The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 16th January 2004
Iraqi resistance hits back!
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BLAIR: HIS END IN SIGHT
by Daphne Liddle
PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair last
July, immediately after the death of Government scientist Dr David Kelly,
told journalists that it was “completely untrue” that he had authorised the
naming of Kelly as the BBC’s source of information about the “dodgy dossier”
on Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction.
Sir Kevin Tebbit, the Ministry of Defence’s top civil servant, later
told the Hutton inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death that Blair had chaired the
Downing Street meeting at which the decision was made to authorise the disclosure
of Dr Kelly’’ name.
Last week in the House of Commons, Tory leader Michael Howard pointed
out that one of the two must be lying. On Wednesday 7 January and on Wednesday
14 January he repeatedly questioned Blair on this point.
Blair did not give a straight answer. He replied: “I stand by all that I
have said in relation to this issue,” and urged the House to wait for the
imminent publication of the Hutton report before debating the issue.
But Howard – described by one commentator as acting like a skilled barrister
trying to force a confession and by another as being like headmaster grilling
a delinquent schoolboy – just kept repeating the question.
It appears he is trying to force Blair into some unguarded comment
that will be shown to be a lie by the Hutton report.
Blair has said that if the Hutton report shows he has lied, he will
resign. He would have to quit in any case if he can be shown to have lied
to MPs about Dr Kelly – or about the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Blair now seems panicked by this prospect. He might not even
attend the Commons debate on the Hutton report.
Peter Hain, leader of the Commons, last Thursday told MPs that the
Government wanted to wait until after the Hutton report had been published
before deciding who would open the debate, because ministers did not yet
know “where its focus will be”.
Blair knows this could be his last month in office. He has been acting
like a desperate man, trying to win sympathy from the unions with a new cosmetic
package of proposals to supposedly protect the employment rights of workers
engaged in industrial disputes.
This means no employer will be able to sack a striking worker without
going to the conciliation service Acas first. Unions will be able to sack
active racists without fear of compensation claims.
Employers will be barred from hiring union-busters to intimidate the
workforce. And, if workers are locked out by their employers, the lockout
will not be counted as part of the eight-week period after which a boss can
legally sack a striker.
Nevertheless this does not extend the eight-week period and the unions
rightly point out that this undermines any true legal right to strike.
Blair has also appeared as a very amateurish disc jockey on London’s
local LBC radio, answering questions from the public. Only the questions
had to be submitted and vetted in advance.
If one thing really scares Blair, it is meeting working class people face
to face in unscripted talk. He lacks the political skills of predecessors
like Harold Wilson to think on his feet and cope with hecklers.
Without his spin-doctor Alastair Campbell, Blair is alone and afraid.
Campbell last week admitted he still keeps in touch with Blair on a regular
basis – but that is not the same as being at his side all the time. Tory
leader Howard knows Blair is scared and is trying to take advantage to build
Blair must go and go quickly, he is a liability to the Labour government.
Blair has already admitted on last weekend’s Breakfast with Frost programme
that he does not know if evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction will
ever be found.
He also hinted that he is getting fed up with the pressure he is under. “I
do show fatigue when it is there, but this is a job where a thousand people
are kicking your backside morning, noon and night so it is not surprising
He does not seem to understand that this is a logical consequence of presenting
his backside to the world by ignoring international opinion, international
law and majority opinion in Britain by joining with George W Bush in the
illegal invasion and rape of Iraq and its oil fields.
He has also presented his backside to the unions time and again by
supporting big business against the workers’ interests and by continuing
the privatisation of all Britain’s public assets.
His backside will be available for kicking again on 27 January with the Commons
vote on the Bill on tuition fees. Already 100 MPs are pledged to vote against
this but Blair and Education Secretary Charles Clarke are trying to bully
the more timid MPs with threats of resignation and general elections.
Those MPs must stand firm and take the opportunity now to boot Blair
out for good. His cronies like Brown, Blunkett, Clarke and Reid must go with
him or it will be no real change.
We will never get socialism, as we mean it, from a Labour government,
but we can do a lot better than Blair.
And there is a real danger that if Blair is not booted out, Howard
will continue to use Blair’s weakness to gain strength for a Tory return.
That would be an unthinkable reverse for Britain’s working class.
The Dis-United States of America
THERE’S GOING to be an American presidential
election next November and the two major parties, the Republicans and Democrats,
are already firing their first salvoes in the battle for the White House.
One of the most unexpected bombshells came from Bush’s former Treasury
secretary Paul O’Neill, who last week published a book in which he said that
Bush had intended to invade Iraq from the moment he took office and used
the 11 September attacks as a convenient justification.
O’Neill describes a “disengaged figurehead president” driven by a hard-line
“praetorian guard” of extreme right wingers, led by vice president Dick Cheyney,
ready to twist any event to suit their imperialist agenda. He says that long
before 11 September the Bush administration was preparing plans to carve
up the Iraqi oil fields among the world’s top oil companies. He also says
he was never aware of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
For the first time, Bush is starting to come under the same pressure
that Tony Blair has been feeling for a long time. Their rash adventurism
in Iraq has turned the rest of the world against them. While it has helped
some of the ruling class – the friends of Cheney, Rumsfeld and so on – it
has damaged the interests of many other powerful capitalists and started
a trade war with Europe that will damage both sides.
The US Army War College has also attacked Bush’s “war on terrorism”
as “unfocussed” and threatening to dissipate US military and other resources
in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security”. It criticised the
White House for lumping Iraq and Al Qaeda together as a single, undifferentiated
Bush is starting to look isolated and vulnerable. If he loses his willing
poodle Blair soon, his credibility will sink even lower.
In desperation, Bush is trying to divert attention by talking of setting
up a colony on Mars – fine if he and Blair would be the first and only settlers.
This is nonsense – he would have to raise taxes.
The United States is currently divided into two increasingly divided
camps, of fairly equal strength. Another close-call election would be a disaster.
American public opinion recently has been influenced by the exposures
of journalists and broadcasters like Greg Pallast and Michael Moore. Moore’s
book Stupid White Men has sold in millions around the world and included
an exposure of the way Bush literally stole the presidency from Democrat
candidate Al Gore in November 2000. Greg Pallast’s book The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy also covered the business links between Bush’s family business
and the Saudi oil sheikhs – including the Bin Laden family. Pallast also
claims that the Bush administration had curbed American intelligence surveillance
of his family’s Saudi friends and this may have added to the look of horror
on Bush’s face when first informed about 11 September.
Both sides in this struggle are capitalists and are driven by the need
to make profits. Democrat President Clinton was happy to bomb Iraq to provide
a diversion from his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky – but he did have more
political understanding than Bush and was not the pawn of the most aggressive
right wing warmongers. These monsters are a threat to world peace and the
future of the planet and must be stopped.
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