‘Boris Johnson has turned Downing Street into the equivalent of an American speakeasy during Prohibition’, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths told the party’s newly elected executive committee at the weekend. ‘Of course, he’s unfit to be Prime Minster – but what many millions of people need more than a change of tenant at Number Ten is a government that will challenge monopoly power – not protect and subsidise it, including with a battery of new anti-democratic laws to suppress dissent and protest’, he declared.
Mr Griffiths pointed to forthcoming gas and electricity price hikes that will plunge another two million households into fuel poverty, making a total of six million across Britain by the spring. ‘Yet the Big Five energy monopolies are making big profits from supply, production or both – for example Centrica-British Gas almost doubled its profits in the first half of 2021’, the CP leader commented.
Britain’s Communists demanded strict price controls, a windfall tax on the fossil fuel giants, the permanent abolition of VAT on household energy bills -now made possible by Brexit – and a return of the industry to public ownership.
‘The ruling capitalist class is in a prolonged political crisis as the result of divisions and setbacks over austerity policies, relations with the EU and responses to Covid’, Mr Griffiths argued, ‘but in the face of Labour Party timidity it falls to the wider labour movement to unite around a bold, left and progressive alternative to the Tories’ pro-big business agenda’.
The CP executive committed the Communists to take part in joint community campaigning initiatives by trade unions and the People’s Assembly for jobs, pay and public services.
The weekend meeting also elected the Communist Party’s officers for the next two years, including Ruth Styles (chair), Tony Conway and Mollie Brown (vice-chairs), Robert Griffiths (general secretary), Andy Bain (trade union organiser), Carol Stavris (women’s organiser) and Kevan Nelson (international secretary). They will be joined on the new political committee by Alex Gordon, Lorraine Douglas, Tony Conway and Young Communist League general secretary Johnnie Hunter.