The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th November 2005
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by Daphne Liddle
WEDNESDAY 9th of November will
go down in history as the day that Labour Party backbenchers
rediscovered their long-lost back bone and put a brake on Tony Blair’s
gallop towards a police state.
Forty-nine of them voted against proposals to allow police to detain
terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge or trial, which led to
the measure being defeated by 322 votes to 291.
Later a proposal to double the current time that police can hold
a suspect without charge to 28 days was passed with a 33 majority. Many
Tories who had opposed the 90-days, including their current leader
Michael Howard, supported the 28 days.
Even this is a serious encroachment on our basic civil liberties
but this defeat is a serious personal defeat for Blair and has led to
calls for his resignation from all quarters – from Michael Howard to
Clare Short MP.
Blair’s authority over his own parliamentary colleagues has been
shaky for the past few weeks. It began with an outbreak of small
rebellions and disagreements within the Cabinet itself.
As political commentator Matthew Parrish put it, that was
evidence not of loss of unity but that Cabinet members had stopped
being afraid of Blair and were more concerned about their careers once
he was gone.
When a political leader deliberately surrounds himself with
opportunists and sycophants, he can absolutely rely on their support
until he is in trouble. Then they will be the first to abandon him.
Last week Blair lost his old ally Blunkett. On the same day the
Government came within one vote of defeat on an amendment to the
current Terror Bill. Certain defeat on the 90-days proposal was staring
the Government in the face and the vote was postponed.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke then made it known he was prepared
to negotiate a compromise – perhaps 28 days or 60 days – to get the
But Blair insisted against all advice from his closest colleagues
to adhere to the 90-days’ limit. In the last few days, Downing Street
and various police chiefs have bombarded us with claims that they
cannot possibly make a case against suspects in anything less than 90
They have used scaremongering and bullying, telling MPs it was
their duty to back the Bill or risk exposing the public to the “new
breed of global terrorists”. MPs have been rung up in the middle of the
night, with hints that they will be guilty of failing the public if
there are future terrorist attacks.
Yet no one has yet explained how the 90-days clause or any other
measures in the Bill could have stopped the 7th July terrorists – nor
how the detention of several alleged terror suspects for over two
years, without charge or trial in Belmarsh prison between 2001 and this
spring, made Britain a safer place.
The measures proposed in the Bill are no use at stopping real
terrorism. The climate of terror is created by imperialist governments
who take it on themselves to bomb and invade other countries to plunder
their oil wealth – using lies about weapons of mass destruction as a
But the measures in the Terror Bill will serve the Government well in
helping to control the general population and stifle any political
dissent. That is exactly how the South African Apartheid regime used
its own 90-day’s law.
Last Wednesday’s parliamentary defeat puts a big question mark over
Blair’s chances of passing a whole raft of controversial measures he
has put on a packed agenda to speed up the pace of his right-wing
reforms. These include more privatisation in the NHS and education
system, changes to incapacity benefit and further so-called anti-terror
It underlines Blair’s poor political judgement, rejecting the
advice of all his colleagues who argued for compromise, who are now
shown to have been wiser.
Blair is now insisting that it is not a resigning matter. But now
his parliamentary colleagues are no longer frightened of him it may not
be up to him. He must go soon and that will be a good thing. It will be
a defeat for his extreme idolisation of Bush and all his policies.
But it will not be much of a change if Brown succeeds only to adopt
exactly the same policies. Now the parliamentary party is feeling
stronger a real challenge to both Blair and Brown is possible.
But if Brown does succeed, he must be under real pressure to drop
Blair’s policies. Above all, last Wednesday was a victory for the
integrity of the Labour Party.
China calls for peace
CHINESE President Hu Jintao
called for lasting peace and common development in London on the first
day of his state visit to Britain. “We stand ready to work with the UK
to strengthen mutual trust, expand exchanges and co-operation and make
joint efforts for the well-being of the two peoples and a harmonious
world of lasting peace and common prosperity,” the Chinese leader
Old China was the workshop of the world in the 18th century. New China
is set to become the workshop of the world of the 21st century.
People’s China has the fastest growing economy in the world. It will
probably be second biggest economy in the world by the next decade.
This has given a better life to the Chinese masses and working people
across the world have also benefited from the growth of the Chinese
China and Britain have established a comprehensive strategic economic
partnership that has benefited the people of both countries. Thousands
of British people work, travel and study in China. Many Chinese now
study in our colleges and universities while an overseas Chinese
community has lived in Britain for generations. The Government should
now move to remove all remaining Cold War barriers to trade like the
European Union’s arms embargo on China and support Beijing’s efforts
for the peaceful return of Taiwan to the jurisdiction of the People’s
WHEN a Labour Government
proposes to give the police draconian new powers including the right to
hold suspects for up to three months without trial and the Tory leader
becomes a champion of civil liberties you know there must be something
deeply rotten in the heart of the Labour Party.
It is, of course, Tony Blair, and his “New Labour” clique who serve the
most reactionary sections of the British ruling class. Tony Blair has
been a liability for Labour for years. Though Blair has acknowledged
this by stating he will not stand for a fourth term of office he has
still to name the day.
Some say he wants to stay in Downing Street until 2008 so that he can
claim to have been longer in office than Thatcher. Others fear that
Blair is determined to lead a new attack on what’s left of the “welfare
state” and our civil liberties regardless of the damage this might do
to his successor because he now has nothing to lose.
His cronies, a diminishing band these days, claim their leader wants to
leave his mark for posterity. Basking in the sun of the American-owned
media has clearly given Blair an inflated idea of his own importance.
What’s he got to brag about?
He may be remembered as the man who tried to wreck the Labour Party by
attempting to cut its links with the unions. He will be known as the
Labour leader who dumped its traditional support for the “welfare
state” and public ownership. He certainly will be recalled as the man
who misled Parliament and dragged us into the Iraq war at George W
Bush’s bidding. This is Blair’s “legacy”.
The last chapter has still to be written. How it goes depends on the
millions of working people in the peace and labour movement giving
Blair a final push into the political oblivion and disgrace he so
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