Nov 18 2020

RULING CLASS CORRUPTION AND CAPITALIST CRISIS

The following article by John Tummon looks at the recent exposures of corruption in the Tory government highlighted by the cronyism  for Covid-19 contracts

 

RULING CLASS CORRUPTION AND CAPITALIST CRISIS

 

 

Government Covid cronyism extends both to the appointment to key positions in its decision-making framework and to its’ award of contracts for carrying out services and providing equipment. This has now become so overt that the mainstream media have started documenting it in prime-time TV News Bulletins and TV documentaries, as well as in the press. Even Sir Steer Calmer has berated the government for the flagrant lack of accountability and transparency.

For instance, the Guardian recently charted the web of ‘Chumocracy’ around the government’s anti-Covid response. Specifically, no formal recruitment processes preceded the appointment of Dido Harding and Kate Bingham to the two key positions of running Test and Trace and the Vaccine Taskforce. Deloitte, Serco, Randox, Ayanda Capital, Faculty, Hanbury and Public First are the major corporate beneficiaries of lucrative contracts, interlinked closely with members of the Cabinet, spouses of Harding and Bingham, and the Jockey Club. Further down the food chain are consultants and sub contractors, as well as sub-contractors’ sub-contractors. The picture emerging is of a corrupt, self-serving and interconnected ruling class profiting from this pandemic, as it rips through the population.

Technically, all this has been done under the emergency regulations granted to government early in the initial wave of the pandemic; these suspended competitive tendering. Defending himself over this against Starmer at PMQs on 18th November, Johnson blustered about his pride in the ‘contributions’ made by commercial companies in the pandemic. The government maintains that both Harding and Bingham are very well qualified and have made great successes of their roles.

Pragmatism and Ideology

This response reveals that Tory thinking and practice on the pandemic is both deeply ideological and pragmatic; it is pragmatic in that the public realm, especially the NHS, has been so cut back over the past decade that consultants and capitalist corporations almost had to be chosen to head up the state’s response to the virus, so Ministers set aside normal standards of transparency whilst hastily scrambling to secure £18 billion of supplies and services in response to the coronavirus crisis. This panic extended to ordering the infamous Nightingale Hospitals, which were never used in the first wave of the crisis. Clearly, the Tories were scared that the NHS had been so cut the bone by this government and its two predecessors that hospitals would be quickly overwhelmed by the need to find beds and ICU facilities whilst simultaneously catering for its intake of non-Covid patients.

But Johnson let the cat out of the bag; the government decision to go with the private sector was also deeply ideological: their belief in the small state, in contracting out public service provision to corporations whenever possible, played as big a role as their panicked pragmatism. They could have based their response around the expertise of Public Health professionals at both a national and local level but they chose not to.

Now the NAO (National Audit Office) has published a report which describes and assesses these choices; among its findings it reveals that, by July 31, more than 8,600 contracts with a value of £18 billion had been awarded, including £10.5 billion without any competition process, and that a “high-priority lane” was established for firms referred to the PPE team by officials, ministers’ offices, MPs, peers and senior NHS staff.

Left social media is replete with other examples of how this self-serving network has failed and continues to fail the people’s public health. Its’ inability to match Test and Trace capacity to demand is instructive, since socialist planning, not capitalist profiteering, is supposed to contain precisely this inherent weakness; indeed, capitalism’s defenders have consistently made this point for at least a century whenever socialism shows a sign of winning new adherents. Capitalism, if it is anything progressive, is supposed to be the system that matches supply and demand efficiently.

The Crisis of Democracy

All this is far from the first case of ruling class corruption making the headlines in the UK. In fact, this has been a problem for at least a decade and has contributed to the gathering crisis in Democracy. The expenses scandal, the Dominic Cummings scandal, the use of all the dark arts of Cambridge Analytica and their pals to win the Brexit vote have all caused the legitimacy of the British political system to wobble, but what potentially makes this more serious than these for the ruling class is that the fears and anxiety of the broad mass of people about Covid is bound up with it; for the ruling class, the danger is that they are firmly in the dock for corruption and profiteering over something the mass of people care dearly about: our own mortality.

18.10.20

 

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other articles by John Tummon

 

THE CROWN CORPORATION AND THE ROYAL FAMILY LTD.

 

THE CROWN CORPORATION AND THE ROYAL FAMILY LTD.

 

 

FOR AN INTERNATIONALIST REPUBLICAN POLITICS THAT ADAPTS TO 21st CENTURY TERRAINS OF STRUGGLE

 

FOR AN INTERNATIONALIST REPUBLICAN POLITICS THAT ADAPTS TO 21st CENTURY TERRAINS OF STRUGGLE

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Nov 18 2020

FURTHER POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN IRELAND: NORTH AND SOUTH

We are posting the following two articles from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) in the current situation in Ireland, North and South.

 

1. STORMONT EXECUTIVE TAKES A RECKLESS TURN ON PANDEMIC

 

 

Arlene Foster and Edwin Poots, DUP

 

For a long time Stormont has stood as a byword for sectarianism, corruption and incompetence. Under the pressure of the coronavirus crisis these features of the political institutions have been elevated to new levels. The past six months has seen political leaders breach Covid regulations; parties retain support grants that were mistakenly paid into their bank accounts; advice from health officials rejected; the representatives of medical professionals subjected to personalised attacks; and a minister claim that one community was primarily responsible for the spread of the virus. However the goings on within the Stormont Executive last week, over whether to extend or relax Covid regulations, have manged to top all of that. If the situation wasn’t so serious it would be comical. Yet the decisions made by government do have consequences and what has been agreed upon this week is likely to have very severe consequences for public health. Continue reading “FURTHER POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN IRELAND: NORTH AND SOUTH”

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Nov 09 2020

POPPY PUSHERS “FUND BRITISH TERRORISTS”

With UK tied up with so many imperialist wars, November 11th, ‘Remembrance Day’ is pushed with ever greater official stridency.  Jon Snow has called this this  “poppy fascism”. We are posting this article  from the Irish-based Anti-Imperialist Action (https://twitter.com/AIAIreland) which looks at the use of the poppy from ther point of view of those who have been oppressed by British state forces.

 

POPPY PUSHERS “FUND BRITISH TERRORISTS”

 

 

“No matter what anybody says to the contrary, while we have fists, hands, and boots to use and guns if necessary, there shall be no free speech for traitors” – Frank Ryan speaking at an eve of Poppy Day rally Continue reading “POPPY PUSHERS “FUND BRITISH TERRORISTS””

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Nov 08 2020

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – WELSH COVERAGE 2002-20

Following the posting of our Irish coverage(http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/10/15/emancipation-liberation-irish-coverage-2002-20/), E&L is posting our  Welsh and republican related coverage from 2002 to 2020 to promote a wider socialist republican ‘internationalism from below’ alliance

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – WELSH COVERAGE 2002-20

 

 

2020

 

The British Left and the UK State – Allan Armstrong, RCN, Republican Socialist Platform

THE BRITISH LEFT AND THE UK STATE

From grey to red granite – Allan Armstrong, RCN, Republican Socialist Platform   Continue reading “EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – WELSH COVERAGE 2002-20”

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Nov 07 2020

THE BRITISH LEFT AND THE UK STATE

 

The British Left and the UK State, written by Allan Armstrong  can be found at:-

https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/british-left-uk-state-long-1-2.pdf

Below is an outline of the Contents and the concluding chapter addressing the need for a socialist republican ‘internationalism from below’ strategy to address the current challenges the Left faces

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THE BRITISH LEFT AND THE UK STATE

From the British Left’s ‘national exceptionalism’ during the ‘IndyRef1’campaign to acting as Left outriders for the UK state during the Brexit campaign

 

 

Contents

1. Introduction – the relationship between the UK state and the British Left
2. The challenge to British Left unionism represented by IndyRef1
3. From IndyRef1 in 2014 to the Euro-referendum in 2016 – the British Left begins to dig a hole for itself.
4. The Left Brexiteers, the 2015 Westminster general election, the 2016 Euro-referendum and on to the 2017 Westminster general election – giving succour to the Right Populist and Hard Right Brexit offensive
5. The CPB, SP(E&W) and SWP provide cover for McCluskey’s anti-democratic, ‘British jobs for British workers’, racist and Right accommodating Brexit
6. Two forces for possible future Socialist advances –Ian Allinson’s Grassroots Left election campaign for the UNITE general secretary and the appearance of Left Remain forces in the new Labour intake.
7. The growing ascendancy of the Hard Right and the final demise of Left Brexit in the December 12th general election
8. The Left Brexiteers export their Brexit illusions to Ireland
9. Conclusion – challenge the UK and partitioned Irish states, their ‘internationalism from above’ allies and the disunited Left’s ‘national ‘exceptionalism’ with a socialist republican ‘internationalism from below’ strategy

  Continue reading “THE BRITISH LEFT AND THE UK STATE”

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Oct 21 2020

END THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT – DEFEND ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES

We are posting this article by Fred Laplat and Mile Picken, first posted by Socialist Resistance (https://socialistresistance.org/end-the-hostile-environment-defend-asylum-seekers-and-refugees/20861), about the Tories post-Brexit attacks on asylum seekers and refugees, harbingers of stepped up attacks on all migrant workers

 

END THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT – DEFEND ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES

 

The recently revealed Tory plans to disperse asylum seekers thousands of miles away are another example of the racism of the UK governments’ brand of neoliberalism.  Meanwhile, existing asylum seekers within the UK are facing inhumane treatment by private contractors, incarcerated and facing Covid outbreaks, deportation and frequent movement that also risk spreading the virus among the asylum community. Continue reading “END THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT – DEFEND ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES”

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Oct 15 2020

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – IRISH COVERAGE 2002-20

E&L is posting our  Irish coverage form 2002 to 2021 to promote a wider socialist republican ‘internationalism from below’ alliance

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – IRISH COVERAGE 2002-20

 

2020

From Grey to Red Granite – Allan Armstrong, RCN

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/10/10/from-grey-to-red-granite-viewing-the-left-the-scottish-question-and-the-nature-of-the-uk-state-through-the-lens-of-neil-davidsons-writings-and-political-work/ and https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/from-grey-to-red-granite-7.pdf

Continue reading “EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION – IRISH COVERAGE 2002-20”

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Oct 10 2020

FROM GREY TO RED GRANITE – Viewing the Left, the Scottish Question and the Nature of the UK State through the Lens of Neil Davidson’s Writings and Political Work

 

Below are  the Contents and Introduction to Allan Armstrong’s article, From Grey Granite to Red Granite – Viewing the Left, the Scottish Question and the Nature of the UK state through the Lens of Neil Davidson’s Writings and Political Work.

The full article can be read at:-

https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/from-grey-to-red-granite.pdf

 

 

Neil Davidson speaks to a socialist conference in Athens

Allan Armstrong speaks to a James Connolly walking tour in Edinburgh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM GREY TO RED GRANITE

 Viewing the Left, the Scottish Question and the Nature of the UK state through the Lens of Neil Davidson’s Writings and Political Work

 

 

Allan Armstrong

 

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Contents

  Continue reading “FROM GREY TO RED GRANITE – Viewing the Left, the Scottish Question and the Nature of the UK State through the Lens of Neil Davidson’s Writings and Political Work”

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Oct 09 2020

BRITISH GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO BREAK INTERNATIONAL LAW – SO WHAT’S NEW?

 

BRITISH GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO BREAK INTERNATIONAL LAW – SO WHAT’S NEW?

 

Boris ties himself in knots over Withdrawal Deal

 

“For England, there is no alliance that holds, no treaty which is respected, no truth which matters.”
Charles de Gaulle in his memoirs

 

As the negotiations on a post Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU move into a critical period the British government have sought to up the ante by introducing a bill at Westminster that would allow it to renege on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).  A day prior to its introduction the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis stated quite clearly in the Commons that it would indeed “break international law” though only in “a very specific and limited way”.  This statement caused quite a stir.  Politicians and commentators were aghast that the government would contemplate such a course of action and risk tarnishing Britain’s reputation as an upholder of law.  Of course such a reputation only exists in their mythologised view of the UK rather than in reality.  As the quote from Charles de Gaulle at the head of this article indicates – Britain has a long history of duplicity in its dealings with other nations.  What caused offence was the bald manner in which it was stated on this occasion. Continue reading “BRITISH GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO BREAK INTERNATIONAL LAW – SO WHAT’S NEW?”

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Oct 09 2020

DOCTOR ISAAM HIJAWI – PRISON HUNGER STRIKE VICTORY

 

 

This is an update to the article from Working Class Club  we posted on 20.9.20 (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/09/20/hunger-strikes-in-support-of-dr-issam-hijawi) about the hunger strike to protest at the imprisonment  of Dr. Issam Hijawi a Palestinian activist in Maghaberry Jail. This latest article was first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland).

 

DR. ISSAM HIJAWI – PRISON HUNGERS STRIKE VICTORY

 

Dr. Issam Hijawi and MM Prison Maghaberry, Lisburn

 

One duty of socialists is to keep record of the ebb and flow of struggles and their significance for future struggle.  That duty arises in relation to the recent republican hunger strike especially as, in a time of retreat,  it registered a modest victory.  Prison authorities, attempting to crush Palestinian Doctor Issam Hijjawi by using Covid-19 to justify extended solitary confinement,  were forced to retreat. Continue reading “DOCTOR ISAAM HIJAWI – PRISON HUNGER STRIKE VICTORY”

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