At a speech in Glasgow, Jeremy Corbyn laid bare the Tories’ hypocrisy in claiming to be the party of British interests, and particularly, British workers’ interests. He poured scorn on the Taories’ potential decision to award a £1bn contract for the construction of three Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships to a company in South Korea.
Shipbuilding is and has traditionally been the torchlight in Britain’s industrial output. In the 1890s, 80% of the world’s ships were built in this country. Now, about 0.5% are. The decline is partly due to globalisation, of course, and the shifting seas of global trade. Japan, South Korea and China have all offered cost-effective competition to British ships.
As well, though, it is due to Government policy. Particularly, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government of the 1980s failing to implement policy to aid the modernisation of British shipbuilding.
Still, however, jobs and towns’ local economies rely on what’s left of British shipbuilding. Ship repairs and shipbuilding is an industry that employs around 32,000 people nationwide, and is worth around £2bn. The Tories, though, are determined to further denigrate this sector, and with it, this country’s proud heritage.
Outsourcing the construction of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships is in line with current Government policy. Whereas complex military ships must be built in this country, perceived less-sophisticated support vessels are capable of being built abroad. As such, the construction of the three ships has been put out to international tender.
In a speech in Glasgow, Corbyn gave both barrels to the incendiary, damaging policy motives of the Tory Government.
From Plymouth to Glasgow and Belfast, we have a proud tradition of building some of the best ships in the world. But the @Conservatives are trashing that tradition.
We are calling on the Government to build these new ships at home and create thousands of jobs. pic.twitter.com/YwZwak33VX
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 12, 2018
Remember when everyone laughed so heartily after Cameron spat at Corbyn over the despatch box that he should, “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem“?
The micky taking, along with the accusation of Corbyn as a traitor, or anything less than a patriot, has been shown for what it is: superficial, vapid entreaties to patriotism with one hand behind the back, fingers crossed. As Corbyn reveals, the Tories are nothing but wrong-headed, bug-eyed mascots for the country, waving flags and effecting the accent whilst simultaneously denigrating every institution that represents this land. They may sing the song and don the costume, but while the workers work, they sell their inheritance.
This is but another flashpoint on the eternally shifting trench lines between British interests and private interests – whatever their flag, which the Tories fight along. The party, while in Government, has sought nothing but the privatisation of the people’s industries and the outsourcing to foreign countries of their infrastructure.
The privatisation of the railways in this country, another emerald in the sceptre of this country’s bejewelled heritage, has seen British trains owned and run by German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French companies.
Hinkley Point C, the ill-fated nuclear power point in Somerset, and the biggest building site in Europe, will be run by EDF (83% owned by the French Government) and a Chinese State-run energy company. It will cost British tax payers billions.
Even Brexit – the Tories’ Oscar-winning performance in nationalist platitudes, in a surrealistic picture of British interests and British pride that cares not for real life, has seen the contract for the manufacture of UK passports get awarded to a French company.
Time and time again, the Tories take the interests of British workers and hurl them beyond the white cliffs. Yet again, Corbyn’s Labour has exposed the party’s hypocrisy and their disregard for the people of this country. Corbyn will be backing a Bill to force the construction of the three Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in this country.