Tories

Corruption old and new

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Politics in Britain at the end of the eighteenth century was described as the “Old Corruption”. The state was, at every level, in the hands of the great landowners and their allies. It was used to serve their interests, to protect their wealth and privilege, and they ruthlessly pillaged it to further enrich themselves. Place and position were wholly at their disposal. What made all this possible was the enormous scale of social and economic inequality. This Old Corruption came under sustained assault from a number of directions in the course of the nineteenth century.

Brexit and Covid-19 failures reduces Johnson to tiers

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Faced with the twin crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and the looming Brexit deadline it is looking increasingly likely that Boris Johnson’s premiership is beginning to unravel. His criminal incompetence on the former is now being compounded by the chaos of the different tiers of lockdown he is attempting to impose, while his brinkmanship on the latter has put him at odds with the CBI and business leaders. On both of these issues cracks in the Tory monolith are beginning to appear and are reflected by growing disquiet among MPs and even splits in the Cabinet.

Dispensable human rights

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The British government’s treatment of Shamima Begum will not only scare every black and Asian citizen, but will also fail to deal with the root causes of young people’s political disaffection, writes Ndella Paye.

Shamima Begum is a 20-year-old British woman with parents of Bangladeshi heritage. She left London in 2015 at the age of 15 with two friends to join the Islamic State in Syria.

Once there, she married a man and had three children who died from malnutrition and disease. Her last son died of pneumonia just a few days after his birth in March 2019 in a Syrian refugee camp.

Rishi Rich takes top job as chancellor

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Boris Johnson has just installed the richest man in the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak, as Chancellor of the Exchequer in his “people’s government”. The fact that Sunak is a disgusting sycophant, only appointed because he was prepared to demonstrate absolute commitment to the realisation of Johnson’s greatness, and who would do what he was told, should not disguise this fact. Indeed, a willingness to publicly humiliate and demean oneself before Johnson is now an essential requirement of being a Tory minister.

Cocky Johnson faces dilemmas

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Britain finally left the EU at 11pm on 31 January, signalling the ease with which Boris Johnson can now get his way in parliament following the Tories’ big election win.

Johnson was thwarted in his attempt to secure a special Big Ben bong to mark the occasion. However, his government has big ambitions. Johnson wants to shift the political landscape of Britain.

He sees being hard on immigration and law and order as key, leavened with gestures towards “rebalancing” London and the regions.

What's in store from a Johnson government?

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The Tory election victory transformed Boris Johnson from a prime minister who could barely win a vote in Parliament to one who can, for now, do as he pleases. It is a grotesque prospect. Johnson is a serial liar, a product of the ruling class who, until the morning of 13 December, lacked the respect of many in it.

As recently as October, David Cameron compared Johnson to a “greased piglet that manages to slip through people’s hands”.

Yet the meaning of Johnson’s victory for his class was clear. “Hedge funds enjoyed a bumper payday”, the Financial Times reported.

A bloody bitter pill

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The reasons for the Tory victory extend back beyond Jeremy Corbyn’s time as Labour Party leader and beyond Brexit. Joseph Choonara explains and points a way forward.

Yes, this was the Brexit election. Yes, Jeremy Corbyn, the most decent figure to lead a major British party in recent history, was subjected to a campaign of slander in the media, aided and abetted by the right-wing of the Labour Party. This was indeed the context in which Labour’s “red wall” of formerly safe seats in the north of England and Midlands came crashing down, paving the way for Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory.

But the wall began crumbling long before — back when Corbyn was a peripheral figure within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Break the Tories on the streets

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Boris Johnson, within weeks of taking over as (unelected) prime minister, has outraged everyone by suspending parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline. Ian Taylor analyses the forces at work around Johnson, while looking for signs of strength on the left to take the Tories on.

Boris Johnson challenged MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit to a showdown by suspending parliament for up to five weeks from the week of 9 September.

It meant MPs must move to topple the government the week of 3 September. The move wrong-footed Labour, Lib Dem and Tory opponents who had been groping towards a strategy to prevent no deal without backing Jeremy Corbyn and called their bluff. Crucially, it invited the 40 or so Tory MPs opposed to no deal to fall on their swords.

Johnson's bluster on crime

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The prime minister, like many before him, has advocated greater police numbers and increased stop and search powers. This approach won’t tackle the issues fuelling violent crime, writes Brian Richardson.

“Entitlement, aggression, amorality, lack of concern for others.” That was how one woman described a particularly notorious member of the Bullingdon Club during her time as a student at Oxford University in the 1980s. She recalls “with extreme regret and embarrassment” her role acting as a scout for an organisation which was characterised by a culture of vandalism and intimidation. Women were routinely belittled at its lavish dinners while others were recruited to perform sex acts.

May is going, what next for Corbyn?

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Theresa May has announced she's standing down, yet there is still no end in sight for the Brexit debacle. Sally Campbell analyses the European election results and the pressures coming to bear on Corbyn.

Goodbye Theresa. Socialist Review is happy to file you away in the box marked “Tory detritus”. Private Eye’s new issue following May’s announcement that she would be resigning on 7 June features the headline, “Theresa May Memorial Issue: The Prime Minister’s Legacy in Full”, followed by a blank space. But this is far too kind.

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