create a modern economy, says Wang Huiyao, founder and President of Centre for China and Globalisation.
    The challenge the country’s leadership is now taking on is about how to adapt governance structures designed for an economy of around $2 trillion for an economy that has now grown to closer to $20 trillion, noted Mark Ostwald, chief economist at AGM Investor Services.
    As it makes those changes, other economies will have the opportunity to learn from them, says Stephen Perry, the Chairman of the 48 Club. “We may find ourselves where we could have been several hundred years ago when we used many of the innovations from China to make our industrial revolution happen,” Perry noted. “It's important, I think, for every country around the world to participate in China in order to learn all these great innovations which are going to be, in many cases, led from China.”
    One advantage China has in the course of its development is the long-term perspectives that its political system affords. The stability offered by the Communist Party means that rather than changing tack every few years, policies can be targeted decades ahead.
    “It's astonishing to see a governance system, a governing party that's able to look forward 27 years and be able to make specific plans for what the country is going to be looking like then,” said China International Publishing’s Ferguson.
    That philosophy is exemplified in the commitments made to education at the Congress. China’s science and education strategy has been in place since 1995 and has evolved to focus on new areas of growth such as artificial intelligence and space technologies.

Environmental leadership

It is in actions, not words, that China’s impact on the global economy is being felt, said Christoph Nedopil, Director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, and nowhere is that more obvious, or important, than the battle against climate change.
    “Over the past years, based on its huge size and strategic capabilities in manufacturing and research, China has seized the opportunity to innovate and to develop globally leading bases for green transport and energy, and [become the largest supplier of solar and wind power in the world. And I think this is just the beginning of a great opportunity for China to scale up infrastructure domestically and internationally,” he said.
    China’s message to the world is to take a holistic view - thinking about people first, the panellists agreed, summed up in a message to the corporate world from Fundan University’s Yin: “Business needs to include much more concerns of the society in general, the social responsibility not only in China, but also globally…engaging with stakeholders instead of shareholders.”

Saturday, October 29, 2022

A pivot for peace

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China is over. A new leadership with Xi Jinping at the helm will lead the 96 million-strong Party as China continues down the road of modernisation and Chinese-style socialism.
    Under Xi's leadership, People’s China has made remarkable achievements in the areas including poverty eradication, scientific and technological innovation and the fight against the Covid pandemic, which has greatly improved the living standards of the Chinese people. Now communists all over the world are looking to see how the Chinese communists and the people’s government that they lead will face the challenges of the next five years.
    China has become a beacon of hope for all the peoples of the world struggling to build their own independent economies without imperialist interference. While Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism use their military and economic might to impose their neo-colonial rule throughout the Third World the Chinese people can, and do, provide the Third World with an alternative source of high technology and economic assistance without the odious strings attached that always go with deals with the West.
    China, whose economy is now second only to the United States, has become a pivot for peace in a world torn apart by imperialist greed and aggression. China is strong but it threatens no one. China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. It stays true to the principle of equality of all countries big or small, strong or weak, and rich or poor, and it respects the development paths and social systems independently chosen by all the world’s peoples. The people’s government is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future.
    This was a congress of victors and we are certain that there’ll be plenty more victories to come as the Chinese people march forward to build a modern, socialist China.

A focus for war

The greedy eye of American imperialism has long focused on Ukraine. In 2014 the Americans used the craven Ukrainian oligarchs and the fascist gangs that they finance to overthrow the elected government in Kiev. Determined to join NATO and tear up all the social gains made by the Ukrainian workers in Soviet days the American pawns could only rely on the rabidly anti-communist neo-nazi gangs for support whose pogroms against the Russian-speaking community led to the anti-fascist uprisings in Crimea and the Donbas.
    Eight years later the Russians were forced to intervene after repeated Kremlin efforts to end the fighting in the Donbas were spurned by the puppets in Kiev and their masters in Washington.
    The Americans armed Ukraine to the teeth. They sent in mercenaries and imposed punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation. They expected Russia to come crawling on its knees begging for mercy. But Putin is still there. The Russians are stepping up their war effort in the conflict that has brought devastation to Ukraine in its wake.
    Now under a hail of Russian missile and drone attacks the Ukrainians, and their shadowy American intelligence controllers, are believed to be planning a false flag “dirty bomb” provocation to justify direct imperialist intervention. They tried and failed in Syria. They must not be allowed to get away with it in Ukraine.
    Communists must lead the call for an end to the fighting and a just and lasting peace in eastern Europe. This can only come with a neutral and de-Nazified Ukraine that recognises the right of Crimea and the Donbas republics to join the Russian Federation and equal rights for all the people of the regions of the Ukraine.

The ones that got away

by Ben Soton

Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris. Hardback: Penguin, London,2022; 480pp; rrp £22. Also available as an audiobook.

As we enter the reign of Charles III it might be worth taking a brief look at his two previous namesakes. Charles II was a playboy King, restored after the brief English Republic. Converting to Catholicism on his deathbed he paved the way for the end of the worthless Stuart dynasty.
    His father Charles I was the first monarch to be executed for crimes against his own people. But what of those who sentenced him to death – the men the Royalists called the “regicides”?
    Some died before the Stuart restoration. Others were arrested for high treason and brutally executed by the Restoration government. And some fled to Europe or New England to escape the wrath of the vengeful Stuarts. Their fate is the subject of Robert Harris’ recent novel Act of Oblivion.
    The title is a reference to the Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion of 1660. Technically the Act pardoned those who had rebelled against Charles I. This was essential considering many of those who invited Charles II to return had fought for Parliament during the Civil War. But those who had signed Charles I’s death warrant were exempt from the Act. Some, most notably Oliver Cromwell and his son-in-law Henry Ireton, had already died. A few including John Milton, known for his seminal work Paradise Lost, were pardoned. Many of those remaining such as Colonel Thomas Harrison and the Puritan preacher Hugh Peter were hanged, drawn and quartered.
    But some got away. Some, like the maverick general Edmond Ludlow, sought sanctuary in Calvinist Switzerland while this book focuses on the fate of Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law Colonel William Goffe, who fled to the English colonies in North America.
    The novel charts their continual shifting from hiding place to hiding place with numerous Puritan settlers taking considerable risks to ensure they avoided capture. The pair are portrayed as defeated revolutionary exiles separated from their families and home unlikely to return. Although this is not the fate of all revolutionaries it has been sadly repeated time and time again.
    There’s a price on their heads and the book also charts the story of their tormentor Richard Nayler who is entrusted with the role of hunting down the regicides. Nayler, a creation of the author, has a personal grudge against Whalley and Gough whom he holds responsible for the death of his wife.
    The novel, which is well researched, gives the reader an insight into the mindset of the major characters. The younger of the two men, William Goffe is ardently committed to the return of the English Republic and believes the year 1666 will see the Second Coming of Christ. The more cynical Whalley becomes more disillusioned in exile and turns to writing memoirs about his time close to the corridors of power under Cromwell’s “Protectorate” pointing out some of its shortcomings. And the sections of the book where Nayler appears delve into the politics of the Restoration Court.
    With considerable hindsight Act of Oblivion predicts the American colonies eventual independence from Britain. But rhe sympathy for the regicides may have been a contributing factor in the colonists’ desire to become independent a century later. Although the book could be regarded as slow moving in places and has a somewhat odd ending, it does give an insight into the period, the story being largely based on fact.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Looking to Beijing

Communists all over the world are looking to Beijing this week. There thousands of delegates and observers have gathered for the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China.
    A Party congress is the most important event in the life of any communist party. The 20th National Congress will chart the course of the People’s Republic of China as it faces the challenges and responsibilities of a world divided by imperialist greed while struggling to deal with catastrophic environmental changes.
    In the Great Hall of the People Chinese communists are laying down their party’s programme for the next five years. A plan that will steer the people’s government as it strives to build a modern China. An economy that is now second only to that of the United States in size and an agenda for peace and socialism that will strengthen all forces for progress throughout the planet.
    China is the pivot for the millions upon millions of working people across the world struggling for peace and socialism.
    China is a major force for peace. It has become a beacon of hope for all oppressed people. It offers economic assistance and medical aid to poor countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has brought real and tangible benefits to millions of people all over the world.
    Cities have been modernised beyond recognition. Absolute poverty has been abolished Vast investments have created new industries to face the challenge of the 21st century and China is, once again, the work-shop of the world.
    The immense wealth of the Western world remains in the hands of a tiny minority of capitalists and feudal lords. Millions upon millions live in poverty in the Third World while their resources are plundered by the big Western corporations.
    In the West millions of people scrabble to earn a living just to keep a roof over their heads, while a tiny elite live lives beyond the reach and often beyond the imagination of most workers.
    We, on the other hand, see a different picture in China. China’s wealth is being used to raise the standard of living of everyone in the people’s republic and help the development of the Third World through genuine fair trade and economic assistance.
    In China we see vast cities with modern offices and factories and equally modern housing for the workers who live there.
    Chinese astronauts circle the globe. A high-speed rail network spans the country. Container trains travel to Europe packed with the goods that fill our shops and markets. International airports link China to the four corners of the world. A growing network of domestic airline services and modern ports serve the seaborne trade that fires the global economy. And a state run education system and a dedicated health service that battled to contain the Covid plague is available to all.
    Some Western communists like to dwell on the mistakes of the past to try to explain why the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of Eastern Europe collapsed in the late 1980s. But we have to move on – to look to the continuing successes of the people’s democracies still marching along the road to socialism – and above all the immense achievements of the People’s Republic of China.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Energy for Life

by John Maryon

All life forms depend upon energy. Humans have used rapidly increasing quantities since our early ancestors discovered fire. Today modern civilizations would collapse without an abundant supply of usable energy. Its misuse, however, can create dangers and threaten to destroy the ecosystems upon which life, including our own, depend.
    Our main source of energy is the Sun. A giant fiery furnace, 93 million miles away, in which nuclei of hydrogen under tremendous pressure and temperature fuse together, in a process known as fusion, to form a deuterium nucleus. This is the start of a sequence of events in which protons then collide with the new isotope to produce helium. In accordance with Einstein 's famous equation, mass is converted into energy in the form of intense heat. This chain of events can continue for some seven-billion years until all hydrogen is converted into helium and our star becomes a red giant.
    All existing commercial nuclear power stations on earth operate on the Fission process. Heat energy is created when a critical mass of heavy radioactive elements is brought together, in a controlled manner, to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. The atoms are split apart, which results in the conversion of mass into energy. One major problem is what to do with the highly radioactive fuel rods. Fusion, on the other hand, produces no long-life radioactive waste. For this reason, and the fact that hydrogen is plentiful, nuclear fusion remains the ‘holy grail’ to meet future energy needs.
    The key to successful nuclear fusion lies in the ability to sustain and contain plasma at temperatures of up to 50-million °C. The Soviet Union played a pioneering role in the late 1960s by developing an experimental 'Tokamak' Reactor in which the plasma was contained by a powerful magnetic field. This approach has been adopted as a basis for further research in a number of countries.
    Refined energy in the form of electricity is clean, convenient and efficient at the point of use. Traditionally fossil fuels, particularly coal, have been burned to produce steam to drive turbines for electricity generation. When transmission and thermodynamic losses are added into the equation the overall efficiency is less impressive. The big danger comes from the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere; carbon that has remained locked in the ground for millions of years is transferred into the environment. Coal has played a major role in providing our essential energy needs for centuries, and we should never forget the skill and courage of those mining heroes who faced danger every day at the coalface.
    Serious situations can arise if energy is used as an economic or military weapon. Nuclear power stations can pose a risk to the environment even under normal conditions – but the unthinkable could result from terrorism or military attack. Currently the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is being targeted with Western-supplied missiles by Ukraine armed forces.
    Each day conveys of tankers leave eastern-occupied Syria loaded with stolen oil plundered by US imperialism, oil which should have been used to finance the rebuilding of that war-torn country. The greed and bare-faced robbery of imperialism knows no bounds as it continues to plunder the world.
    Both Nord Stream 1 (NS1) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) natural gas pipelines were severely damaged by a terrorist attack that is widely held to have been carried out in a special US–NATO operation on 26th September 2022. The action was intended to be the successful culmination of a long-running campaign to stop the supply of cheap Russian gas. Due to a failure however, NS2 could be restored quickly if required. As the supply of cheap reliable Russian gas is reduced to a trickle, large demonstrations are taking place calling for the lifting of sanctions against Russia.
    Despite of massive anti-Russian propaganda by the bourgeois media an amazing event has occurred. At the Oktoberfest in Munich the crowd sang the Russian folk song {Kalinka}. An increasing number, apart from the German Greens, are no longer fooled as they face the prospect of a cold winter and dependence on limited supplies of very expensive US shale gas.
    For decades the USA has been able to dominate the international oil market by controlling price, output and supply. things are starting to change, however. At the recent meeting of OPEC 2, which followed appeals from President Biden to increase oil output and support a selective price cap, the decision was taken to reduce output by two-million barrels per day.
    The days are fortunately numbered for the notorious petrodollar that has supported US domination of world trade and finance. Russia now trades oil not only in roubles but also other currencies such as Chinese yuan and Indian rupees. The replacement of the US dollar will represent the removal of another link in the chains that enslaves the world.
    Until fusion is able to provide an abundance of cheap, clean energy a number of serious problems will remain. Conservation of energy is necessary by avoiding waste and unnecessary use and by improving thermal insulation standards. Importantly, the use of renewable energy is vital to help protect our beautiful blue planet. Such projects can be costly and have a long payback period. This undoubtedly deters capitalist investors who looking for a quick profit would prefer to finance a drive-in junk food outlet. An expanded, fully financed public transport system would cut CO2 emissions dramatically compared with private cars.
    All types of renewable energy have their benefits and drawbacks. Solar power is fine on a nice sunny day but has no output during the hours of darkness. Wind energy has a major role to play but cannot function when the air is still. Hydro-electric power is making an important contribution and can provide great benefit but cannot be applied in flat, drought-ridden terrain. Tidal and wave energy projects can make a contribution, but as with all civil projects great care should be taken to protect nature. The effectiveness of all these measures can often be improved when incorporating pumped storage schemes. The expansion of renewable energy is not helped by the insane, totally unjustified and disruptive attitude of the USA when it attempts to sanction Chinese solar panels on bogus human-rights grounds. It is important to avoid the potential disasters that can arise from fracking projects that can pollute the water table, increase the risk of earth tremors and emit more CO2.
    The most cost effective measures in many cases may come from simple improvements to basic home insulation standards. Amendments to building regulations to improve U-values have improved greatly but further improvements are justified by increasing energy costs. Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps have an efficacy far greater than that of an incandescent alternative. We must not forget that many poor people, the victims of capitalism, just cannot afford the high energy costs of today. To avoid shivering in the gloom this winter we must unite and fight to remove the Tories and redistribute the wealth of the idle rich that they represent.
    Common sense and reality are factors far removed from the collective stupidity and blinkered obsession of most European leaders today. They are apparently still unaware that they have fallen into a trap, set by the USA to destroy their industries and economies, by imposing sanctions against Russia that have backfired. Energy prices would fall by at least 70 per cent overnight if the full potential of Nord Stream 2 could be realised and negotiations are started to end the Ukraine tragedy.
    Hydrogen as a fuel has a number of attractions. It is the most abundant element on earth and when burned as a fuel produces water as a by-product. An alternative to burning the fuel is to convert its energy into electricity directly in a fuel cell. Electricity is generated through an electrochemical reaction. Cars are becoming available in which a fuel cell replaces the drive battery. The infrastructure, however, is not in place to store and dispense hydrogen. Whilst the emissions of such a vehicle would be almost zero, the same cannot be said for hydrogen production itself. The usual commercial method is to extract it from natural gas, which is costly and produces CO2. Another method is to use electrolysis but that requires electricity.
    I have attempted to outline the chief physical considerations for a wide range of fuels used to meet our energy needs. Long-term security without pollution requires far more than relying on technological advances and leaving it up to the 'market' to decide. It requires political policies based upon a scientific, fair and objective analysis of the challenge. It requires a Marxist approach to apply the socialist planning, public ownership of natural resources and democratic control of the mechanisms of distribution to ensure a clean, secure, safe and affordable provision.

The New Communist Party campaigns for the following measures:

• Full Public Ownership of all natural resources and energy companies.

• A total ban on fracking.

• Restore rural bus services.

• Investment to expand the rail network and replace all diesel services with electric.

• Full Public Ownership of train and bus services.

• Greater investment into land and off-shore windfarms, solar power and tidal power.

• Planting trees and creating more green spaces.

• Make all products and packaging recyclable.

• Opposition to the evil intrigues, exploitation and naked aggression of imperialism.

For a just and lasting peace

Trade unions are being urged to support the Stop the War conference in January specifically aimed at mobilising working people around “every effort... to pursue peaceful relations between countries through negotiations and disarmament". The World at War conference that is open to all trade unionists takes it lead from the resolution passed at this year’s RMT national conference which rightly said that “workers have no interest in war with China, Russia, or any other country. Every effort should be made to pursue peaceful relations between countries through negotiations and disarmament”.
    But sadly the first call of the Stop the War coalition is not the immediate ceasefire call of the pacifist community but a demand for the complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Russian troops – which is precisely what NATO wants as well.
    We are in the middle of a hate-campaign not seen since the dark Cold War days of the McCarthy era, We’re being swamped with hysterical anti-Russian propaganda to justify more and more sanctions on Russia and more and more military aid to the Ukrainian fascists.
    The gurus of the mainstream media fill their columns with the usual stories of Russian atrocities to justify Britain’s deepening involvement in the anti-Russian offensive. The Tory government can count on the full support of the other bourgeois parties in parliament. Starmer and his Blairite clique openly embrace NATO and US imperialism while the fake lefters who pose as socialists essentially argue that peace is only attainable on imperialist terms.
    The Blairites and the self-styled “communist” and “trotskyist” movements drum up support for NATO’s war within the labour movement and the anti-war campaigns in the name of bogus Ukrainian leftists while ignoring the very real plight of the genuine communist and left languishing in Zelensky’s jails under Pinochet-style laws designed to crush all opposition to the puppet regime.
    Parroting imperialist demands in pseudo-leftist babble only spreads confusion amongst the millions who want to see an end to the conflict which could set the whole of Europe ablaze and possibly even trigger a nuclear war.
    These sinister forces within the labour and peace movement have long acted as cheer-leaders for NATO and neo-colonialism. Some are dupes who actually believe the nonsense in the bourgeois press. Some believe, with some justification, that it will pave their way to the top of the labour bureaucracy and others are simply hired hands of the intelligence services that monitor and influence working class opinion in Britain.
    Ultimately all these people serve the war lobby within the United States – the so-called “deep state” that represents the most venal and aggressive sections of the American ruling class that seek to dominate the entire world in the name of “globalisation” and the “new world order”.
    Now, more than ever, is the time for a clear call from the anti-war movement for an end to the fighting and a just and lasting peace in eastern Europe. This can only come with a neutral and de-Nazified Ukraine that recognises the rights of the Donbas and Crimean republics to join the Russian Federation as well as equal rights for all the peoples of the regions of the Ukraine.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Liz Truss is for turning

Liz Truss childishly likes to dress up as Mrs Thatcher and pose as the natural successor to the Tory icon that led the Conservatives to victory in the 1980s. But that’s as far as it goes. Believing her opinions were the only ones that count Margaret Thatcher made a virtue out of her own intransigence, telling Conservative Party Conference in October 1980 that "the lady's not for turning", and she got away with it for years. Eleven years in fact – until she was stabbed in the back by her former colleagues and kicked out of Downing Street in November 1990. Ms Truss, on the other hand, certainly is for turning and she’ll be lucky to last out for eleven months.
    The last few days have been a lesson to those who say protests are pointless. At a symbolic level they can by-pass the mainstream media to raise issues on the street that the ruling class would otherwise ignore. At the best they can, indeed, change policies – especially if the protests come from within your own camp.
    The Government’s U-turn over the 45 per cent higher tax rate followed the run on the pound and the panic in the City after the “mini-budget” that was supposed to boost economic growth and ease the cost-of-living crisis. An opinion poll that gave Labour an astronomical 33 point lead over the Conservatives fired the Tory back-bench revolt that has rocked the Truss government and forced the humiliating climb down over the 45p top rate of income tax last week.
    Barely a month has passed since Liz Truss entered Downing Street but she’s already shown how unfit she is for high office. Her crackpot “trickle-down” economics don’t work at the best of times and they certainly don’t work now. The fact there was little support for it within the Establishment shows how far the Tory leader is out of touch with the people the Conservatives are supposed to represent. The row with the new King over his attendance at the UN climate change conference in Egypt next month won’t have endeared Ms Truss with the landed aristocracy either. The Tory grandees see the writing on the wall amid talk about removing Truss before the next election to stave off a Labour landslide at the next election. And now Starmer’s people prepare for office in the mistaken belief that the next election will be a walk-over for Labour.
    But the struggle on the street goes on. Millions are taking industrial action against austerity. The demand for higher pay, public ownership and a health service worthy of a country as rich as the United Kingdom is growing.
    Soaring energy prices mean a bleak winter for working people. Workers face mass unemployment and economic stagnation. Most of the benefit cuts and tax-breaks for the rich remain in the mini-budget are still in place. The Government blames it on the Russians but it was they, and their masters in Washington, which started the Ukrainian conflict in the first place back in 2014.
    Ending sanctions on Russia, cutting military expenditure and closing all foreign bases would go a long way to reversing decline. So as the guns blaze in Ukraine, we have to build the resistance to the Labour leaders who crawl to the Americans and we must lead the fight-back against the union bureaucrats who defend the Ukrainian fascist regime.
    Public ownership is meaningless without a socialist agenda to empower working people and pave the way to revolutionary change. And fighting for peace goes hand-in-hand with that struggle.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Robbing the poor to pay the rich

Jittery markets. A sinking pound. Labour streets ahead in the opinion polls. Just three weeks in and Liz Truss has already set her stamp on Downing Street with a mini-budget that has even enraged the faithful in the Home Counties. A handful of Tory back-benchers sending in letters calling for her resignation to their 1922 Committee.
    Starmer thinks his time has come while Rishi Sunak waits in the wings pondering his next move.
    The Daily Mail calls it a ‘True Blue’ budget as indeed it is. Robbing the poor to help the rich is what the Tories are all about though they usually try to cloak their bourgeois greed with the Union Jack and the sort of pious platitudes Sir Keir Starmer thinks will propel him back into the corridors of power.
    In New York last week Truss said she was prepared to be unpopular at home to take the “difficult decisions” needed to secure economic growth. She’s certainly deeply unpopular and few outside her immediate circle believe that the “difficult decisions” announced by the new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, will do anything to secure economic growth.
    The International Monetary Fund was not amused. It said “We understand that the sizeable fiscal package announced aims at helping families and businesses deal with the energy shock and at boosting growth via tax cuts and supply measures.
    “However, given elevated inflation pressures in many countries, including the UK, we do not recommend large and untargeted fiscal packages at this juncture, as it is important that fiscal policy does not work at cross purposes to monetary policy. Furthermore, the nature of the UK measures will likely increase inequality.”
    While Labour opens up a 17 point lead over the Conservatives in the opinion polls Starmer struts the stage at Labour’s conference in Liverpool to pose as a new Messiah destined to take the country "out of this endless cycle of crisis" through a mediocre package of reforms (like neighbourhood policing and free breakfast clubs in primary schools) that the Blairites believe is enough, along with singing the national anthem, to win back the working-class vote in the northern ‘Red Wall’ and sweep them back to power.
    Blair, of course, rode on the wave of an economic boom and the support of the traditional right-wing blocs that controlled many major unions in his day. Starmer, bereft of any allies in the union movement, has to deal with the global capitalist slump that began with the housing market crash in 2007. His only answer is the usual half-baked Keynesian solutions favoured by the American Democratic Party and Europe’s diminishing band of social-democrats intended to cushion the blows of the austerity regime and do little or nothing to end the poverty crisis in the imperialist heartlands.
    Jeremy Corbyn may be finished. But others are waiting in the wings ready to take Starmer’s place. Andy Burham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, is said to be thinking about using the grass-roots Enough is Enough campaign as a platform for his greater ambitions – to get back into the House of Commons to secure a place in a future Starmer government and secure his place to challenge Sir Keir when the time comes.