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Battered by his own MPs in parliament, his Oxbridge allies in the Supreme Court, and even some press barons, the isolated Tory leader has used his party conference as a platform for a right-wing populist election manifesto.
He is hoping to appeal to working-class leave voters, angered by three years of parliamentary obstructions. But nothing Johnson offers will solve the problems of workers or end the crisis.
Trying to appeal to working-class voters with promises to raise the minimum wage and increase funding for the NHS, schools and the police, shows the looming election will not be fought only on Brexit. It will also be a judgement on austerity. A record that haunts Johnson wherever he goes.
The announcement of an increase in the minimum wage is an admission of the poverty that has risen under the Tory austerity rule of Cameron and May. All voted through by millionaire Johnson.
A promise for the future will do nothing now to alleviate the record rise in child poverty, the daily pressure on low-paid families to buy food and pay the rent.
Attempts to patch up the Tory party with a right-wing populist appeal will not last the week. When a perpetual liar throws around future spending promises on health, education and local authorities, that will mean nothing for the hospitals, schools and councils; for the nurses, porters, teachers, TAs and council workers.
There is no new money today, and what is on offer in no way makes up for years of cuts. So the acute crisis in public services will continue and the anger at austerity will continue to boil.
But as parliament re-opens, the pantomime continues with debates on procedure and inflammatory language. The continued delay and uncertainty over Brexit leaves working-class voters increasingly alienated from politics, and full of four-letter words of their own.
Away from the media headlines, but reported every week in the Socialist, the growing number of localised strikes, and now important national disputes developing in Royal Mail and the universities, reveal the battle lines that this election should be fought over.
Corbyn's own conference commitments on pay, social care, education and scrapping Universal Credit will enthuse working-class and young voters. But it needs to be heard, loud and clear.
That must be done on the streets, through rallies and demonstrations mobilised by the left-led trade unions, demanding an immediate general election and an end to austerity. Corbyn has to call on his own Labour councils not to implement another penny in further cuts.
All of this could counter the lies and slanders in the Tory media.
Linked to a decisive call for a vote of no confidence in Johnson, such a campaign could be a winning platform for Corbyn, especially if he were armed with socialist policies and Labour candidates prepared to fight for a permanent end to the age of austerity.
A workers voice (5)
EU referendum meetings and events (81)
No unity with Tories (6)
Socialist case for exit (1)
Striking back against EU law (3)
Article dated 2 October 2019
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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