The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 16th September 1977

Silly Season

August is supposed to be the 'silly season' for news but this August's news isn't even vaguely amusing. Instead it's a catalogue of all the problems that have been building up over the past 15 months of Tory rule.

First, the 'astounding discovery' by the Financial Times that the problem affecting British business isn't runaway wage rises but 'depressed demand' - economists' jargon for low sales caused by lack of money in the buyers' pockets. Most readers could have told the FT that for nothing, saving the paper a small fortune in researchers' fees.

As, on Confederation of British Industry figures, 2.5 million Britons, plus all their family members who depend on them, will by this year's end be unable to demand anything that costs more than they can pay out of their dole money, the future for demand in general looks very depressed indeed.

Worse and worse, a further dip in demand means that even more workers will be laid off, thus helping turn the dip into a thorough-going dive in the direction of rock- bottom. This, for those who have forgotten the stirring days of May 1979, is what Tories call 'building a New Britain'!

Meanwhile, back in an area of economic thought dear to Tory hearts, money supply continues wildly out of control. Mrs Thatcher and her fellow-Ministers, who have pinned all their hopes of keeping this curious economic beast firmly tied up and have sacrificed British domestic industry and the public services in the attempt, cannot, therefore, exactly congratulate themselves.

To criticism, including that which is now coming from their closest friends, they answer that only nasty-tasting medicine works and that, so far, it clearly hasn't tasted half foul enough.

On the one hand, they propose to hit even harder at the public services and, on the other, they mean to redouble their assault on the organised working class. In no circumstances, with the financially minor exception of INMOS, do they propose to return to the bad old days of blind faith in state capitalism.

'Privatisation' is to be pushed ahead, with even the ailing British shipbuilding industry pushed out into the private cold, and right-wing researchers will continue to be given every encouragement to dream up plans to replace public provision by private charity.


It's all so laughable - in a bitter sort of way - that it seems nigh on incredible that Britain's much-vaunted labour movement hasn't brushed it all aside with a casual whisk of its 12 million tails.

Incredible but true, and true because of the indecision and straightforward treason that continues to characterise so many in the most powerful councils of the movement.

There are simple examples of this - such as the 'Gang of Three' with their pathetic little bleats to the millionaire press~~and more complex ones as well. The line of argument which says that Rodgers, Williams and Owen represent many others contains more than a grain of truth.

How could Callaghan be so confident that he can either soldier on or hand over to the unspeakable Healey if it were not for the far-from-secret deals that he has done with powerful trade union right-wingers? And how come those right-wingers are in a position to hand their favours round in this way?

The answers to those questions lies, like so many things, not in some misty world of high policy but in the familiar realms of ordinary trade union branch and shop stewards meetings. Put at its most basic, the decision on whether this charade of opposition to the Thatcher Government and all its works is to continue lies with you, me and the people we eat with in the canteen.

The New Worker has had a couple of weeks off on its summer holidays, giving its supporters and Sellers at least some sort of a break in the process. Now, however, it's time for us to buckle down again to work, very possibly the hardest work that any of us have ever been engaged in.

At stake is nothing less than the survival of those gains made by Britain's workers over decades of struggle. Obviously, we could all lie back and wait till the day when those gains have gone before starting to fight back: to dam so would be as stupid as it would be suicidal.

Mobilising in every factory, every mine, every office, every work-place of whatever description has to be the order of the day from the very minute when the summer holiday season ends. That means planning now.