Tories in self-destruct mode

DISABLED people throughout Britain celebrated last Friday night and Saturday at the news that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith had resigned, claiming he that had an attack of conscience over the most recent cut to benefits received by disabled people.

Not many people fell for his crocodile tears — as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked: “Where has his conscience been for the last six years?” as cut after cut has hit disabled people so that rich people could enjoy tax cuts. But he confirmed what we knew all along, that these and the other cruel austerity cuts have nothing to do with fiscal necessity or reducing Britain’s debt so much as the Tories’ Mammonist extremist dogma that the rich and greedy are entitled to anything they want to grab and those who are poor must be condemned to suffer as much as possible.

But the follow-up question we should be asking is where has the conscience of the main stream media been for the last six years? Why is it that this latest cut has led to outrage in mainstream headlines about the disabled suffering cuts to their Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) so that the better off can have tax cuts when other cruel cuts have been ignored?

This could be partly associated with division within the ruling class over the European Union and certain media barons trying to sabotage Cameron’s efforts to keep Britain in the EU by discrediting Cameron and Osborne. But the big difference has to be Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the opposition and that he challenged this injustice in his response to George Osborne’s budget last Wednesday, leaving Cameron and Osborne visibly embarrassed.

This would not have happened under recent previous Blairite Labour leaders. Half the Labour MPs would have abstained and the rest would have supported the cut, arguing that, although painful, austerity and cuts are necessary to balance the books. Only a handful, those close to Corbyn before he shot to fame last year, would have voted against.

Now the Tories are in disarray, blaming each other for the mess they are in — which is a back-handed way of at last admitting they got it wrong. It seems that that particular cut is being withdrawn and large chunks of last week’s budget are being rewritten — though they are still looking to make other cuts.

It has left Osborne looking like the shallow incompetent extremist Mammonist fool he is. But since Cameron will also have been closely involved in putting this budget together, and will have read it through and endorsed it before Osborne read it out, he cannot escape the dunce’s cap either.

What a difference it makes to have a competent leader of the opposition. And yet Corbyn, although he is a socialist under his own terms, is a reformist and not a revolutionary. He is a Keynesianist, not a Marxist. His politics are in the same mould as Syriza in Greece, or Podemos in Spain or De Linke in Germany. In most of Europe he would be a middle of the road mild lefty.

It just shows how far politics in Britain have gone to the far right that by comparison here he is seen a strong left-wing challenger.

We still need to support him as leader of the Labour Party and work for him to become Prime Minister, but not support his position over the European Union (EU) — which is to stay in the union. Corbyn still believes this organisation created by capitalism for capitalism can be changed into a pro-working class union.

For workers in Britain the best outcome would be for the European Union referendum on 23rd June to result in Britain leaving the EU, followed by a collapse of the Tory Party in in-fighting over the EU, followed by a general election and Corbyn becoming Prime Minister of a Britain outside the EU. That would lift the threat of the noxious TTIP agreement from us and put our trade unions in a much stronger position.

And with a well-supported Corbyn government in charge, all the anti-immigrant and xenophobic aims of the right-wing Brexit supporters would be thwarted.

Corbyn would be able to prioritise rebuilding the NHS, rescuing our schools from privatisation and building thousands of new council homes, creating jobs and homes. And he would not have to fight the compulsive privatisers of Brussels to do it.

It would be hard to achieve with the ruling class opposing all the way with all the dirty tricks they can think of but it’s a goal worth aiming for. And as with the Corbyn Labour leadership contest, you never know, we really could win.