During the election campaign Boris Johnson and the rest of his team promised that there were no plans to meddle with the rights of Working people. My own local candidate, now tory MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson went
on record at the local hustings explaining that there were no plans to reduce workers rights in the event of a tory majority. I’m afraid I wasn’t convinced.
The October withdrawal bill, the one that Boris withdrew because parliament wanted time to scrutinise it (and refused to let it pass without such scrutiny) included such protections. That’s the one the EU had agreed to in principle, assuming that it gained the consent of the house – a consent that could only come if parliament was allowed time to consider it in sufficient detail.
After the election Johnson has an 80 seat majority with many of his MPs new to the chamber, unsure of their position and presumably not sufficiently brave to stand up to Boris’ whips even if they wanted to. This means he can do what he likes, with or without parliamentary scrutiny and so…
The December version of the withdrawal bill lacks the appropriate clauses about maintaining working peoples’ rights. Michael Gove, long time opponent of anything that stands in the way of large multinationals exploiting their workers has reassured us that everything will be OK because rights will be considered separately at some unspecified later date. The excuse is that they don’t want to complicate the road to Brexit so they’ll sort the rights part out later. Oh really?
Needless to say Mr. Jenkinson, newly elected MP for Workington voted in favour of the revised withdrawal bill and its implications for workers and Europeans despite the lack of time for proper scrutiny.
Now remember that the previous deal which included workers’ rights has already been agreed by the EU. Boris could pass whatever bill he likes in this new parliament so what could possibly be so difficult about workers’ rights that they need to be removed to let the bill carry through the house? That just doesn’t make sense.
In fact the opposite is true. It is precisely because of the changes to the October version of the bill, particularly relating to working peoples’ rights and the rights of EU citizens that the EU may not ratify this new version after all. Far from making the road to Brexit easier, abandoning workers’ and EU citizens’ rights is actually making it more complicated – and we all know where that can lead.
So what’s the real reason for the removal of working peoples’ rights?
Last night at 10pm the exit polls announced their results. Right from the word go, even as the count was only just getting started TV pundits were predicting a landslide majority for the conservative party. And they were right.
The tory party now has a massive overall majority in the British parliament and there’s nothing to stop them doing exactly as they please. And there’s the rub.
There are no longer any excuses for Boris and his disreputable gang of bully boys. There’s nobody to blame for their failures or for their cruelties. Whatever they do in the next five years, longer if they implement their ‘enabling act’ (see p.48 of the Tory manifesto) will be entirely down to them.
Well, they made a lot of promises, as tories always do. Election time is the only time when the conservative party starts talking like socialists. As if by magic they suddenly begin en masse to care about the NHS waiting lists they created. They start to worry about people struggling in poverty due to Tory party policies and they claim to want more educational opportunities for our young people who’ve had their prospects decimated by 9 years of Tory rule.
We’ll be watching
So let’s make sure they do what they set out to do. Let’s make sure they keep those promises too. After all, we know they’ll keep the right wing pledges they made to take even more from ordinary people and give it to the super rich. We know they’ll be falling over each other to flog our NHS to the Americans and there’s absolutely no doubt that they’ll further decrease our access to legal redress when our rights are trampled. That’s the trajectory they’ve been on for years.
Let’s hold them to their words about the good stuff too.
Left eye view
Left eye view will keep watching this government and compare its actions to its manifesto and election promises. New laws, changes to taxation and reductions in funding for necessary services will be compared against Boris’ promises to us, the people. Let’s see how sincere this government really is.
The first question at last night’s hustings was about inequality. It’s ironic that this first question demonstrated the inequality between the candidates, both in competence and in understanding. The labour candidate, Sue Hayman was confident, knowledgeable and passionate. Mark Jenkinson, the local conservative’s answer was superficial, uninformed and characterised by soundbytes delivered by rote without a hint of engagement with the subject.
The Brexit party was in Workington, Cumbria this weekend. Sorry about the poor video quality. That’s what happens when you try to interview people and do everything yourself. Oh well.
The ‘Brexiteers’ amateurism was a joy to behold. The candidate could hardly get a word in because of his volunteer helper whose attempts at political discourse were simply laughable. When the candidate finally intervened they had a little spat on camera before the volunteer spat his dummy and packed up the stall in a fit of sulky pique more suited to a teenage girl who’s just been told she can’t have her ears pierced. And this was only lunchtime – I’m sure they’d planned to stay much longer.
Perhaps I scared them away. Five minutes later they’d vanished without trace. What they did say before they scarpered, especially the candidate was revealing though and it really should give us all reason to wonder just who these upstarts think they are.
How dare they risk our economy and the lives and peace of the people of Northern Ireland on a pipe dream of former glory and Empire? How dare they?