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From: Article posted to home page Home, 21 June 2017: Socialist Party news and analysis

Search site for keywords: Protest - Government - Fire - Austerity - London - Socialist Party - Jeremy Corbyn - Tory party - Media - Grenfell Tower - Democracy

Tories Out protest, 21.6.17, photo by Sarah Wrack

Tories Out protest, 21.6.17, photo by Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

The Queen's Speech; and defending the right to protest

Judy Beishon

Following the Grenfell fire disaster, to try to cut across the anger being aimed at the entire establishment, the likes of the Daily Mail went into overdrive in attacking today's protests timed to coincide with the Queen's Speech.

The Mail and other right-wing media attempted to slander protesters as "hijacking the grief" of Grenfell victims. Quotes were carried from charity workers in the Grenfell Tower area condemning violent protest - after presumably feeding them with stories of impending 'violent, destructive' protest.

However, it is precisely those reactionary so-called newspapers that will aim to do massive injustice to the Grenfell victims - through their super-wealthy owners closing ranks around their friends and investment partners in the upper echelons of British capitalism.

It is from those circles that come the drive for privatisation, deregulation and cost cutting that lay behind the horrific fire.

The victims of the fire and their families have suffered incredibly and there has been an outpouring of sympathy and genuine solidarity with them across London and nationally - including from the protesters on the streets today.

As John McDonnell said, people have every right to be angry and to protest. Only building a democratically organised mass movement against the neoliberal policies that were responsible for the fire can stop further tragedies like it.

The London Socialist Party anti-Tory protest organised today was planned before the Grenfell fire shook society, as some others also were. To now add demands in the protests for justice for the fire victims and measures to prevent another such atrocity, is clearly essential.

Jeremy Corbyn, too, rightly began his response today in parliament to the Queen's Speech by saying that the deaths in Grenfell Tower could have been avoided and a similar tragedy must never happen again.

He deplored the cuts in the fire service that have been imposed and called for sprinklers to be fitted in all tall buildings and other safety measures taken - and said there must be a complete end to all austerity.

'Mob rule' accusation

The right wing media also condemned protesters for wanting to remove the Tory government, to which we plead guilty along with millions of other working class and middle class people who can't tolerate more austerity at its hands.

What we reject is the underhand slur of 'violence' that the likes of the Daily Mail have tried to incite.

Outside parliament, 21.6.17, photo by Sarah Wrack

Outside parliament, 21.6.17, photo by Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Super-rich Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg - whose hedge fund has been reported as having many millions of pounds invested in tobacco, oil and coal mining companies, was quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying: "Inciting a day of rage when parliament reassembles after an election is an attempt to replace democracy and the rule of law with mob power."

But in the Daily Mail's attack-dog feature, which included an attempt to denigrate London Socialist Party organiser Paul Callanan as being - among the organisers of other protests - "the lowest of the low", the most fiery call that they could find Paul uttering was for people to "mobilise, bring banners and make as much noise as possible"!

Paul tweeted in response: "The 'Lowest of the low' eh? Coming from the @DailyMailUK that really is quite the compliment".

Also Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe was this morning quizzed by Nick Ferrari on London radio LBC about the protests, with Peter having to defend the right to protest and explain about the type of democratically run protest action the Socialist Party has organised - including the mass movement of non-payers of the poll tax that brought down the Thatcher Tory government.

It's the likes of Rees Mogg who fear democracy and want to keep in power the destructive public spending slashing Tory mob.

Escalate the protests!

On our part, we will help to step up the anti-austerity protest action which is presently building up to a huge anti-Tory demonstration on 1st July. Will the pro-Tory press then argue that the hundreds of thousands who might participate on that day are there with the goal of anti-democratic violence?

On the contrary, the goal is to draw in more and more people from the struggling-to-get-by majority in society, against the continuation of a government that is losing more and more support each day and has in its sights further brutal austerity.

In his Mansion House speech yesterday, Chancellor Philip Hammond added to the infighting at the top of the Tory Party on Brexit by demanding a soft Brexit, in an open challenge to some of the declarations of his boss, the prime minister. But he made sure to say that austerity goes on - because for the Tories, reversing the tax cuts given to the rich or even increasing borrowing further to adequately fund services are not options.

During the general election campaign more and more people viewed Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies as a realisable and very welcome alternative. Ever since Corbyn became Labour's leader the Socialist Party has argued that he could win a general election with left policies - which is now seen by millions.

Theresa May's minority government is hanging by a thread. Even the Times today called it a "zombie government" and commented: "Mrs May is so weak that she cannot arbitrate between squabbling cabinet members who two weeks ago she wanted to sack".

In the Queen's Speech there was no mention of any of her discredited flagship policies: the Dementia Tax, scrapping hot lunches for infants, means-testing the winter fuel allowance for pensioners, ending the triple lock on pension rises, legalising fox hunting, creating more grammar schools.

Jeremy Corbyn observed that the Tory general election manifesto has even disappeared from the Tory Party's website!

Also it can be celebrated that the Queen's Speech had no mention of Trump visiting Britain.

Tory MPs who virtually all applauded May's decision to call the general election have deserted her in droves and placed all the blame on her for the loss of their majority. Their dilemma now though is that if they don't support the government's Bills outlined today, they face the prospect of increased instability in the government and it possibly falling, and then them losing their seats in a new election.

The added elephant in the room for them is the horror of the capitalists - who they represent - of a Corbyn led government coming to power and implementing pro-working class policies.

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