The end of Johnson’s premiership appears to be looming

Over the last week, we have heard about how Johnson looks set to be pushed out by Tory rebels, many of whom were elected only in 2019. Indeed we have already seen the defection of Christian Wakefield, MP for Bury South, from the Tories to Labour. 

We would of course welcome the toppling of any Tory Prime Minister. However, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into the games of the Westminster elite looking to boot out the Prime Minister in order to save his failing Government. Nearly every major media outlet has come out in opposition to Johnston. The repeated stories of parties at Westminster in the face of incredible sacrifices by ordinary people across the country is sickening to say the least. Of course Johnston must take responsibility, and his actions are indefensible, but what purpose would his resignation serve, if it resulted in the continuity of this corrupt Tory Government?

The defection of Wakefield from the Tories is welcome, tipping the odds slightly against the Government. However, we have to ask, does this really tell us anything new about Boris Johnson’s Premiership, or does it merely highlight how far the Labour Party has skewed right in the last two years since the Bury South MP was first elected? I’d argue it was the latter, and we should not be welcoming anyone who was proud to consistently support the Government’s Policing Bill, its repeated displays of cronyism throughout the Pandemic; and the Nationality and Border’s Bill among other things. Defecting from the Government after the endless list of failures over the last two years reeks of cowardice, akin to jumping from a sinking ship. Wakefield is just as responsible for the situation we are in now as any other Tory MP.

This week we have also seen various allegations that Tory Whips have been blackmailing MPs to vote with the Government, threatening to withhold funding and support unless they come out batting for the Prime Minister. These are serious allegations, but I have a hard time believing that they are any more serious than the outright corruption seen at the heart of this government for the last two years and more. The fact that Tory MPs feel Johnson has run his course should tell us something, and the fact that much of the right wing press has left his side should too. The capitalist class do not feel threatened by the potential ousting of Johnston and we need to be aware of that and try to understand why.

Rather than becoming sidetracked by Tory manoeuvring, wondering who could be lined up as next Prime Minister, we should instead be focusing our efforts on getting rid of them all. This is not to say that the internal machinations of the Tory Party are irrelevant. They are of course important, but no leader of the Tories will be on the side of the workers. While Johnson bears the ultimate responsibility for the corruption at the heart of this government, it would be naive to assume a change in leadership would have resulted in different circumstances to now.

Tory backbenchers, particularly those elected to so-called “red-wall” seats in the North of England can see the writing on the wall insofar as their own seats are concerned with polls indicating a reversal of the Tory leads won in December 2019. With Johnson, and all the baggage associated with him, gone, they believe, perhaps rightly, that the Tories will have a turn of fortune, and they might be able to hold onto their seats for a while longer. We shouldn’t be allowing this to happen. We need to be campaigning in these areas, not for a Labour majority, but for real class consciousness, to help workers understand that the corruption at the heart of this government has nothing to do with Johnson specifically, but to do with an entire system deliberately stacked against them. 

Much of the press has piggy-backed onto this idea of “one rule for them and another for us”, and it is true. The parties at Number 10 offer one of the most overt examples of the class system we have perhaps ever seen, and yes they perhaps would not have happened under a different premiership. But let’s not get wrapped up in their game to preserve this Government. Whether its tax avoidance, Covid rules, or pay rises. The capitalist system in Britain has always been a system designed to purposefully preserve and promote inequality.

When we call for Johnson to resign, let’s make it clear that we are not doing it to allow another Tory to sneak in as Prime minister. We need to oust this entire Government while they’re failing. Let’s renew our efforts to build a class conscious movement outside of parliament to ensure we don’t fall into the traps of the capitalist class.

Peter Stoddart, is a member of the YCL’s Glasgow branch

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