Following the announcement late Sunday night that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not be standing in the Tory Leadership election, it looked like it would be a straight run-off between former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt. However, after failing to meet the required 100 votes from Tory MPs, Mordaunt dropped out of the race, leaving “Dishy Rishi” to be coronated as the third Tory Prime Minister in two months with no need for a contest.
While many may be happy that Johnson won’t be returning to Number 10, Sunak has already made clear that he’s no friend of the working class. Inflation is already topping 10%, and £66 from the government in an attempt to curb spending on energy is not going to cut it. Indeed, it looks as if we’re going to be in for another long, cold winter under the Tories.
YCL General Secretary, Johnnie Hunter, said “Fresh from getting rid of the shortest lived, and a clear candidate for the most incompetent, prime minister in history, the Tories elect the richest one. The dictatorial power of the markets and a tiny clique of Tory MPs have imposed Rishi Sunak on Britain.
This government is weak, deeply unpopular and has no democratic mandate. Now is the time for working people to mobilise, including at the upcoming 5 November demonstration.
But this is no time for complacency. The Tories aren’t beaten yet. The Labour Party under Starmer presents no meaningful alternative for the youth and working people. We need a working-class response which meets the demands of the current rising wave of industrial militancy”.
Crucially, with the CWU and others out on strike today, there’s work to be done. It’s up to us to fight for the betterment of our class both in and out of Parliament. As Hunter points out, with the People’s Assembly demonstration next week, this is the perfect opportunity to make our voices clear.
With much of the media focusing on Sunak’s Indian heritage, alongside last night’s Diwali celebrations, it is important that we do not allow ourselves to be sucked into an endless culture war focusing on identity over class. Sunak’s ethnicity is irrelevant, the fact that he is the richest MP in recent parliamentary history is relevant. As is the fact that he has consistently voted for more restrictive trade union laws, reduced spending on welfare benefits, and against more progressive taxation.
Sunak has already made clear his opposition to progressive forces across the world and, in a tweet thread in July, said “China and the Chinese Communist Party represent the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security” and detailed how he would “face down China” if elected leader. He also described how he would expand the Government’s Prevent programme to include so-called “hatred of the UK”, representing a further clamp down on fundamental human rights. It’s also important to mention Sunak’s consistent support for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, further highlighting Sunak’s desire to crack down on dissent.
Sunak, as with Truss, Johnson, May, and Cameron before them, are class enemies and need to be booted out of office. The media may have turned on Truss but it remains to be seen on how they will react to Sunak, who is already seen as more competent and more trustworthy with the economy.
The last 12 years of Tory austerity, racism and misogyny have caused deep divisions within our society. Sunak’s first speech as Tory leader, calling for stability, indicated it will be more of the same. He was sworn in by King Charles III as PM today, October 25.
Peter Stoddart, is the Treasurer of the YCL