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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

A bad week for Boris

IT’S BEEN a bad week for Boris Johnson. The ageing lothario once basked in the applause of the Tory rankand- file who dismissed his bumbling indiscretions as the foibles of a renaissance man who led them to victory in the 2019 general election and took Britain out of the European Union.

The bourgeois media called him “Boris” or “BoJo” and praised his “blundering brilliance” and his supposed classical knowledge and learning. Or at least they did until his sacked former aide, Dominic Cummings, stabbed him in the back last week.

Now Johnson is being compared to Shakespeare’s Lear, the mad king who is betrayed by his daughters and dies of grief in the last act. If the leaked “let the bodies pile high” reports are true it’ll be King Herod next.

The grandees never had much time for Johnson. Ken Clarke famously said: “Boris is great fun as company and all the rest of it, but he couldn’t run a whelk stall. I really… I don’t think I could follow him on any complicated or serious policy issue!” But most of them were Remainers whose grip on the Tory party faltered when they lost the 2016 EU referendum.

The others, the movers and shakers, thought Johnson walked on water. This was the man who could preside over the government’s incompetent handling of the coronavirus plague and fund a colossally expensive trace and trace system that didn’t work yet still take the credit for the NHS that bailed the country out with a national vaccine programme.

The snobbery, callousness and sleaze exposed by the leaks in the mainstream media are, indeed, damning. But bourgeois politicians wear corruption as a badge of honour these days and the Tories are still way ahead of Labour in the opinion polls. Why should this all change because of the revelations of a former aide who is hardly a pillar of virtue himself?

Well, we don’t know the answer, but it almost certainly is part of the continuing struggle over Europe.

In the past the ruling class has always closed ranks during times of economic crisis. But this slump only sharpened the divisions between those who believe that the future for British capitalism lies in greater European integration, those who think British imperial interests are still best served through the alliance with the USA and those who believe that British imperialism can extract the maximum benefit by playing off one against the other by acting as a trans-Atlantic ‘bridge’ between US imperialism and that of France and Germany.

The Remainers lost the referendum but they have not given up the fight. Hopes that Sir Keir Starmer would become the focus for a second referendum campaign have been dashed by his utter inability to mobilise Labour to win anything – let alone a new vote on the EU. But getting Johnson to dump Cummings in November was a master-stroke. It weakened Johnson and divided the Tory Brexiteers who are now fighting amongst themselves.

The next step is the return of the Remainer grandees to the Tory fold to help build a new Europhile consensus in Parliament. They don’t have to worry about Starmer – if the pollsters are right, he’ll fall on his sword after the Spring elections. Whoever takes his place will invariably be another Remainer.

Johnson will go when he is no longer of any further use to the ruling class. Speed the day by helping the mass movement democratise the unions and the Labour Party, whilst fighting to put the communist answer to the crisis back on the working-class agenda throughout the country.