The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 15th May 2009

Not playing the game

DISGUST AT MPs using expense claims to fill their boots from the public purse may have started as a Tory media ruse to embarrass Labour in the run-up to the local and European elections but now the Conservatives are being hit following revelations that senior Tories were on the make as well. The named MPs all point out that their claims were within the letter of the rules. But it is equally clear that the rules were not intended to provide a second income for members of the House of Commons.

Thatcherite Tory Lord Tebbit is urging people to punish the major parties in the European elections – in essence support for the anti-EU UKIP party as he pointedly stressed he that didn’t want people to vote for the fascist BNP. David Cameron is trying to put a lid on the furore which threatens to drag his Conservatives into the mire of sleaze while bourgeois media pundits warn that the scandal could threaten public confidence in the political system as a whole.

The ruling class foster the myth that the Westminster parliament is the highest form of democracy because every adult has the vote. It is nothing of the kind. If it were we would see in Britain, where the vast majority of people are workers, a parliament dominated by members of the working class. But you could probably count the number of MPs who are working class on your hands. In fact all forms of balloting in bourgeois states are designed so that the smallest number of people can manipulate the largest number of votes.

The other bourgeois myth is that politicians as a whole are motivated by a commitment to public service. That was never the case, though it’s true to say that back in the old days, when Westminster was an exclusive club of landowners and businessmen, MPs lived off their private incomes and sat in the House of Commons to represent their class and business interests and sought reward through advancement and influence peddling. In those days MPs embroiled in scandal would resign to avoid bringing their class and parliament into disrepute. These days they wear corruption as a badge of honour – or did until the expenses scandal broke last week.

Working people are enraged at fat-cat City bonuses and MPs lining their pockets at their expense. Gordon Brown and David Cameron are trying to appease public opinion with soothing words while claiming that these are difficult problems to solve.

Yet the solution is simple. A company can pay what it likes to its executives out of its profits. It is answerable only to its board of directors and its share-holders. The answer is to restore income tax levels to the rates that existed in 1979 – including the 97 per cent super-tax rate – and restore free collective bargaining. Taxing the rich would ensure that these people make the same proportional payment to the public purse as everyone else while lifting the shackles on the unions would enable them to successfully claim higher wages out of the profits as well. In corporations controlled by the State like the recently nationalised banks, and Parliament itself, the “rate for the job” should be that which exists in the civil service rather than some sort of ludicrous parity with the highest echelons of the City.

The problem for the ruling class is that bourgeois morality, which upholds “equality” and “liberty under the law”, is incompatible with bourgeois society which is based on class oppression and exploitation. They claim that socialism is incompatible with freedom because their “freedom” is only the license to exploit workers. They say they stand for democracy but bourgeois democracy is only democratic for the rich. They foist their own ethic on everyone else but cannot apply it to themselves.

Communists have to expose the true nature of the capitalist system and the hypocrisy of bourgeois morality while elevating the communist ideal to build the movement that will, sooner or later, sweep the whole rotting edifice away.