The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 17th March 2006

Farewell to Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade

Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition

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



by Daphne Liddle

Tony Blair “effectively resigned as leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party” on Wednesday night according to a statement by Labour MPs who belong to the Labour Representation Committee.

 They were speaking just after Blair had succeeded in getting his controversial Education Bill through the House of Commons by 458 votes to 115 – but only with the backing of the Tory opposition.

 John McDonnell MP, who chairs the LRC, said that Blair had undermined his own authority and lost the party’s confidence by relying on Tory support against his own backbenchers.

 “Tonight the Prime Minister has walked out on the party and effectively resigned as leader,” said the MP for Hayes and Harlington.

 Fifty-one Labour backbenchers voted against the Bill. This would have been enough to defeat it if the Tories had opposed it.

 At one stage the Tories were divided, some of them wanted to force a Government defeat even though the Bill was solidly in line with Tory ideology.

 The prospect of Tory leader David Cameron deciding to vote against the Bill scared Blair so much that, in the Commons, he accused Cameron of failing to keep his backbenchers united against it – an irony that had the whole House laughing.

 But Cameron is not yet ready for the snap election that a Government defeat on this flagship Bill might provoke if Blair handed the reins of premiership to Gordon Brown tomorrow.

 So the Tories backed Blair, adding weight to the view expressed by many that Blair is “the best Tory leader since Thatcher”.

 But troubles are rising on every side for Blair. For a third time the House of Lords has amended the Identity Cards Bill so that it will not become compulsory for those applying for a new biometric-style passport to have the details entered on the national identity base until after another general election.

 This will add costly delays to the compiling of this sinister, all-embracing database that will underpin the ID cards and the close monitoring of everyone in the country.

 New scandals are erupting around Blair’s leadership of the Labour Party after elected party officials accused Blair of keeping them in the dark about large loans to the party from various tycoons – many of whom have since been granted peerages.

 Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union and Labour Party treasurer, has said he was not informed about secret loans made to the party in the run-up to last year’s general election.

 Dromey has launched a probe into the loans, which are now at the centre of a “cash-for-peerages” scandal. And he has called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the decision to accept the money, including a £1.5 million loan from Dr Chai Patel, who is now complaining because he has not yet been awarded a peerage.

 Dr Patel owns a chain of residential care homes which have been the subject of controversial claims.

  And the scandals around financial affairs of Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell’s husband continue to reverberate.

  But Blair is not the only one in trouble. Gordon Brown is also in hot water after Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abrahams ruled that the Government – and in particular the Treasury – were guilty of misleading workers over the security of final salary occupational pension schemes.

 This could lead to a£5 billion compensation claim by 85,000 workers who lost their pensions when their employers went bankrupt. Unions representing these workers will be presenting their case for compensation to the European Court of Justice next spring.

 When Blair came to power, he promised to put an end to Tory privatisation policies and Tory sleaze. He has done the opposite and Brown has helped him. They must both go and make way for a more honest Labour government.


Death in The Hague

WESTERN politicians could barely conceal their glee at the news of the death of Slobodan Milosevic, who died of an alleged heart attack last Saturday. But they’ve been shamefacedly silent about the circumstances surrounding his death in the Dutch prison of the “International Court” set up by imperialism to try him for war-crimes.

The former Yugoslav leader had been suffering from high blood pressure and other heart problems for some time – brought on largely by the conditions of his detention and the stress of having to defend himself in the kangaroo court for the past four years. Milosevic complained about the treatment he received from the doctors assigned by the court, while doctors he trusted were not allowed to see him.

Two weeks ago Milosevic asked to be transferred to Moscow for an examination by Russian specialists. The Russian Government pledged that he would be returned to the court after any course of medical treatment in Moscow. This was denied. Milosevic wrote to the Russian Foreign Minister complaining that he was being prescribed drugs only used for treating leprosy or tuberculosis. He feared he was being poisoned.

On Saturday 11th March Milosevic was found dead in his cell at the International Court’s complex in Scheveningen. Though the cause of death was put down to a heart attack a Dutch doctor says he found traces of drugs in Milosevic’s blood which may have neutralised the treatment prescribed for his heart conditions. Bizarrely, this doctor suggests Milosevic may have been deliberately taking unauthorised drugs as part of ploy to get transferred to Moscow for treatment. Equally bizarre is the suggestion from the chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor that the former Yugoslav president may have taken his own life to avoid being condemned and sentenced to life imprisonment. There is, of course, a more obvious explanation.

In any other circumstances an independent investigation would have to proceed, to rule out foul play. Milosevic’s son believes his father was murdered and four Russian doctors have been sent by Moscow to The Hague to conduct their own autopsy.

We are repeatedly told by the imperialist media that Slobodan Milosevic was the first head of state to be tried for crimes against humanity. What is rarely admitted is the fact that there is nothing in the UN Charter that gives authority to the UN Security Council to set up a body like the “International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia” in the first place.

Though the Yugoslavia he led, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, was defeated by American and European imperialism in 1999, the war ended with a negotiated settlement for Kosovo that was never honoured by Nato. Though the fighting ended, the campaign to remove the Yugoslav and Serbian leader who continued to be an obstacle to imperialist designs for the Balkans continued. Western money was pumped into the hands of venal Serbian politicians willing to dance to their tune. Milosevic was defeated in the 2000 elections and arrested at gun-point in 2001 to be packed off to this war-crimes tribunal.

Now the Milosevic case is closed. Though the former Yugoslav leader had barely begun to rebut the so-called evidence against him, his assumed guilt was taken for granted by the imperialist media from the day he was kidnapped and taken to The Hague. Now’s he gone, the man who led Yugoslavia when it was defying the might of US and European imperialism during the 1990s is presumed guilty by those who imprisoned him.

While the war-crimes condoned by the leaders of imperialism and their lackeys have gone unpunished throughout the existence of the United Nations the Yugoslav leader was singled out for exemplary humiliation and punishment by his enemies for daring to stand up to them. This is what the imperialists call justice.

 Back to index

To the New Communist Party Page