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Editorial The wheels are coming off the Tory election vehicle

IN Jacob Rees-Mogg the Tories have a figure who effortlessly drives reasonable people to insurrectionary thoughts.

This arriviste knob affects patrician manners but has proved he possesses a tin ear for human suffering.

Coming on top of the Establishment bid to blame firefighters for a tragedy directly attributable to Tory polices, the unguarded exposure of his contempt for working people still dealing with the trauma of Grenfell provides a window into the minds of our ruling class.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added to our insight into the bourgeois mindset when he attributed Rees-Mogg’s comments to an intellect superior to the people who died in Grenfell.

And now the leader of the Tory Party in Wales has resigned because he lied over whether he had knowledge of his subordinate’s sabotage of a rape trial.

This election is principally about policies, but it is rare that we are offered, so early in an election, such a profound insight into the moral universe in which our rulers live.

Boris Johnson himself has fleshed out the foundations of his thoughts with a front-page piece in the Daily Telegraph with the hyperbolic claim that “the tragedy of the modern Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is that they detest the profit motive so viscerally … they point heir fingers at individuals with a relish and vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks.”

As he toils in his modest allotment casting about for poor peasants exploited by the rich kulaks of the Home Counties, Jeremy Corbyn might reflect on what Lenin said about the subjects of Johnson’s concerns.

“Everywhere the avaricious, bloated and bestial kulaks joined hands with the landowners and capitalists against the workers and against the poor generally. Everywhere the kulaks wreaked their vengeance on the working class with incredible ferocity…”

It is hard to see where Johnson is going with this narrative. Tories bang on about “wealth creators” but the real wealth of this country is the product of the millions of working people who go about their jobs with varying degrees of contentment and frustration but always conscious that only part of their values they produce returns to them in the form of wages.

In truth, Britain’s hard-pressed entrepreneurs, small, medium-sized or even large-scale, need not fear for their lives, their homes or even their stores of grain. In fact they have much to delight them from a Labour government.

No-one buys into the idea that wealth trickles down when it so obviously flows upwards in a torrent of privatised profits, untaxed revenues and unpaid wages.

Labour’s Green New Deal and its raft of redistributive policies offers the prospect of a substantial stimulation to the productive economy based on state assistance, infrastructure spending, enhanced training, investment into research and development and a rise in the level of demand in the economy.

This is a much more productive environment for the energetic, the ambitious and the talented than the financialised, neoliberal economy favoured by the Tories, Lib Dems (and New Labour).

This has seen a steady erosion of manufacturing, skills shortages, an unconstrained flight of capital to the detriment of investment in Britain and the creation of a low-wage, zero-hours employment market.

The 2008 crash put an end to the idea that a Labour social programme was only possible based on taxing speculative profits in the City of London.

Labour really does have plans to shift the burden of taxation more fairly on the the wealthy and this is what so exercises Johnson and the class he represents.


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