By Matt Willgress, Arise Festival
John McDonnell MP summed up the mood of many on Monday night when he termed Boris Johnson’s reaction to the result in the Tory Parliamentary Party no-confidence vote as “absolutely delusional, [and] desperately trying to spin this as a good result.” As John added, the reality is that, “the scale of the vote against him means he will limp on without authority, under constant sniping behind the scenes from his opponents and with an electorate that detests him.”
The last point John makes here is more important than some media and Westminster bubble coverage of Johnson’s woes recognise. In addition to the ongoing ‘Partygate’ scandals, it is also the Government’s disastrous handling of the pandemic and now their woeful inaction in the face of a deepening cost-of-living crisis.
Opposition to Boris Johnson is not limited to – or primarily coming from – those growing number of Tory backbenchers that have expressed the belief he should resign in recent weeks.
The real situation is that in workplaces and communities across the land, more and more people are saying enough is enough.This is fuelling a swing in public opinion against the hard-right Prime Minister. Our job on the left is to ensure that opinion turns not just against the dead man walking, but against all the Tories and ultimately against the economic and political ruling establishment they represent.
Central to doing this is maximising and helping to co-ordinate resistance to the Tories on the one hand, and putting forward socialist solutions to the crises we face on the other. This includes tackling a cost-of-living crisis that has become a social emergency.
For these reasons, this Wednesday’s “Enough is Enough – Time to Demand Better” online rally – has become even more important since it was called some time ago with the support of at least 18 organisations, campaigns and publications.
It promises to be a unique online event, bringing together the left in struggle, including MPs, union representatives, social movements, campaigns and different Labour left groups and publications to publicly mobilise for the vital TUC demo on June 18th in London.
This is a vital moment and the left needs to rise to the challenges ahead of us, and understand the scale both of the crises we face and the Tory attacks to come.
As Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP said in promoting this week’s online rally, “Whilst the PM hangs on, the social emergency is growing, and poverty is spiralling – with over 2.6 million children living in households that skipped meals or struggled to afford food last month.”
As their disastrous handling of the cost-of-living crisis angers more people, the Tories have also adopted, in the words of Bell, “continuous attempts to criminalise dissent – threatening everyone who wants to stand up for what they believe in and who believe in building a better society.”
The June 18th TUC demonstration – which has aroused such enthusiasm across the unions, community campaigns, social movements, and beyond – therefore comes at an important time, and gives the growing number of people opposed to the Tories’ reactionary policies on both these and other fronts an opportunity to come together in a unified show of resistance.
The left can play a vital role not only in rallying support for the demo, but also in using this moment to put forward a programme of real change which can tackle the multiple crises we face. Vitally, this means ensuring that the co-ordination and scale of activity resisting our corrupt and bankrupt economic and political system increase rather than dissipate after June 18th.
We need to go on the offensive, taking the fight to the Tories and boldly standing for socialist solutions. Let’s start with the rally on June 8th and on the streets on June 18th.
“Enough is enough – time to demand better.“ Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas is proud to host this event online on Wednesday June 8th from 18.30-20.00. Register here
Featuring: John McDonnell MP // Zarah Sultana MP // Ian Byrne MP // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Grace Blakeley // Matt Wrack, FBU GS & LRC // Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts // Mohammad Suhail, Chair of North West Young Labour // Ben Chacko, Morning Star editor // Dave Allan, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee & Unite EC // People’s Assembly // Gemma Bolton, Labour NEC & CLPD // Lord John Hendy QC, IER // Nasrin Warsame, Migrants Organise // Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook Editor // Mish Rahman, Momentum // Sakina Sheikh, GLA member // Mick Rix, GMB National Organiser // Doina Cornell, Stroud Council Leader // Ronan Burtenshaw, Tribune editor // Mark Serwotka, PCS GS // Beth Winter MP // Kim Johnson MP // Barry Gardiner MP // Ian Lavery MP // Richard Burgon MP.
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