Cover story on the economic crisis in Britain some three years ago. The crisis has continued despite the false claims of an recovery throughout the industrialized capitalist states., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Cameron’s veto stirs it up
by Daphne Liddle
The New Worker
PRIME MINISTER David Cameron certainly put the cat among the pigeons last week when he used his veto at the European Union emergency summit because the plan to save the euro hatched between Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel could not give London’s City bankers the exemption from regulation that Cameron wanted.
Now Europe is going ahead with the agreement and preparing to draw up a new basis of working together and Britain is stuck on the outside — not a part of the Eurozone, not a party to the new agreement but sure to be affected by the new regulations that it will have no part in drafting.
Some commentators even accused Merkel and Sarkozy of manipulating Cameron to provoke his walk-out — leaving them free of his further “interference” in Eurozone affairs.
Cameron probably hoped that the other 10 European Union countries that were not part of the Eurozone would back him and walk out too. It did not happen.
They chose to follow the lead of Franco-German imperialism though the Germans, with the strongest economy and playing the role of bailing out other countries in difficulty, will clearly be in charge.
Either way the outlook for the workers of Britain and Europe is bleak. The rest of the EU will go ahead with a deal that will give countries far less economic autonomy along the route to becoming the European super state of the industrialists and bankers that Franco-German imperialism has been working towards for years.
But that will only happen if the agreement succeeds in saving the euro from collapse and that is far from certain.
And the rescue of the euro is going to mean further and worse austerity measures being imposed on European workers — unless they rise up against it.
The Sarkozy-Merkel agreement will involve an attempt to regulate banks under EU control to avoid future banking crises. But these crises will occur anyway. They are an inevitable part of the capitalist system.
What it does mean is that European capitalism is likely to refuse to trade with financial institutions outside the EU unless they agree to accept the same regulations.
Since more than 40 per cent of Britain’s trade is with Europe, this will have a devastating effect on our economy. And it could topple the global economic power of the City of London, which would give great joy to its German rivals.
For workers in Britain this means a big hit on jobs and living standards and a desperate search by the Government for new trading partners. Unemployment in Britain is now at 2.64 million according to figures released on Wednesday, a rise of 128,000 in the three months to October giving us an unemployment rate of 8.3 per cent from 7.9 per cent in the previous quarter.
It’s no good looking to the Americans; they have too many financial problems of their own and US imperialism is in no position to help. Britain is now isolated.
The pro-European Liberal Democrats are horrified at the rift with Europe. They have sworn to undo the damage and take Britain back into the heart of Europe as soon as they can. The only way they can do this is to break their link with the Tories and realign themselves towards Labour. That possibility is growing.
But the whole arena of battle — in Westminster, Brussels and the world — is of different capitalist vested interests tearing each other apart with no regard at all for the interests of the working class.
Capitalism is approaching a point when it cannot go on anymore in the same old way.
If, at that point, there is a strong, politically conscious and organised working class in Britain and in Europe, then it will be a potentially revolutionary situation.
If not there is a real danger of retreat into some form of fascism, which would be the worst possible outcome for the working class.
A year or two ago the prospect of the working class in Britain reaching the necessary point of mobilisation seemed remote.
But the savage cuts made by this Con-Dem Coalition have provoked 18 months of increasing levels of protest and the biggest ever one-day national strike of public sector workers on 30th November. The class is waking up and getting its act together.