The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 17th February 2006
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ON THE RUN
by Daphne Liddle
PRIME Minister Tony Blair has
hardly shown his face to the public in Britain since last week’s
Dunfermline and West Fife by-election, where the Liberal Democrats won
the seat, overthrowing a substantial Labour majority.
The night before the election he had appeared in a ceremony involving
all 354 Labour MPs in the House of Commons to mark the 100th
anniversary of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
At that event, Blair outrageously tried to claim the heritage of
Keir Hardy and the Labour Party founders for his “New Labour”.
Hardy and the other 28 Labour MPs who took their seats in 1906 had a
vision of liberating Britain’s working class from capitalist
exploitation and delivering to them a fair and equal society where they
enjoyed the full fruits of their labour.
Blair and the other traitors who surround him are busy delivering
the working class into further servitude to capitalism through
continuing privatisation and undoing all the state welfare and
education gains won by the Labour Party and other progressives over the
last 100 years.
The next day the people of Dunfermline sent a clear message of
what they think of New Labour – a message that is likely to be repeated
in coming local elections in May this year and in 2007.
Blair did not show up for the Labour Party’s spring conference in
Blackpool at the weekend. He ran off to South Africa and did not even
come back for Monday night’s crucial vote in the Commons on the
Identity Card Bill.
He claimed he was forced to turn back shortly after take-off because of
engine trouble on his plane. But can we really believe there were no
other flights or planes available to get him home on time?
Since Dunfermline Blair seems to have left Chancellor Gordon
Brown in sole charge of New Labour – even though Brown has more reason
to be embarrassed about Dunfermline – it is where he lives; his own
constituency is next door and he led Labour’s campaign in Dunfermline.
Brown has emerged from Blair’s shadow to give long speeches on
issues far beyond his Treasury remit – but especially on security and
“anti-terrorism”. I doing so he has dashed any illusions that he would
be a better prime minister than Blair.
We have seen MPs like Clare Short and political commentators
claiming that, while Blair is still Prime Minister, Brown has to toe
the Blair line, and that once in power in his own right, Brown would
formulate different policies. This is plainly wishful thinking.
The removal of Blair will mark a defeat for his policies in the
court of public opinion and for that reason it is important. But this
will not stop Brown following exactly the same line because it is the
line of the ruling class, dictated from Washington, from the G8, from
the World Trade Organisation and other global ruling class power
struggle will continue.
At the Blackpool conference, Labour Party chair Ian McCartney
accused backbench rebels of splitting the party and called for unity
after the Dunfermline defeat and in the face of new-found Tory
confidence under David Cameron.
We imagine a lot of behind-the-scenes brow-beating went on, with Brown
and others shamelessly ratcheting up the anti-terror scar-emongering in
the wake of the Danish cartoon protests and the Abu Hamza trial.
Because on the Monday and the Wednesday the backbench rebellions
disappeared and legislation on ID cards and outlawing the
“glorification or terrorism” were passed – even with Blair in South
Thus the heirs of Keir Hardy betrayed the whole British public by
hastening the march of the on-coming fascism that is taking over the
bourgeois British state.
At least Brown makes it plain that the huge bureaucracy that will
be needed will be open to the private sector – it is ultimately for
their benefit. A lot of the work involved in compiling and maintaining
the huge database needed for the ID card system will be done by the
private sector with elected government becoming more and more
marginalised and irrelevant – the ultimate corporate state. It will
monitor our every move and influence our every action, not only for
security but to ensure they wring every possible last penny out of us.
We can stop this nightmare. It is vital right now that the
succession of Brown into Blair’s shoes must not go unchallenged. Labour
backbenchers must rediscover their courage. Even if they cannot defeat
the Brown succession at this stage, they must not give away their power
to object to it as loudly as possible.
Another blow for Blair
LAST WEEK’S shock by-election
defeat for Labour in Dunfermline and West Fife can only be the shape of
things to come. The Liberal Democrats overturned a massive Labour
majority with a 15 per cent swing in the Scottish constituency where
Chancellor Gordon Brown lives, This is even more remarkable because it
occurred during the middle of the Liberal’s own internal struggle to
elect a new leader, following the acrimonious resignation of Charles
Kennedy last month.
Thousands of Labour supporters sat on their hands while others clearly
felt that the Lib-Dems were a more attractive alternative to the stale,
anti-working class agenda of Blair & Co. Labour can expect more of
the same at the hands of the Lib-Dems at the local elections this May
if the movement doesn’t move quickly to dump Tony Blair and all he
The Dunfermline result has also been a bitter pill for those who
believe that the answer is to build a new left social-democratic
movement outside the Labour Party and without the mass support of the
unions. The pathetic vote for the Scottish Socialist Party, a sprig of
the old Trotskyist Militant Tendency, proves once again that there’s no
place for two social-democratic parties in national elections. Though
the SSP is probably the biggest left social-democratic party in Britain
with six seats in the Scottish Parliament, it still only managed to
garner 537 votes or 1.6 per cent of the vote in last week’s by-election.
Blair’s aides are trying to spin a victory out of this colossal
Scottish vote of no-confidence by claiming the election was fought on
local issues and that their defeat had nothing to do with the war in
Iraq. But there’s little doubt that the Lib-Dems opposition to the war
has played a major part in their current resurgence.
But the Lib-Dems are not a real alternative to Labour. Apart from Iraq,
the Liberals have nothing to offer working people. They reflect, in
part, that section of the ruling class that wants Britain to be a full
partner with Franco-German imperialism inside the European Union. They
are a liberal bourgeois party that supported virtually all the
repressive anti-union legislation of the Thatcher-Major era and they
back most of the current schemes to sell-off what’s left of the public
sector. Those of us unfortunate enough to live in a Lib-Dem controlled
borough know that they are virtually indistinguishable from the Tories
The only alternative for working people is to defeat Blair and Brown
and elect a democratic Labour leadership committed to carrying out the
wishes of the unions and the millions who elected them three times in a
row since 1997.
THE DISGUSTING video record of
British soldiers beating Iraqi youths while another squaddie jeers and
gloats as the boots go in comes as no surprise to us. Nor will it
surprise the people of India, Cyprus, Aden, Ireland or anywhere else
once occupied by British imperialism. Far from being the “isolated
incident” the Ministry of Defence routinely claims, beating up civilian
protesters is a normal part of British colonial practice.
There must be a full inquiry, not only to identify and punish the
culprits, but also to unmask the officers who presumably order or turn
a blind eye to the actions of the men under their command.
British troops, who claim to be “peace-keepers”, are not wanted in Iraq
and the sooner they leave the better.
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