Britain’s deepening social crisis confirms the urgent need to replace Theresa May’s minority regime with a left-led Labour government, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said at the weekend.
Reporting to his party’s Executive Committee, he slammed Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster and the Tory response. She had stopped short of calling for a ban on combustible cladding, while Housing and Communities secretary James Brokenshire had promised a ‘consultation’ on the Hackitt report followed by unspecified legislation.
‘The is the “British way” when it comes to limiting the reckless, anti-social, profiteering activities of big business: guidance notes, voluntary codes of practice, toothless ombudspersons, light-touch regulation and – when things go horrendously wrong – committees of inquiry, judicial reviews, empty declarations and occasionally a royal commission’, the Communiist Party leader commented, ‘In fact, anything except legislative bans and powerful action to enforce them’.
He described the Grenfell scandal as the ‘most dramatic illustration’ of Britain’s housing crisis and ‘grotesque levels of social inequality and injustice’.
Robert Griffiths condemned the sell-off of social housing to private developers, property speculators and ‘giant US multinational corporations such as Blackstone’.
He attacked ‘socially affordable’ housing clauses in private sector housebuilding contracts as a ‘cruel hoax’. Instead of the large-scale revival of the private rental sector, he argued that only a massive programme to build more public sector houses and apartments would ensure ‘decent, affordable and secure homes for all’.
Robert Griffiths also highlighted Britain’s ‘institutionally racist’ immigration system and severe funding and staff shortages in the NHS as two other significant aspects of a wider and deeper social crisis.
The Communist Party executive reaffirmed its support for the election of a left-led Labour government, while warning that only an upsurge in mass, extra-parliamentary campaigning will create the most favourable conditions for victory.
Communists urged the Labour Party leadership to stand firm against the ‘anti-Semitism smear campaign’ and maintain its principled defence of the national and human rights of the Palestinian people.
The Communist Party executive also demanded that the 2016 referendum decision to leave the ‘pro-big business, anti-democratic and imperialist’ EU be honoured in full.
Robert Griffiths accused pro-EU forces of whipping up tensions over the Irish border issue, challenging them with last November’s report from the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee. He quoted from ‘Smart Border 2.0’, which says its proposed solution ‘serves both sides of the border with maximum predictability, speed and security and … is based on international standards and operational best practices from different parts of the world supported by state-of-the-art technology’.
The Communist Party general secretary also condemned the ‘rank hypocrisy’ of SNP, LibDem, Green and Plaid Cymru politicians who are demanding the immediate transfer to Edinburgh and Cardiff of powers repatriated from the EU as a result of Brexit. ‘Yet they want a second referendum to reverse Brexit – which would leave all of those powers permanently in Brussels!’ he pointed out.