Johnson’s government is imploding, with the resignation of two leading cabinet members last night. Whoever ends up in Number 10, however, faces a perfect storm of stagflation and struggle. We say: Throw them all out – and their rotten system!
Operation Save Big Dog seems to have run into the ground. The resignation of two top Tory ministers – chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid – is a colossal blow to Boris Johnson and his crisis-ridden government.
“On the brink”; “hanging by a thread”; “last chance saloon”: these are just a small selection of the frontpage headlines on the Tory newspapers today, describing Johnson’s plight. The Scum, for once, put it well: “Boris knifed in day from hell”.
The whole rotten episode reminds you of the last days of Rome: an inglorious collapse; moral dissolution and disintegration; a crisis of the regime. The stench of sleaze emanating from Downing Street grows stronger by the day.
Boris emerged from last month’s vote of confidence a wounded animal, with more than 40% of his MPs against him. Soon after, despite all the bluff and bluster, the Tories were then humiliated in the by-elections in Tiverton and Wakefield. The writing was clearly on the wall.
These electoral disasters sent Tory backbenchers into panic mode. Without a dramatic change of course, they too feared that they could lose their seats come the next election.
“I never really thought there was a genuine prospect of losing my seat,” stated one southern Tory MP with a healthy majority. “But now I do think I’m gone. I think there’s no saving it now.”
After months of turmoil and scandal, the (aptly-named) Pincher affair was the final straw for many, with the Prime Minister exposed for attempting to cover-up for the misconduct of one of his parliamentary whips.
Even Boris-supporting Tories have become exasperated at having to constantly lie through their teeth in order to cover for their leader’s deceit, recklessness, crimes, and misdemeanours.
“I’m fucked if I’m ever doing that again,” exclaimed one Tory MP, commenting on the latest mess that they had been ordered to mop up.
And so plans for a ‘coup’ were hatched, with Sunak and Javid its figureheads. A number of other prominent Conservative figures have also resigned, many of whom had previously declared themselves to be Johnson loyalists, adding to the PM’s woes. These ministers jumped before the ship went down, drowning the whole crew.
Sunak, representing the most libertarian wing of the Tory Party, expressed differences with Johnson over how to proceed economically. In his resignation letter, he stated that “our country is facing immense challenges”, which were made worse by the government’s decisions.
He opposed Johnson’s opportunism, stressing the need to “make sacrifices and take difficult decisions”. Clearly the Tory leader was more interested in his own image and interests, yearning for popularity, whilst the ex-chancellor wanted to deliver bitter medicine in response to the crisis.
Rishi Sunak implied that this would be the end of his ministerial career. No doubt this former banker can count on finding himself a top spot in the City if all else fails.
Savid Javid, however, seems to be manoeuvring himself for a stab at the leadership, alongside other hopefuls such as foreign secretary Liz Truss, newly-appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and defence secretary Ben Wallace.
The job of Tory leader seems like a poisoned chalice, however, given the crisis opening up and the savage measures the government will be forced to carry through.
Nevertheless, Johnson is still desperately clinging on like a limpet. In a clear case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, he has plugged the gaps in his cabinet. But his fate is so precarious that he could be gone within the week.
Johnson could be gone within the week / Image: Socialist Appeal
For starters, the 1922 Committee, representing the parliamentary Tory Party, is being elected in the coming days. And a drive is underway to get more anti-Johnson MPs on this body, in order to change the rules to enable another – immediate – no-confidence vote; a vote that Boris would struggle to survive this time.
As one Tory MP stated: “Even among the PM’s most uber-loyalists, there is now a sense that he has to go, and has to go now, before he inflicts any more damage on the party.”
A snap poll by YouGov, meanwhile, found that almost 70% of UK voters believe that Boris Johnson should resign.
Rabid Tory ranks
Far from stabilising the situation, however, getting rid of Boris could open up a Pandora’s Box for the ruling class.
The capitalists and the establishment are desperate to have someone in place who will protect their interests – rather, as is the case with Boris, their own ego and career.
But there is no guarantee of this. At the end of the day, it is the reactionary ‘swivel-eyed loons’ who make up the rank and file of the Tories who get to decide who leads their party. And they are likely to choose someone cut from the same cloth as Johnson…or even worse.
The ruling class are therefore caught between a rock and a hard place.
In such circumstances, the ruling class may decide to put their money on ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer, who has fallen over himself to prove what a loyal servant he would be to the establishment; what a reliable pair of hands he would be for big business.
But the Labour leader also faces an uncertain future, with the outcome of ‘beergate’ hanging over his head.
Overthrow the system
The stormy period ahead will wreck all governments that attempt to operate within the confines of capitalism.
Our task is not simply to get rid of the Tories, nor to bring in a flag-waving big business Labour government, but to overthrow the entire system that they represent.
Experience will push millions into looking for a real alternative to the misery and chaos of capitalism. Already, workers are on the move, mobilising against the bosses’ offensive. And young people, in particular, are being radicalised, looking for a way out of the crisis.
This demands not half measures, as many so-called ‘lefts’ propose, but a root-and-branch transformation of society – a socialist revolution.