Sue Gray report: Johnson on the brink

Workers’ action needed to beat the bosses and the Tories

Months and months of waiting, for a report which we already know the contents of: Boris Johnson and the Tories think they can make and break the rules.

Given his own way, there would be no consequences for Johnson’s rule breaking. Legally, he has got away with a solitary £50 fine, just one of 126 Downing Street fines given to 83 different people. Predictably, Johnson is happy for more junior staff to take the flack.

Contrast Johnson’s £50 to the £10,000 fine given to the Manchester nurse who organised a protest demanding a pay rise, or the teenager fined £184 for meeting three friends in a park the day before Downing Street’s cheese and wine party.

For those of us who went into work during the pandemic, it was no soiree. Particularly for those on the frontline, and including those tasked with helping the prime minister recover from his bout of Covid. For those who worked from home, many without a garden, swamped by het-up kids, it wasn’t much fun either.

Whatever the contents of the report, the biggest consequence of ‘partygate’ is its political damage. Although, as much as parliament wants to discuss it, its proportions are dwarfed by the size of the damage done by the ongoing falling of living standards and impending recession.

Workers and the trade union movement are not just idle bystanders. By taking action for a pay rise and to end the cost-of-living crisis, the working-class movement can hasten the end of Johnson and the Tories. A new mass workers’ party, if it existed, would transform the situation by fighting for a £15-an-hour minimum wage, RPI-inflation-busting pay rises and massive investment for the NHS. That’s why we need to fight to help bring one into existence, as a first step towards ending the rotten capitalist system epitomised by this rotten Tory government.