Amidst all the news coverage, speculation and conjecture surrounding Boris Johnson’s replacement, there is emerging dangerous and distracting talk of a ‘good’ Tories and ‘better’ Tories. Neither species exists.
The idea that Boris Johnson’s time as Prime Minister was a one-off, once in a lifetime, bit of eccentricity serves the Conservatives and the political class that they represent very well. It is also a line being adopted by many in the media. The collective message is that, with Boris behind us, we are set for new and exciting times for all. We’re not.
“The collective message is that, with Boris behind us, we are set for new and exciting times for all. We’re not.“
Suggesting that it will make any difference at all whether the next leader of the Tory party is a woman, from an ethnic minority, gay or the product of a grammar school education is a deliberate strategy to divert attention from the fundamental issue. Who ever the next Prime Minister is they will be a Conservative and a Tory.
For thousands of households and for millions of workers that should be the only characteristic that matters.
The next leader of the Tory party, and the next prime minister, will not serve the interest of working people, people looking desperately for employment, single parents, students, people in part time jobs on minimum wage and less, pensioners or people on zero hours contracts and other forms of precarious employment.
Neither Sajid Javid, Liz Truss, Jeremy Hunt nor Rishi Sunak will champion the rights of working people, support their demands for above inflation pay rises and better working conditions or make the necessary investments in our public services.
What they will do, what the Tory party exists to do, will be to govern in favour of the large financial institutions, the multi-national corporations and the stock market speculators.
The next leader of the Tory party will, without question, lower the rate of corporation tax for big businesses, underinvest in our public services, continue to privatise the profitable parts of the NHS, continue the deregulation of industries and services placing short term profit ahead of health and safety.
He or she will further erode workers and trade union rights, it will be made more difficult to go on strike or support those who are. Wages and benefits will not keep pace with inflation, public housing programmes will be cut and only those with the financial means will be able to access further education.
The next Boris Johnson will continue to support NATO and its aggressive and confrontational policies, will follow, unquestioningly, United States foreign policy and will continue to prop up, and trade with, despotic and corrupt governments around the world. That is the Tory party, that is right wing political conservatism.
Home Grown Tories
Of course, we don’t need to go to Westminster in search of conservative politics. Several local parties are openly in favour of cutting corporation taxes, some are opposed to the Living Wage for workers, most are happy to see nurses and other workers on picket lines rather than improve their pay and conditions and very few will support enhanced workers’ rights.
At Westminster and Stormont, the world will continue to be made safe for capitalism at the expense of working-class people. The name, the party, the gender or the ethnic back ground of the Prime Minister, First Minister or Deputy First Minister are irrelevant. Our lives are determined by politics-class politics.
That is a reality that many, including some who claim to be on the Left, choose to ignore.