The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 28th September 2018


by our labour movement correspondent

LABOUR PARTY conference ended in Liverpool on Wednesday with a resounding show of support for Jeremy Corbyn and the programme that Labour will carry out if it wins the next election. Plans to partially restore the old public sector and create tens of thousands of new jobs were spelt out to delegates, who also passed a historic motion supporting Palestinian rights.

The renationalisation of the railways, mail, and energy and water utilities were endorsed, along with schemes to hand power to workers, consumers and local councils. But there was disturbing ambiguity over Brexit and the door was clearly left open for a second referendum.

Labour is ready to start work on a “radical plan to rebuild and transform our country,” Corbyn told conference, vowing to end the “greed-is-good” culture that has dominated politics and to “kick-start a green jobs revolution”.

The Labour leader said: “We represent the new common sense of our time” in a closing address that set out his vision for a “fairer society”.

“When we meet this time next year let it be as a Labour government. Investing in Britain after years of austerity and neglect, and bringing our country together after a decade of division,” he told cheering delegates.

“Ten years ago this month, the whole edifice of greed-is-good, deregulated financial capitalism, lauded for a generation as the only way to run a modern economy, came crashing to earth, with devastating consequences.

“But instead of making essential changes to a broken economic system, the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place.

“People in this country know — they showed that in June last year — that the old way of running things isn’t working any more.”

Corbyn promised “no more reckless wars of intervention” like those in Iraq and Libya, and called for a “secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state”. Labour would recognise a Palestinian state as soon as it takes office “in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality”.

Conference condemned Israel’s use of force against protesters and voted overwhelmingly to freeze arms sales to Israel. But Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry allegedly tried to scupper the motion. According to Palestinian sources Ms Thornberry, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel, privately argued for a “review” rather than a “freeze” on arms exports to Israel. She also wanted a line mentioning “Palestinian victims of the Nakba” taken out as well — a reference to Israel’s expulsion of some 800,000 Palestinians to establish a “Jewish state” in 1948.

During the week, delegates voted to keep all options on the table on Europe — including a fresh referendum — if there is no Brexit deal with Brussels. Corbyn said that he would support Theresa May on Brexit if she got a “sensible” deal that included a customs union which prevented the return of a hard border in northern Ireland and protected workers’ rights. But Labour would vote against the PM’s Chequers plan “or whatever is left of it” and oppose leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal, which he said would be a “national disaster”.

Labour has never formally ruled out the possibility of another EU vote. But both Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy, Tom Watson, say they would prefer it decided by a general election. Corbyn’s Number 2, John McDonnell, told the BBC: “We’re respecting the referendum. We want a general election. If we can’t get that, we will have a people’s vote. The people’s vote will be on the deal itself, and whether we can negotiate a better deal.” But Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, says that the party would allow voters to voice their desire to remain in the EU but it would be worded differently from the initial Brexit poll.

That would be a disaster. We voted to leave the EU in 2016. That’s what we must do.