The Morning Star and their political masters the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), have a problem with Boris Johnson: when it comes to Brexit, they agree with him.
This is obviously embarrassing for people who call themselves socialists. The Morning Star does its best to avoid making it too obvious. But the strain tells.
In its editorial of 23 July, the Morning Star suggested that “Where his [Johnson’s] coronation both poses a risk and presents an opportunity to the left is in his greater distance from the Establishment ‘mainstream’ and the already evident breach between him and parts of the permanent state”.
In another Morning Star article (15 July), “Brexit, Boris Johnson and a British state in crisis”, Kevin Ovenden (a member of the Counterfire group, who broadly agree with the CPB) had already argued that “the establishment is losing control” as a result of the “historic anti-Establishment result” (i.e. the June 2016 referendum). Under Johnson the Tory party “is unmoored from following the overwhelming consensus of big capital in Britain”.
Have you got that? Johnson’s not really part of the “Establishment” and he poses a threat to “the permanent state” (i.e. the civil service, the armed forces, MI5, etc) and “big capital”.
If you think I’m being unfair, read CPB general secretary Robert Griffiths in the Morning Star of 27 July:
“The formation of a government headed by Boris Johnson opens a new stage in the political crisis of Britain’s ruling class.
“Why? Because it is a regime apparently committed to a policy that contradicts the interests of big business.
“Most of the big financial and economic monopoly corporations do not want Britain to leave the EU. They regard the result of the 2016 referendum as a major defeat...
“They were prepared to accept Theresa May’s ‘semi-Brexit’ if an exit could not be stopped altogether”.
But it’s all different now. When Boris Johnson said “fuck business”, he really meant it!
The Morning Star (reporting on CPB policy) nailed its colours to the “no deal” mast back in January, while May was still prime minister.
“Britain should leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms to free a future Labour government from single market rule, the Communist Party declared at the weekend...
“Any withdrawal agreement revamped by the government would continue to bind Britain to the single market.
“CP general secretary Robert Griffiths said this would ‘obstruct any future British government’s efforts to promote infrastructure investment, manufacturing industry, economic planning, public ownership, regional development, public-sector procurement and VAT reforms and a labour market that ensures full rights for all workers.’
“Mr Griffiths added that being part of a customs union would ‘outlaw import regulation to protect strategic industries such as steel, while also impeding a mutually beneficial fair trade policy with developing countries’.
“The CP urged the labour movement to reject moves to extend Article 50 as this could lead to Brexit being cancelled”. So the only danger it seems was that under May the Tories could not be trusted to take the UK out of the Single Market, or fully out of it.
Now Johnson says the same thing, and not just in newspaper articles, but from 10 Downing St. And promises to push it through, whatever Parliament thinks, whatever the electorate thinks.
Where does it leave the CP and Morning Star? Why don’t they offer critical but unconditional support? Why don’t they campaign for Johnson to stay true to his promise to take Britain out “come hell or high water” on 31 October?
When it comes to Jeremy Corbyn’s one consistent policy on Brexit (opposing no-deal), the Morning Star actually opposes him. But you won’t get a Morning Star editorial spelling that out.