New rail strikes announced as part of UK Conservative leadership race

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will personally table a motion of confidence in his own government on Monday, by which time the Tories want to have eliminated all but two candidates to replace him as party leader.

Nothing could better illustrate how the suppression of the class struggle by the unions and the Labor Party is giving the Conservatives precious time to reorganize their government after a coup forced Johnson’s resignation.

On Tuesday, a Labor Party motion specifying no confidence in “Her Majesty’s Government so long as [Johnson] remains Prime Minister” was dismissed as not “a valuable use of parliamentary time” because Johnson has already resigned.

Labor’s motion was crafted with the dual intention of somehow ’embarrassing’ Tory MPs by forcing them to defend Johnson, while making it clear to big business that Starmer and his company are not s oppose a Conservative government in principle and rock the boat unduly. It was a truer reflection of Labour’s aim of maintaining political stability in times of heightened crisis than Starmer’s occasional references to being “ready” for a snap general election if one is called.

All Labor is doing is ensuring that events continue to be determined by a hated and weakened government that collapsed last week. Monday’s vote will see the Tories express confidence in themselves, while Labor and the Liberal Democrats will propose amendments to include Johnson’s name so he can supposedly be forced to quit now rather than when. his successor will be announced on September 5.

Certainly, despite Labor’s claims to the contrary, his original motion would have failed even if it had not been blocked. The Conservatives are not about to commit political suicide out of shame! If they are to be removed from office, then the working class must do so. Labor certainly won’t.

The longer the semi-opposition parliamentary farce led by Sir Keir Starmer drags on, the more apparent the dangers posed to workers.

Yesterday saw the end of the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership race, with the bottom two of eight candidates having been eliminated. Jeremy Hunt, a widely despised former health secretary, fell because he is seen as too left-wing by most Tories. Nadim Zahawi fell in part because he was seen as too openly disloyal to Johnson, having accepted his offer to become chancellor only to then demand the prime minister’s resignation.

That leaves a contest between former chancellor and multi-millionaire Rishi Sunak, portraying himself as a ‘sense Thatcherian’, and the right-wing alternative candidates of former Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and some others. right-wing candidates.

Sunak, the current MP frontrunner, is seen as too reluctant in his promises to cut taxes and would lose to Mordaunt and any other candidate in a poll of Conservative party members.

Mordaunt is currently ranked second and is a party favorite for good reason. A Brexiteer, she has been Minister of State for Trade Policy since 2021 after serving as Defense Secretary in 2019 before being removed from office by Johnson to replace Theresa May.

Daughter of a former paratrooper and captain of the naval reserve, she highlights her military credentials. She worked for US President George W Bush between 2000 and 2004. An admirer of Donald Trump, she cited seeing at the age of nine “the Falklands task force leaving Portsmouth harbour” as the formative experience that shaped his political convictions.

Truss is so notoriously deranged as a warmonger that she needs no introduction and currently enjoys the support of Johnson’s senior sidekick, Jacob Rees-Mogg. But she is matched in fanaticism by Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch.

Former soldier and chairman of the Defense Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, has denounced ‘bean counters’, i.e. Sunak, for refusing to increase defense spending, which he wants to carry to 3% of GDP. “Security always comes before spreadsheets,” he said.

It’s the dirty cabal that still sits in Westminster while so many millions of working people want to see their backs. The great task that must be solved is to break the political deprivation and demobilization of the working class by the combined forces of the Labor Party and the trade union bureaucracy.

Without union leaders, the crisis of the Conservative government would play out against the backdrop of massive strikes by workers demanding an end to savage austerity. Just this week, train drivers’ union ASLEF announced mass strike votes at eight rail operating companies involving 21,000 workers. But ASLEF general secretary Mick Wheelan said of the struggle by the 40,000 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union: “There is no reason for us to call them all together …”. ASLEF strike dates will be announced on Thursday.

As the first round of the Tory leadership race drew to a close, the RMT announced it would stage a one-day strike on July 27, in response to a ‘final offer’ from Network Rail which, according to the secretary General Mick Lynch, “represents a real pay cut”. for our members and the pittance is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives. He stressed that “we remain open to further discussions”.

If the union leaders did not put down the strikes, the three million workers in the railways, postal services, telecoms, councils, health and education would already be in struggle, which would form the basis of a general strike against the government. Instead, that prospect is never brought up as union leaders back Starmer in his efforts to neutralize workers’ opposition to the government. Lynch told the Durham Miners gala this weekend: ‘We don’t have a great relationship with Keir Starmer’, but ‘I want a Labor government and the Labor leader is Keir Starmer. If he can win this, there will be a change and it will be in our interest.

So they say of a man who threatened to expel his own MPs if they criticize NATO or attend RMT pickets! And who last night forced his Labor peers in the House of Lords to refrain from forcing the Government to provide free school meals to all children in low-income families and on Universal Credit.

On Tuesday, Lynch called the passage of Conservative legislation allowing the use of agency workers as scabs to break strikes in essential services “unethical and morally wrong” and “completely unworkable.” But he followed that up with his now knee-jerk call that the Conservative government ‘should release Network Rail and the rail operating companies so we can get a negotiated settlement on the railways’.

The necessary response to the sabotage of the unions and the Labor Party is to demand an immediate general election, forced by a unified working class offensive. The union bureaucracy must not be allowed to determine the struggle in factories and workplaces and Labor must not be allowed to sabotage the political struggle against the Tories. It means creating rank-and-file committees in every workplace to take the fight against the Tories out of the hands of the union bureaucrats and immediately begin building a new socialist leadership in the working class to replace Labour.

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