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TUC Congress ’19 Stopping the Tory extremists

Boris Johnson’s Brexit big top is collapsing around him, writes TSSA general secretary MANUEL CORTES

WHAT IS needed in a crisis is clarity and it is absolutely crystal-clear Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister in name only.

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn have played a blinder this week by boxing in this sorry excuse for a Prime Minister. His record speaks volumes — no other occupant of 10 Downing Street has ever lost their first three votes in the Commons.

This is a man not trusted even in his own family, never mind on his own benches. This is a man who naturally cleaves to the Trumpian alt-right lies about negotiations with the European Union (EU), who swears and makes sexist remarks at the Despatch Box.

In short — he is wholly unfit to lead our country. Even his own brother Jo has walked out and Ken Clarke, the father of the House and one of the Tory rebels, has called Johnson “disingenuous.”

So bring on a general election. We will have no fear of going to the polls. However, this must only happen after legislation stopping the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit has been passed, signed into law and acted upon.

These are truly remarkable and dangerous times — the result of a near decade of Tory cruelty and economic mismanagement.

Those of us old enough to recall Black Wednesday in September 1992 thought we had seen the low watermark of Conservative chaos.

Little did we know then that Brexit would not only make crashing out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) at a cost of billions of pounds look like a minor monthly bill, but leave us with a Tory government openly saying it is prepared to ignore the law of the land.

Let me be clear — economically and politically the Tories are extremists. They have already proved this by visiting the terror of austerity on millions of our fellow citizens.

They proved it again with their myopic fetish about Britain’s membership of the EU — the very thing that brought about the disastrous Brexit referendum.

They have shown they will go to any lengths — even as far as an illegal No Deal Brexit in which the sovereignty of Parliament is sidelined. This proves Brexit was always a project imperilling the wellbeing of our entire nation.

As I have long argued it is only those who have the money and the means to shield themselves from the catastrophe of Brexit — Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Duncan Smith and Farage — who can afford this delusional fantasy.

The future they offer us is a bonfire of workers’ rights and legal protections, the death of our NHS and our manufacturing as we know it, with private finance running riot in every sector and every aspect of our lives.

In short — what’s on offer is Britain becoming the 51st state of Trump’s US in what amounts to a full-frontal attack on the British working class that Margaret Thatcher could only dream of.

Make no mistake though — this is the fulfilment of Thatcher’s poisonous legacy. We have arrived, as in 1979, at a crossroads.
The choice is a straight one — anti-democratic Conservative neoliberalism on speed, or a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn which would give hope to all our people.

What must happen now is resistance, from every quarter of civil society, from every community and from all opposition parties to what will be the unhinged free-market fundamentalism Brexiteers wanted all along.

There is also much more than economic wellbeing at stake. If Johnson gets his way we will be a country in which racism and xenophobia are deemed acceptable.

Jeremy Corbyn has already seen off two Tory leaders — I have no doubt that in the coming general election he will make it a hat-trick and begin the next stage of his leadership — transforming our country for the many — as Labour Prime Minister.


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