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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

An angry winter and Like a Cheshire cat

A WAVE of strikes is sweeping the country. Rising inflation and soaring heating bills have fired the resistance to austerity and now not a week passes without industrial action of one form or another over pay.

On the left the routine calls for a “general strike” or a “united front” of workers are beginning to have more relevance as more and more working people vote to confront the employers in the fight for a living wage.

The key to victory is unity at all levels from the rank-and-file to the union leaderships but that unity is not easy to achieve. Some years ago a number of public sector unions did combine to co-ordinate their campaigns on pensions, but it broke down when one key player unilaterally reached a settlement with their employers.

There is, of course, the TUC. But its role has been partially eroded by giant unions such as Unite and Unison, who have also done their best to take away what little authority the Trades Councils still have in a union world dominated by the mega-unions of today.

Communists must naturally support all initiatives efforts to strengthen working-class organisations and bring them together in times of struggle to build support for all strikes and to maintain solidarity to speed the day to victory.

Like a Cheshire cat

IN VICTORIAN days the grinning Cheshire cat slowly disappears until the only thing left is his inane grin. These days, with Labour streets ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls, the Blairites are now strutting around bragging that they’ll soon be back in power and that it’s all down to getting rid of the Corbynistas. But this could also be illusionary.

Labour’s victory in last week’s by-election was hardly unexpected. With Labour 25 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls Labour could hardly fail to hold the City of Chester seat, and that’s what they did last week when they trounced the Tories with a 13.8 per cent swing – one of the largest since the Second World War.

But turn-out was low and the swing was well below Labour’s lead in the opinion polls. The election gurus tell us that it will still give Labour a 30-plus majority in the House of Commons at the next election. But Rishi Sunak still has plenty of time to close the gap.

Starmer and the Blairites clearly believe that they’re going to win over a significant number of Tory voters at the next election – and indeed they may well do so in the northern ‘Red Wall’ seats Labour lost in 2019. But Labour needs more than that to win an overall majority in parliament, and to do so it needs a programme that can actually inspire people to campaign for and vote Labour when the time comes.

There’s not much sign of that at the moment. Labour’s leaders have little to offer workers apart from meaningless platitudes about health, education and welfare, and nothing at all to rally the youth, the young workers and the millions who turned to Jeremy Corbyn in the hope of change only a few years ago.

All Sunak needs to do is get the existing Tory vote out on the day. Labour has to inspire the millions of workers sick of austerity, poor housing and bread-line wages. Shunning the nurses and ambulance crews, the civil servants, teachers, transport and postal workers, all locked in struggle with employers over pay, is a bad start. Starmer ignores them at his peril.