The unparalleled disaster that has been Liz Truss’s 41 days as prime minister has left her hanging by a thread. With MPs mutinously poised to oust yet another occupant of Number 10, the reins of power have in reality already been handed over. Truss’s experimentation with ultra-libertarian free market fundamentalism is at an end.
Every single one of her flagship policies has been reversed. Jeremy Hunt – who represents the Tory faction which is most bitterly opposed to Truss and what she represents – has been parachuted in as chancellor. Such are the divisions that one senior Tory MP went so far as to describe Truss as a ‘libertarian jihadist’ live on Sunday Television.
And now, with even less of a mandate than Truss who herself was chosen only by the tiny reactionary minority of the population who are Tory members, Hunt has set about outlining a freshly brutal economic agenda.
While the markets may be temporarily calmed by the return to an emphasis on ‘fiscal prudence’, Hunt’s policies also represent an utterly callous assault on workers – just in a different way.
But his announcement today cannot save Truss’s premiership, which could end within days. Nor can it reverse the disastrous long-term fortunes of declining British capitalism.
Hunt’s announcement today points to a grim future containing new austerity and anti-worker policies, in particular declaring an end to the (already inadequate) energy price guarantee in April – a drastic reduction in the support package. Truss must go, Hunt must go, but no new Tory PM must be allowed to take office.
Our movement is on the march. Working class people are fighting back – demanding pay that can end the cost of living crisis. Strikes, including in the most significant live national disputes of rail and mail workers, continue to gather momentum.
Barristers taking indefinite action recently won a 15% pay rise from this weak and divided Tory government. Now the task is to escalate the action, to broaden it to include as many groups of workers as possible, and to coordinate and generalise the strikes.
In this volatile situation, a movement like this can play a decisive role in not only winning concessions for workers, but in forcing the Tories from office. Moreover, it will be vital preparation for the likelihood of a new Blairite government led by Starmer coming to power. Starmer’s politics are far closer to Jeremy Hunt’s than Jeremy Corbyn’s.
Such a Labour government will not be fundamentally different. It will still be obedient to big business and the money markets. That’s why alongside escalating the industrial fightback we must pose the question of a new left party of working-class struggle. And we must fight for the socialist alternative to the chaotic capitalist system which breeds crisis on all fronts.
Socialist Alternative stands for a society based on public ownership, workers’ democracy and international human solidarity.