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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Boris flails around

ONE COULD ALMOST feel sorry for the Prime Minister as he flails around trying to fend off the charges from the jeering opposition benches because, in the great scale of things, Boris Johnson’s ‘partygate’ lies pale into insignificance compared with Tony Blair’s duplicity over the invasion of Iraq. Blair was, in comparison, let off lightly by the Parliamentary Labour Party, which let him quietly slink off to make a living on the US lecture trail and pose as a peace envoy for an imaginary UN Palestinian peace plan called the “road map” or some such nonsense.

BoJo repeatedly dismissed Labour calls to resign during heated exchanges in the House of Commons this week, with one Labour MP calling him a “liar” to his face and Sir Keir Starmer saying Johnson had “shown nothing but contempt for the decency, honesty and respect that define this country”. But it’s not Labour Johnson has to worry about – it’s the backstabbers in his own party that will bring him down sooner or later.

There’s no shortage of wannabees waiting to take his place and the only reason that they haven’t so far moved for a motion of No Confidence is that some would rather wait until after the local elections before showing their hand.

Starmer & Co have been walking on stilts in recent days. Buoyed by the recent surge of support in the opinion polls, they claim this is all down to Starmer’s embrace of Blairism and his purge of the Corbynistas. Although Labour has lost tens of thousands of members – some say between 150,000–200,000 have left since Starmer took over – this is seen as a ‘victory’ for the Blairites who are rejoicing at the departure of a troublesome band of left social-democrats whose support for Jeremy Corbyn briefly derailed their ‘New Labour’ project.

They think that their current lead in the polls will translate into a real swing at election time that will sweep them back into government and give them all the juicy perks that high office brings. But there’s no guarantee of that.

What is certain is that a new Conservative leader will galvanise the Tories into mobilising their core vote at the next general election. Labour, on the other hand, will remain weak and divided as long as Starmer is at the helm.

Starmer is a weak and uninspiring leader. He is clearly incapable of leading Labour to victory. He can’t even mobilise his own party, let alone the working class it claims to represent. But Labour’s problem isn’t to do with personalities. It’s policies that count. Who’s going to swayed by a Labour programme that differs little from those currently espoused by the Conservatives? Certainly not ‘middle England’ or the mythical “hard-working families” that Starmer’s advisers from ad-land tell us are the keys to electoral success.

Corbyn’s victory showed that the Labour Party is still a potentially strong weapon for our class and has vindicated our long-held electoral position. The surge of support for Labour during the Corbyn era showed that workers could, albeit briefly, reclaim the party they founded and built from the agents and minions of the ruling class who have dominated its highest levels for decades.

What we need and what we must campaign for is a truly democratic Labour Party – a democratic Labour Party controlled by its affiliates. A Labour Party whose policies reflected those of a democratic union movement would become a powerful instrument for progressive reforms that would strengthen organised labour and benefit the working class. It’s a tall order but it can be done. The alternative is more Johnsons and more Starmers.