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Editorial: The British ruling class is sailing towards uncharted waters

BRITAIN’S political crisis intensifies by the day as the most powerful sections of the ruling class continue to pursue two twin aims: first, to retain as much alignment as possible with the pro-big business, “free market” rules of the EU single market if Brexit cannot be prevented altogether; and second, to stop Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party into office at the next general election.

The two aims are related, because the most intolerable prospect for Britain’s monopoly capitalists is of socialists in 10 and 11 Downing Street, free from EU treaties and rules and putting the interests of workers and their families before those of wealthy shareholders. 

A subsidiary objective was to prevent Boris Johnson from winning the leadership of the Tory Party, because such a maverick egotist could not be relied upon to undermine or dilute Brexit. 

This now appears to be a lost cause as Tory Party members rally to him as their leader most likely to take Britain out of the EU.

Thus we sail towards uncharted waters, where the British ruling class can no longer rely on the Tory Party to represent its interests fully in Parliament and government.

Fortunately for our rulers, however, they can still rely on a significant number of MPs and lords to carry forward the struggle to keep Britain tied to EU rules and to keep Corbyn and his cohorts out of government office.

Boris Johnson’s threat to suspend the Westminster Parliament in order to allow Britain’s EU membership to lapse automatically on October 31 is a double-edged sword. 

Proroguing Parliament can be used for reactionary purposes as ministerial decisions are taken without proper scrutiny or accountability.

It could also be used to enact the “popular sovereignty” of the June 2016 referendum result, adding substantially to the depleted powers of the Westminster, Scottish and Welsh legislatures in the process.

Putting no trust in the integrity of a prime minister Johnson might be a very good reason for limiting his room for manoeuvre as the latest “Brexit day” approaches.

But make no mistake, the motivation of many MPs from Chancellor Philip Hammond to Labour MP Hilary Benn is not to uphold the alleged “sovereignty” of the Westminster Parliament. 

It is to cancel Britain’s departure from the EU by any means necessary, whether by parliamentary resolution or a second referendum.

At the same time, the disgraceful campaign to tar Corbyn and his staff as enablers or practitioners of anti-semitism rumbles on. 

Those Labour MPs and peers who queue up to appear on the BBC and Sky to slander their own party and its leader know full well that they are undermining Labour’s election prospects. 

They might be excused were they able to bring with them a shred of concrete, verifiable evidence of Labour Party members engaging in anti-Jewish activity of any kind. But they do not.

Instead, we had the absurd spectacle of MP Louise Ellman on Sky today, prompted helpfully by presenter Adam Boulton, claiming that unnamed “hard-left” Labour members were merging their anti-capitalism with anti-semitic conspiracy theories about “powerful Jews.”

Whoever engages in what Engels called “the socialism of fools” should, of course, be educated if possible and expelled if not.

But for the likes of Ellman, this is an evidence-free smear to be used against the left in general and Corbyn in particular. It is also an insult to the many anti-capitalists whose record of fighting anti-semitism and all forms of racism is rather more impressive than that of many of their detractors. 

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