Partygate and the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial
Whether Boris Johnson resigns or is forced out in the next few days, after the Sue Gray inquiry, or after the May elections is moot, he almost definitely will be gone soon as Prime Minister.
The fact that he has not gone already highlights the fact that the British ruling class are looking increasingly divided and weak, and that they cannot produce the calibre of politician that they relied upon to administer their system. The Conservative Party is crippled by one stark fact, who will replace Johnson? None of the possible successors to Johnson, whether Truss, Sunak or Hunt, have his populist charisma. Truss would try to be a second Margaret Thatcher, whilst Sunak would not be popular with his desire to raise taxes. Neither of these would appeal to the so-called Red Wall voters in the North of England.
Johnson and his supporters are looking to buy time by demanding that no decision be made until the results of the Sue Gray inquiry. But she is a civil servant employed by Johnson himself. Her report is not an independent inquiry, and it will not decide whether Johnson goes or not. The track record of this senior civil servant does not encourage us to think that her report will be as devastating as it could be. She has been described as “not a person that believes in open and full disclosure” over her conduct over the Grenfell fire inquiry, where she blocked the disclosure of certain emails. She urged officials not to respond to Freedom of Information requests about the infected blood scandal. In 2015 Chris Cook, then the policy editor for BBC Newsnight wrote: “I know of half-a-dozen occasions where Ms Gray has intervened to tell departments to fight disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.”
Johnson may survive that inquiry, but the rising inflation, rising taxes and soaring energy bills, coupled with the many hits to his reputation, may well bring disastrous results for the Tories at the May elections.
Meanwhile Prince Andrew has been stripped of all of his military titles and patronages and the use of “His Royal Highness”. It was the Queen who enacted this, but in reality, it was Prince Charles and Prince William who forced her to this decision. Charles and William are well aware that the British monarchy must “modernise” if it is to survive. “The Firm”, as the British monarchy is referred to by its members, is a lucrative family business that must not be jeopardised by the behaviour of one of its members. Charles and William are horrified that the damage caused to the monarchy by Andrew could be grievous, and they have acted quickly to cut out the cancer. Whether this action will be enough, remains to be seen, as fresh revelations about Andrew’s behaviour emerge. For our part, we look forward to the demise of the whole rotten monarchist edifice.
The Covid pandemic has highlighted the disunity reigning within the United Kingdom with the parliaments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales increasingly taking decisions at odds with Westminster. Johnson’s behaviour has increased the chances of Scotland breaking with the UK, and even the Scottish Tories are putting clear blue water between themselves and Johnson and his flunkies in Westminster.
The year ahead promises to be very interesting. We cannot predict if rising energy prices and inflation, coupled with a tsunami of revelations of wrongdoing and corruption, will bring social unrest, as they have in other countries. We sincerely hope it will and we will be there to agitate for the end of this rotting system. When revolt manifests itself in the workplaces and the streets, the good old standby of the social fire brigade, the Labour Party, will be wheeled out. Starmer and Rayner can only provide us with more of the same old, like previous Labour governments, the same old sellouts, the same old attacks on our living standards, the same old unwillingness to tackle the environmental crisis.
As we have repeatedly said, it is time that we developed our own independent organisations and social movements, independent of the political parties, to bring about the downfall of this ailing system and bring in a new era of social harmony and equality.