The usual buoyancy that accompanies warm summer days was interrupted as Boris Johnson won the leadership of the Tory Party on the 22nd July and subsequently was appointed as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the 23rd July, making him the third Tory Prime Minister in just four years.
Boris Johnson cannot be trusted with the public finances or to stop austerity. Naturally, elevation of such a person to the post of Prime Minister is unfathomable. Not, it seems to the 90,000 or so Tory Party members who voted him as their leader. Boris Johnson’s dog-whistle politics represents arrival of Trumpism in the UK and needs to be countered in all forums and all places, in the Commons, on the streets and on the Internet. Last week three large demonstrations were held in London and multitude more in cities across the country.
On the 22nd July there was the “Not My Prime Minister – General Election Now” at Downing Street organised by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity where Labour MPs Diane Abbot, Laura Smith, Laura Pidcock, Danielle Rowley, and Richard Burgon, along with Liam Young (author and activist), Alex Kenny (NEU), Eddie Dempsey (RMT), Owen Jones (author and activist) and more spoke passionately about the need to resist Boris Johnson’s government and start preparing for a general election. Laura Pidcock made an impassioned appeal to all: “So I want to be clear: the new Prime Minister does not have a mandate of the people. Johnson epitomises in my view every single thing that is wrong with our society: unaccountable power, unfettered wealth and selfishness… But you know what? It does not have to be like this. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, is a man of peace, an anti-racism activist. He is committed to justice for working-class people and together we have a radical agenda for true change.”
On the 24th July there was the “Fck Government, Fck Boris” demonstration organised by more than a dozen activist organisations. It started at Russell Square and then marched its way across central London to Westminster. The rally had a host of young activists, grime artists and John McDonnell MP address a large crowd in their thousands about the dangers of a racist and climate crisis denying government and the need for a Green New Deal.
On the 25th July, the Labour Party organised the “Rally for a General Election Now” at the Parliament Square with a host of Labour MPs and party leader Jeremy Corbyn. It was a rallying call to the members for a “summer of campaigning” to ensure Labour is ready for a general election whenever it is called. Jeremy Corbyn concluded the rally saying: “Let’s have a general election, elect a new Parliament, elect a Labour government. Elect a Labour government to bring the people and our country together, to tackle inequalities, to conquer the injustices. But above all to mobilise the strength of excitement, optimism and vitality of our people. Together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.”
At the rally, Labour launched a series of pledges to the country if it wins the general election:
- Increased funding for the NHS with more nurses and doctors to give patients the care they need.
- A Real Living Wage of £10 an hour and no increase in Income Tax or National Insurance for 95% of people.
- A Green Industrial Revolution creating 400,000 jobs.
- Free school meals for all primary school children and reduced class sizes for all 5, 6 and 7 year olds.
- Keep the Winter Fuel Allowance, free TV licences and bus passes for pensioners.
- A public vote on any Brexit deal. Labour will campaign to Remain against No Deal or a bad Tory deal.
Boris Johnson has appointed the most right-wing members to his cabinet and this can only mean further tax breaks to the rich and continued austerity for the rest. His threats of a No Deal plays havoc with the lives of our European friends and family living here, meanwhile destabilising the business environment. In this summer of campaigning let’s go out and spread the Labour’s message to all and let us win ourselves a Labour government.