Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2020

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1110

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party

Boris Johnson / Pippa Fowles No10

Boris Johnson / Pippa Fowles No10   (Click to enlarge)

Relations at the top of the government have become so putrid and precarious that it only took the appointment of a new press secretary - Allegra Stratton - to trigger a chain of reactions leading to the exit of two of the closest staff to Boris Johnson.

Stratton had refused to work under the director of communications, Lee Cain, and a plan to mollify him by promoting him to the role of chief of staff fell apart. It was widely reported that Johnson's partner, Carrie Symonds, among others, had intervened against it.

Cain resigned, followed a few days later by the notorious senior advisor Dominic Cummings, derided and ridiculed across the country ever since his disregard for lockdown rules and subsequent 'explanation'.

"An opportunity to muck out the stables" said one Tory MP on news of the departures, reflecting the view of a significant number of Tory backbenchers and ministers. They've been fearing for their political careers as Johnson's popularity has plummeted, with some of the blame being directed at the arrogant clique around Cummings and Cain.

However, the resignations won't end the ferocious infighting, which stems from irreconcilable differences across the party that have been raging for a long period, on a number of fundamental issues. At root they are ideological.

In part, the fault lines over Brexit were resurfacing in this latest bloodbath. Cain was part of the 2016 EU Leave campaign which was headed by Cummings and Johnson. Tensions have escalated during the final weeks of negotiations with the EU over the end of the transition period, and now Biden's victory in the US has thrown an additional factor into that cauldron.

This has overlapped with other political issues, and also with a desire to try to give the party and the government a more caring, less toxic image - argued for by some of those who wanted rid of Cain and Cummings.


This is a government in huge crisis, responsible for the highest Covid death toll in Europe and the greatest economic decline of all the most developed countries. It has zigzagged on every crucial question that has arisen, including the lockdowns, school exams, free school meals and the furlough scheme, and has been facing parliamentary rebellions by an increasing number of Tory MPs.

The party infighting has become more entrenched as different line-ups search in vain for a way out of the multiple and severe crises. Myriad internal 'factions' exist: the Northern Research Group, Common Sense Group, One Nation Caucus, China Research Group, the Blue Barricade, among them.

Unsurprisingly, big business leaders have expressed dismay at the incompetence and uncertainty, even questioning the government's whole attitude to business and the economy. Conservative governments have usually been the preferred representatives of the capitalists, and Johnson's government is intrinsically based on capitalist interests. But there is deep concern in the ruling class over the fault lines within it, some of the political decisions taken, and on the manoeuvring and ineptitude of Johnson - and his choice of officials.

There's also unease over the speed at which trust in capitalist 'democracy' is being undermined. The government's Covid-related failings loom largest in this, but there are also smaller episodic issues. For instance, the Cabinet Office still hasn't published the results of an investigation into the behaviour of home secretary Priti Patel. Nor has any action been taken against housing secretary Robert Jenrick for presiding over "opaque and not impartial" funding decisions, as reported by the House of Commons public accounts committee.

The total dysfunction of the Tories underlines why the capitalist establishment has been so positive about the election of Starmer as Labour leader and his counter-revolution against Corbyn and Corbynism. They need a political fall-back position that poses no threat to the capitalist economic interests.

Any idea that a reshuffle of ministers and staff will 'reset' the government on a stable path is pie in the sky. Or that Johnson's fortunes can be transformed by the planned daily broadcasts to the public by the new Downing Street press secretary, bypassing the media.

Their difficulties should give confidence to workers and young people to get organised in the trade unions and in the communities to fight for their interests on health and safety at work, on jobs and livelihoods, and on public services.

But the only way to end the Tories wretched state, and their anti-working class agenda, is to hasten their end and get them out of office - an urgent task of the workers' movement. This needs to go along with laying the basis now for the building of a new mass workers' party that can offer a socialist alternative.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 18 November 2020:

What we think

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party


Tories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

Croydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

System failing thousands of children in care

Race disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all


Covid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism


Tories student 'evacuation' plan will not work

Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?


Campaign for school Covid safety must continue

Workplace news

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Optare: Right to strike defended

Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion

Strike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

Hackney council parking services brought in-house


After Corbyn: TUSC and the fight for working-class political representation


How will Socialism 2020 work?

Manchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

#SpyCops inquiry - Revealing police violence against Socialists

Selling the Socialist

Stop Leicester hospital closure


Young Socialists organising for our future


Obituary: Paul Chettle


The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 18 November 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleFight the rotten establishment

trianglePoverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?

trianglePCS ballots members in Jobcentres over safety

trianglePrivate sector is stealing the NHS


triangleHartlepool sums up Labour crisis

triangleDefend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks

triangleSt Mungo's strikers fight on

triangleGo Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers


triangleCapitalist sleaze and cronyism

triangleLiverpool hustings - only TUSC has a strategy to take on the Tories

triangleGreensill scandal, Corruption ... Build a socialist alternative

The Socialist:

triangleWhy you should join the Socialist Party

triangleEstablishing factory sales of the Socialist in Leicester


triangleNorth London Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine flare-up - how can the conflict be ended?


triangleColombia: Mass trade union-led protests force tax retreat

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Hartlepool sums up Labour crisis



Fight the rotten establishment



New law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse



Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again



Capitalist sleaze and cronyism


Local government

Can the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?



Hands off our NHS


Mental health

Covid, capitalism and mental health



Socialists and elections - a response to the SWP



What councils can do to protect the environment


Welfare state

Poverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?


Post Office

39 'postmasters' cleared - now clear the rest



Vote TUSC to oppose sleazy capitalism



Private sector is stealing the NHS



No trust in billionaire football owners - kick them out and reclaim the game

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021