The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 12th August 2005

Read the special feature on H.G.Wells in  

Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition

Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker is informed and credited.


by Daphne Liddle

announcement of a series of new “anti-terror” laws, including the prospect of secret courts, information withheld from suspects about the nature of the charges against them and people being held for up to three months without trial, have heightened fears that this country could be heading fast towards a fascist police state.

Civil rights lawyer Gareth Peirce commented: “There is nothing I can say as a lawyer that can adequately react to so terrifying an announcement. This is a statement of dangerous self-delusion, deliberately ignoring history, legality, principle and justice.”

But as each measure is announced, opposition is growing fast, including powerful sectors within our deeply divided ruling class who are not happy with Blair’s adherence to the increasingly fascistic neo-con policies of George Bush.

In the United States itself scores of the country’s wealthiest people have each pledged $1 million (£560,000) or more towards a new effort to revive the American left and counter the Republican neo-cons. The money will be funnelled through a new Democracy Alliance which will fund a network of think-tanks to work out how to stop the shift to the right. This is a typical bourgeois approach to the problem. It will no doubt be left to the working class to mobilise and do the actual campaigning.

The neo-cons are also betraying desperation and confusion within their own camp, knowing that their plans for American world domination are on a knife edge and that time is against them.


Blair’s proposed new laws are strikingly similar to those of South Africa’s apartheid regime where anyone could be imprisoned without charge or trial for 90 days; then released and re-arrested within half an hour and held for another 90 days. The Nazis used a similar technique.

The proposed identity cards scheme carries echoes of apartheid’s pass laws. But the Blair government is backing off from this now that the logistics of implementing it are becoming ever more complex and expensive.

The Minister responsible, Tony McNulty, last Thursday admitted: “Perhaps in the past the Government in its enthusiasm oversold the advantages of ID cards. We did suggest or at least implied that they may well be a panacea for ID fraud, benefit fraud, terrorism and entitlement and access to public services.”

No doubt the government intends this small retreat to be temporary. Given time they will come up with a cheaper but even worse scheme. They will be counting on further terror attacks to panic MPs into allowing outrageous legislation to go through on the nod.

The London terror attacks have allowed Blair to push forward many measures that he and former Home Secretary David Blunkett tried to get through earlier this year but were thwarted in the courts.

Civil rights lawyer Louise Christian pointed out: “Politicians tell the public who travel on public transport to remain calm and carry on normal life.

 “Yet the response from politicians and police to terrorist attacks in London is one of panic and hysteria. Already one innocent man has been shot dead. Armed police roam the streets and innocent people are being arrested and searched at gunpoint.

“Worse still, police have produced a ‘shopping list’ of new legislation to be rushed in, and the leaders of all three main political parties have already agreed to much of it in a cosy chat in Downing Street without any parliamentary involvement.”

Even the Prime Minister’s wife, Cherie Blair, has baulked at the measures her husband hopes to implement. She is aware of the level of opposition among Britain’s judges who could sink the new laws by refusing to implement those that contradict our human rights legislation. This is why both Blair and Tory leader Michael Howard have been trying to browbeat the judiciary.

The pro-American, Blairite papers are doing their best to create an atmosphere of fear and panic that will allow the Government to act against the judges. Most working class people in Britain are too phlegmatic to be taken in by this but our MPs are another matter.

As for the terrorists – the general level of anger all around the world at the imperialists’ invasion and rape of Afghanistan and Iraq and the continuing injustice of Palestine are understandable.
But these terrorists are like the Red Brigades and Bader-Meinhoff groups of the 60s and 70s, with no roots in the working class community, their main victims are workers.

They are making Bush and Blair stronger.The imperialist leaders do not care if their own working class is massacred on the way to work. They only care if their profits and their power are threatened.

Ultimately that can only be achieved by a mobilised working class.


Robin Cook 1946–2005

  THE UNTIMELY DEATH of the Scottish MP Robin Cook last weekend has been a bitter blow to the parliamentary opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and a personal tragedy to his friends and relations.

 Cook originally entered the House of Commons in 1974 with left social-democratic credentials and he soon won a reputation for himself as a skilful parliamentary debater. A member of the Tribune group, he was a supporter of unilateral nuclear disarmament and an outspoken critic of the right-wing policies of the 1970s Labour governments led by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.

These pacifist and “left” views were soon forgotten as Cook gravitated more and more towards the dominant right-wing bloc during the long period when Labour was out of office, aligning himself first with Neil Kinnock, then John Smith and finally ending up as a supporter of Tony Blair and his “New Labour” project. His reward was the Foreign Ministry when Labour won the 1997 general election.

He was a mediocre Foreign Secretary who tried to pass off the stale old aggressive policies of British imperialism as “ethical” and “independent” while his initiatives over Palestine and Kashmir failed because they simply did not have the blessing of US imperialism.

Cook was a keen supporter of integration within the European Union and had no problems in endorsing the attack on Yugoslavia or the criminal blockade of Iraq when these policies were also those of France and Germany. But Blair turned increasingly towards the most aggressive, venal and reactionary sections of the British ruling class: the war party who see their best interests served in exclusive alliance with US imperialism. Cook’s pro-European stance became an embarrassment and his demotion to Leader of the House was inevitable after Blair won another landslide victory for Labour in 2001.

Cook’s pro-European sentiments, essentially in support of those elements within the ruling class that aligned themselves with Franco-German imperialism, led to his isolation within the Blair Cabinet, though he remained publicly loyal up to the eve of the invasion, resigning on 17th March when it became clear that Blair was going to war without the fig-leaf United Nations mandate that France and Germany had denied him.

Cook put to shame those “left” posers who jumped on Blair’s band-wagon seeking fame and favour and betrayed the movement that had put them in Parliament in the first place by supporting and justifying the criminal onslaught against the Iraqi people. Cook ridiculed the claim that Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction and he rallied a considerable number of Labour rebels against the war and stiffened the anti-war position of the Liberal Democrats and those pro-EU Tories like Kenneth Clarke who also spoke out against it.

Though never a part of the anti-war movement, Robin Cook will always be remembered for taking the principled stand in resigning from the Blair Cabinet in protest at the Government’s decision to join forces with the United States in the invasion of Iraq and for his later attempts to bring down the Blair government.  In doing so he marched in step with the demands of millions of working people who want an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq. It is not surprising that at the last general election in May 2005 Cook was one of the few Labour MPs to actually increase his majority.

Like Kenneth Clarke, Robin Cook represented the alternative leadership the pro-European camp hoped would eventually triumph over Blair and the Tory Euro-sceptics. It may be some time before they can find some one else to step in Cook’s shoes.

On 6th August Robin Cook collapsed on rocky terrain while hill-walking on Ben Stack in Sutherland, Scotland. He was taken to Raigmore hospital in Inverness by helicopter where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The post-mortem revealed that he had died of hypertensive heart disease.

 Back to index
If you find these articles from the New Worker Online interesting and useful them why not subscribe to our print edition with lots more news, features, and photos?

To the New Communist Party Page