Speaking out about Britain's political crisis

Fran writes about her speech at the People's Assembly demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's proroguing of parliament and how she believes the labour and trade union movement must not permit the rights and interests of working people to be trampled on.

Britain is in an unprecedented time politically. Boris Johnson’s decision to ask the queen to prorogue parliament last week led to outrage across the country.

As a rapid response to that announcement, a number of demonstrations and rallies were announced around the UK, and in the north east where I live, the People’s Assembly arranged a demonstration in Newcastle at very short notice.

There was a huge turnout, with a large consensus that the actions of the Tories are an affront to democracy and that whether you voted leave or remain, we must be united in campaigning against a no-deal Brexit because of the disastrous consequences for our members.

I was proud to be asked to speak on behalf of PCS at the rally in Newcastle in my speech I told the protestors that Britain is in the grip of a crisis – political, social, and constitutional – the likes of which we have never experienced in peacetime.

Boris Johnson, the unelected Tory prime minister is carrying out a constitutional “coup” to push through a no-deal Brexit. For the Johnsons, Rees Moggs and the rest of that grizzly crew the stakes are high, but so too are the prizes for them.

After decades of cuts, privatisation and austerity they now see a no-deal Brexit as an unrepeatable opportunity to finish off what Thatcher started in the late 70s and 80s.

They are intent on destroying any vestige of the welfare state in a drive to fully establish Britain as a low tax, low wage economy where whatever rights workers still have will be systematically shredded.

Johnson’s move is clearly about setting the conditions for a no-deal Brexit. But the end game is preparing the ground for the implementation of a right-wing agenda that would be an unmitigated disaster for the British working and indeed, middle class.

For anyone who doesn't understand the politics behind the Trump/Johnson love-in, it’s simple: the big American insurance companies are salivating at the prospect of carving up the NHS between them.

Millions of people are now looking for a clear lead. The ruling class is bitterly split on the question of Brexit but especially so on the question of a no-deal Brexit, so we must be both focused and united.

On the 200th anniversary of Peterloo, the labour and trade union movement will not permit the rights and interests of working people to be trampled on by Johnson and his cronies. We will not stand aside and allow them to continue on this destructive path. We must seize the initiative now.

Matters are unfolding fast and by the time you read this, things may well have moved on, but PCS will keep members informed of developments and seek to make sense of all that is happening, in order to defend your interests.

We have a very busy month ahead with the NEC meeting this week, followed immediately by the TUC in Brighton from Saturday, our National Young Members’ Seminar in Birmingham, followed by all of the political party conferences taking place. I will write again soon to report on our PCS interventions at all of these events. 

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