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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Tories ahead

THE CONSERVATIVES are seven points ahead of Labour in the opinion polls that also say that some 88 per cent of the public think that the Government has done a good job getting the public vaccinated as soon as possible.

While Boris Johnson basks in the reflected glory of the NHS’s coronavirus vaccine roll-out the future looks bleak for Sir Keir Starmer and his diminishing band of supporters. The knives are already out amid speculation that Labour is going to get a hammering in the local and regional elections in two months’ time.

The Blairites backed Starmer to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn and drive the Corbynistas out of the party they tried to reform during Corbyn’s time at the top table. Now they’re having second thoughts.

Some are openly saying that Starmer is a hopeless campaigner who is clearly unelectable. Others are staying their hand -- waiting to see what actually happens in the May polls before making any move to trigger another Labour leadership contest. But who’s going to lead them?

Not the old has-beens on Labour’s back-benches who still think Labour’s fortunes can be restored by returning to the imaginary golden age of the Blair era. Nor the others who want to lure David Miliband back across the Atlantic to lead Labour when the time comes.

They want Miliband. Whether he wants to give up his cushy number as head of the International Rescue Committee in New York in exchange is another matter. We’ll probably never know because there are plenty of other wannabe leaders in Labour’s ranks.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has got his hands full campaigning for re-election in May. But Andy Burnham, the ambitious Mayor of Greater Manchester, has set his sights on the leadership. He said as much last month while denying planning a coup to oust Starmer. Though ultimately a careerist who loyally served the Blair and Brown administrations, Burnham can also count on the support of some of the big guns in the union movement.

One of them is Len McCluskey. The leader of Unite, the biggest union in the country, told us in October that “Andy Burnham has been doing a fantastic job in speaking up for and defending the people he has been elected to serve. Unite members will be forever grateful to him for fighting the corner of the low-waged and those in insecure employment, the vulnerable and the young, all of whom are paying the heaviest price of this dreadful virus”.

Grateful or not Labour’s rank-and-file are not consulted over Starmer while the Corbynistas are left fighting a losing battle against the bureaucracy’s suspensions and expulsions.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Starmer’s closest rival in last year’s leadership contest, has been sidelined. Momentum, with its claimed 40,000 plus membership, is a broken reed.

Nevertheless the New Communist Party’s electoral policy is still to vote Labour. It’s not because we think a Labour government can solve the problems of working people. We know that isn’t possible in a bourgeois “democracy”. Our policy exists because it is based on the concrete conditions that exist in Britain today.

In our view a Labour government with its continuing links with the trade unions and the co‑operative movement, offers the best option for the working class in the era of bourgeois parliamentary democracy.

Our strategy is for working class unity and our campaigns are focused on defeating the right‑wing within the movement and strengthening the left and progressive forces within the Labour Party and the unions to create a truly democratic Labour Party that will carry out the demands of organised labour when in office.