'Backed by much of the mass media, the Tory government is pulling out all the stops to switch the political agenda from Britain's social crisis to one of Russia aggression and loyalty tests', John Foster told the Communist Party's executive committee at the weekend. 

Not surprisingly, he remarked, Prime Minister May and her Cabinet colleagues do not want to focus attention on longer NHS waiting lists, school cuts, rent rises, benefit freezes, housing evictions and local council bankruptcies.

Rather, they prefer to whip up 'nationalist hysteria' against a foreign enemy in which anyone who questions attacks on Russia or challenges higher British spending on armaments will be accused of treachery. 

'This was the trap set for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership and then supported by right-wing Labour MPs', Mr Foster accused. But the Labour leader had been right to insist that the British government should provide 'clear evidence' for its claims of Russian involvement in the Salisbury attack on a former spy and his daughter. 

However, the CP international secretary also warned against getting 'bogged down' in baseless speculation about the attack. Instead, he urged the left, trade unions, the Labour Party, the People's Assembly and other campaigning bodies to shift the political agenda back onto the issues that directly affect the lives of millions of people across Britain. 

Britain's Communists called for mobilisations against cuts and in solidarity with striking college lecturers and railway staff, including a big turnout for the TUC national demonstration in London May 12 for 'A New Deal for Working People'. The CP executive also wants more Communist Party candidates to contest the English council elections on May 3, opposing cuts and defending public services and jobs.  

Mr Foster argued for greater clarity in the labour movement about the role of EU-backed 'free market', austerity, privatisation and labour 'flexibility' policies in promoting insecurity, xenophobia, racism and the collapse of social-democratic parties across Europe.  

The CP executive committee reiterated its opposition to any transitional or final Brexit settlement which inhibits the right of a future government in  Britain to invest in public services and infrastructure, assist industry, regulate imports, overhaul public sector procurement policies and protect imported workers against super-exploitation.  

Britain's Communists also resolved to send a message of solidarity to CGT railway workers conducting a series of rolling strikes from April 3 against a break-up of France's state-owned SNCF rail company in line with the EU Commission's 'Fourth Railway Package'.