Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman is out. Former Prime Minister David Cameron is back. The crisis of the Tory Party is deepening. The massive movement in solidarity with Palestine is revealing the capitalist establishment’s weakness. It is time to overthrow their system.
Lenin once remarked that revolutions begin at the top, when the ruling class is split and unable to govern as before. Such cracks, in turn, become fissures, through which the radicalised masses will move, as the anger building up in the depths of society bursts to the surface, like the molten lava that accompanies a volcanic eruption.
In this respect, explosive events – in Britain and internationally – are increasingly highlighting and widening the rifts and divisions within the establishment.
Last Saturday saw the biggest demonstration yet. Even official, conservative estimates say that 300,000 were in attendance. Others have suggested that this was the largest protest in over 20 years, since the mass movement against the US-UK invasion of Iraq, with over a million people on the streets of London.
The precise number present on these marches is not relevant. What is important is what these huge protests represent.
The issue of Palestine – and particularly the catastrophe in Gaza – has become a lightning rod for all the seething discontent that has accumulated amongst workers and youth, in Britain and across the world, against the capitalist system and its cynical representatives.
It is clear that the ruling class has been paralysed like a rabbit in the headlights in the face of this mighty movement.
Despite their best efforts to intimidate and silence protestors, through smears, threats, and outright repression, the British establishment has proved powerless to stop these demonstrations from growing in size and strength, as the death count in the Gaza Strip soars.
And with the sacking of Suella Braverman from her position as home secretary, the Tories have now been hoist by their own petard, as their reactionary and repressive efforts backfire and blow up in their faces – revealing their weakness and fragility for all to see.
The rabid Tory MP was removed from the Cabinet yesterday, after she picked a fight with Number 10 by publishing an unauthorised article in The Times, in which she accused the Metropolitan Police of going soft on Palestine protestors.
This follows other recent inflammatory remarks by the ex-minister, such as her descriptions of Palestine solidarity demos as “hate marches”.
Such comments, by themselves, were not the problem. Rishi Sunak himself has regularly slandered demonstrators, and has consistently called for a tough police response. The issue was Braverman’s defiance of Downing Street, and the unruly forces that she had conjured up with her endless tub-thumping.
After far-right thugs marauded around Westminster and Whitehall on Saturday – nominally performing their ‘patriotic duty’ of protecting the Cenotaph on Armistice Day, but in reality looking to beat up Palestine supporters, and ending up in skirmishes with the police – the Prime Minister was forced to take action against his former home secretary, in order to reassert his (and the Met’s) authority.
Sunak and the Tories have clearly lost control of the situation. They may now scapegoat Braverman for encouraging Tommy Robinson and his nationalistic band of vigilantes. But the truth is that the entire establishment – including their mouthpieces such as the BBC and the Telegraph – has spent weeks whipping up a frenzy against pro-Palestine activists, with baseless accusations of ‘antisemitism’ and ‘glorifying terrorism’.
And for years, prior to the latest conflict in the Middle East, the ruling class has actively stirred up hatred against Muslims and Arabs: from the Tories’ xenophobic Prevent programme; to their ‘hostile environment’ against migrants and refugees.
But with outrage growing against Israel’s wanton murder and destruction, and against the complicity of Britain’s hypocritical political leaders, the more ‘intelligent’ wing of the ruling class has realised that bullying and repression alone will not quell the mass movement in support of Palestine.
Indeed, the risk they now face is of reckless figures like Braverman pouring petrol on the flames – and bringing the whole rotten establishment into disrepute – through their myopic, self-serving actions. Hence Sunak’s decision to jettison the renegade home secretary, and bring the ‘reliable’ David Cameron back into the fold.
Champion of reaction
The problem that the Tory leader faces, however, is that Suella is only a symptom of his government’s malaise, not the root cause of the crisis. And rehabilitating Lord ‘pig lover’ Cameron is certainly not the cure.
Braverman is the latest in a long line of prominent Tory headbangers; the loudest voice amongst the Brexiteer brigade. But she is by no means a solo artist. A cacophonous Conservative chorus accompanies her on stage at every turn, with the rabid right-wing press providing the orchestral backing and echoing every reactionary motif that she sings (or shouts).
Sunak and the ‘serious’ people might hope to silence Braverman by banishing her from the Cabinet. But they must also be bracing themselves for a potential backlash from the frothing Tory ranks, who see Suella as their champion.
Exiled to the backbenches, meanwhile, the former home secretary will no doubt become even more vocal, as she lines up a possible leadership bid – either in the wake of a bruising Tory defeat at the next election, or maybe even earlier.
Already, for example, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns has submitted a letter of no confidence in Rishi Sunak, calling on him to be replaced by “a ‘real’ Conservative party leader”.
Enough is enough, I have submitted my vote of no confidence letter to the Chairman of the 1922. It is time for Rishi Sunak to go and replace him with a 'real' Conservative party leader. pic.twitter.com/yJmGc14d75— Andrea Jenkyns MP 🇬🇧 (@andreajenkyns) November 13, 2023
And Braverman could well get a boost this week from the UK Supreme Court’s decision over the government’s Rwanda deportation plan, which she previously helped to craft. If judges strike down this racist policy, on the grounds that it breaches human rights, then the ex-head of the Home Office will likely lead the charge against such legal restrictions.
Far from restoring any semblance of stability, therefore, giving Braverman the boot could well open up a new chapter in the Tory Party’s long-running civil war and meltdown.
The mass movement in support of Palestine has not only impacted the Tories, however. On the other side of the aisle, Keir Starmer is facing his own internal crisis over this issue.
From the outset, the Labour leader has fallen over himself to prove what a reliable representative of British imperialism he is. But this has led to an outcry amongst a section of the party’s members and councillors, horrified by Starmer’s support for Israel’s siege of Gaza.
In turn, Labour has seen a massive drop in its support amongst Muslim voters, giving rise to fears of a repeat of the fallout the party experienced under Blair in the wake of the Iraq war.
Pressure is therefore growing on Starmer to back a ceasefire – a demand that he has explicitly stated he will not countenance, on the mealy-mouthed grounds that this would embolden Hamas.
And matters could soon come to a head, with the SNP’s Westminster group submitting a parliamentary motion calling on the UK government to “join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.
Unfortunately for Starmer, opposition to his jingoism is not confined to the usual left Labour MPs. Even senior party figures – such as mayors Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham, and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar – and a swathe of shadow frontbenchers have publicly registered their support for a cessation of the war.
‘Sir’ Keir Starmer, the establishment’s knight in shining armour, therefore, will also be dented and damaged by the powerful Palestine solidarity movement.
Decay and decline
The liberal wing of the Tories, and the serious strategists of capital that they represent, are gloating about Braverman’s departure, and the accompanying return of David Cameron.
The former PM – along with City of London golden boy Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – is seen as one of the ‘adults’; a ‘safe pair of hands’ compared to those who have occupied Downing Street and successive Conservative cabinets in recent years.
But far from being a sign of strength, Cameron’s comeback only underlines how weak and riven with crises the establishment is – and how degenerate the Tory Party has become.
As prime minister, whilst implementing a brutal austerity agenda (a mantle that Sunak and Hunt are more than happy to now carry), Cameron suggested that his followers should ‘hug a hoodie’. Subsequently, however, his successors have waged a ‘war on woke’.
Since leaving Number 10, meanwhile, the stench of scandal has continued to follow the ex-Tory leader, with allegations that Dodgy Dave used his Westminster connections to partake in extensive corporate lobbying on behalf of (now defunct) financial services firm Greensill Capital.
And most importantly, lest anyone forget, it was Cameron who gambled the fate of British capitalism with the Brexit referendum, all in order to shore up his own political support against the rising UKIP threat at the time.
This opened up a Pandora’s Box for the ruling class, leading to years of political chaos, with each new Conservative leader proving to be even more short-sighted, irresponsible, and ill-fated than the last – culminating in the destructive antics of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
But Sunak’s latest reshuffle will do nothing to halt the Tories’ decline, which ultimately stems from the decay and deepening crisis of British capitalism.
Similarly, a Starmer government will be no saviour for the ruling class either, but will be plagued by all the same instability and turmoil.
Overthrow their system
For workers and youth, the task is clear. All of these representatives of the establishment are living on borrowed time. They and their system have nothing to offer but attacks on the working class and the oppressed – both at home and abroad.
The massive movement in support of the Palestinian people has revealed a fact of history: nothing can stop the working class when it is organised and mobilised.
On the other hand, this huge movement has widened all the cracks in the ruling class, revealing the Tory government and the British state to be like the Wizard of Oz: all smoke and mirrors; all bark and no bite.
Forcing Braverman out should be scored as a victory for the movement, giving confidence to those out on the streets protesting against injustice.
The next step is to broaden the movement; to bolster it with class struggle methods, such as strikes, walkouts, and mass workers’ action; and to link it to a clear revolutionary programme – aimed at kicking out all the Tories, and ending war and imperialism by overthrowing their entire decrepit system.