The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 22nd April 2005

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by Daphne Liddle

Blair and Michael Howard have been through a tough time from prospective voters and from divisions within their own ranks this week in their hectic election campaigning.

The Tories are beginning to suffer from Michael Howard’s obsession with immigration and asylum issues. A group of Tory front bench MPs, including members of the shadow cabinet, last week called on their leader to tone down his rants on the issue after he claimed that Labour policies on immigration would lead to race riots like those of 2001. This raised echoes of Enoch Powell’s infamous “rivers of blood” speech. The riots were in fact caused by organised racist provocation and police failure to stop it.

 One Tory candidate, Bob Spink, obviously hoping to win Howard’s favour, went even further and called for the repatriation of migrants and talked of “asylum cheats”. This sparked complaints from his rival candidates and now he is facing an inquiry by the Commission for Racial Equality.

  But it was a member of the public, taking part in BBC Radio Four’s Election Call who really put, who really explained the effects of Howard’s cynical use of the race card.

 Federico Mazandarani reminded Howard of his own Jewish family history as refugees. Then he said: “Every time Mr Howard opens his mouth and talks about foreigners who are invading this country in the words that he does – he is making life impossible for us.

“Every time Michael Howard speaks about immigration, I get abused on the streets by the general public. This issue has absolutely been the bane of my life in this country for 32 years. I’m sick and tired of having politicians inflating the issue.”

 The United Nations body for refugees, the UNHCR, has warned that Howard’s proposals to set a limit on the number of asylum seekers Britain will accept could actually increase the numbers who arrive in Britain.

 Howard’s proposals would in fact be a withdrawal from the Geneva Convention which would have a detrimental effect on other European Countries, which would trigger further and more uncontrolled asylum flows.

 Howard has promised to reintroduce tax relief on savings towards pensions. This is a tax cut that in the past was used mainly by the rich to salt away their wealth where the taxman could never reach it. Low and average income workers enjoyed very little benefit from it.

 Pensioners should remember that it was the Tories who broke the link between average earnings and the rate of the basic state pension, and advised the elderly to keep warm in winter by wearing extra woollies.

Public sector trade unions Unison and the GMB last week launched campaigns to defend their members from Tory slurs about dirty hospitals and to remind the electorate that it was the Tories who cuts millions from the NHS budget and insisted that hospital cleaning services should be privatised.


Cleaning workers at Hillingdon Hospital in West London spent two years on the picket line fighting for their jobs after they were sacked for refusing to take huge cuts in their pay and conditions and accept terms of work that would not allow them to do a proper cleaning job.

 In newspaper adverts the GMB said: “Our members are sick of Michael Howard turning up in hospitals to have his photograph taken with them, only for him to then turn around and talk about dirty hospitals and too many bureaucrats.

 “Our members are sick of Michael Howard saying he will bring back matron when it was the Tories who got rid of her.

 “Our members are sick of Michael Howard preaching cleaner hospitals then pledging to bring back the cowboy contractors the Tories hired on the cheap who gave us MRSA in the first place.”

 And Unison has launched a poster campaign saying: “How will spending £35 billion less on public services improve them?” followed by the strap line: “What are the Tories thinking of? Use your vote to stop them.”

 Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warned: “Just when we are turning the corner on MRSA, the Tories would unleash it back into our hospitals. Under the Tories, matron would end up filling out patient records, cooking the dinners and cleaning the ward herself.”

 Blair’s main problem remains his record on the Iraq war. His rivals are not making an issue of it but the electorate remains seriously concerned about his cavalier attitude to the misuse and misrepresentation of intelligence reports on the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – and the illegality of the invasion of Iraq.

 This is perhaps the main reason why opinion polls indicate that if Blair resigned in favour of Brown, Labour’s poll rating would be eleven points higher than it is and the election would probably produce a 234 Labour majority.

 It is a mark of Blair’s arrogance that he would sooner risk a Tory victory than admit his mistakes and quit.

 Brown would not be a great improvement but the defeat of Blair and his ego would count for something.

 As it is, we have no choice but to vote Labour in the coming election. It will not produce socialism but it will keep the Tories out. Such are the limitations of bourgeois democracy.


Never Again

THROUGHOUT the world governments are honouring the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Axis with solemn ceremonies to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle to defeat Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.

In Europe and Asia it’s a time to recall those epic days of liberation from the yoke of fascist oppression and remember the millions who were butchered on the orders of Hitler and Hirohito. But in Japan it’s been marked by the publication of a new school history text book that praises the Imperial army and whitewashes the crimes of past.

Imagine the outrage if the German ruling class had decided to honour the Wehrmacht and SS and dismissed the Holocaust as an “incident” in the school room. Imagine the horror if the German Chancellor had chosen to make an annual pilgrimage to the graves of Hitler, Goering, Goebbels and Himmler.

 Yet this is what is happening in Japan today. The war crimes of Hirohito’s legions, that raped, burned and butchered their way across Asia, are ignored. But the books do not mention the war criminals. For the past four years Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has paid homage at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a place that honours Class A war-criminals whose hands were stained with the blood of the people of China and other Asian countries.

No wonder the people of China are taking to the streets to express their anger and disgust.

The Soviet sacrifice

 The 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany is a time for reflection for all working people.  It is a time to remember the sacrifice of millions of people, and in particular the 20 million Soviet workers and peasants, who died in the fight to defeat Hitler fascism and Japanese imperialism. The Axis powers wanted world domination and they committed unspeakable crimes in the Second World War that began in 1939 and only ended in 1945 with the total defeat of the Third Reich and the Japanese Empire.

Though the forces of the United States and the British Empire played an important role in the defeat of fascism it was the undoubted courage and determination of the Soviet people that brought Nazi Germany to its knees and it was equally the final intervention by the USSR against Japan in 1945 that forced the Japanese imperialists to capitulate, regardless of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The flower of Soviet youth, led by Stalin and the Bolsheviks, sacrificed their lives to preserve their socialist motherland in a titanic struggle against the forces of reaction. They fought the Nazis to a standstill outside the gates of Leningrad and Moscow and then broke the might of the Nazi legions in Stalingrad and Kursk in the war that ended with Hitler dead in his bunker and the Red Flag flying over Berlin.

The finest sons and daughters of the working class of Europe and Asia joined the resistance to the Axis. Underground communist workers in Germany, Italy and the other fascist regimes played a vital role in mobilising the people against the dictatorships and sabotaging the Axis war-effort. Communist partisan units played the major role in the guerrilla struggle against the Axis occupation throughout Europe and led the victorious people’s liberation movements in Yugoslavia and Albania.

But for their sacrifice the Soviet Union would have been destroyed and the world would have been dominated by the most aggressive capitalist circles in Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire. The genocidal policies of the Axis during their brief period of ascendancy show what the future would have been had they won and there can be no doubt that a world run by Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito would have set back civilisation hundreds of years.

The struggle and sacrifice of millions upon millions of working people destroyed the Axis. We must never forget them nor must we forget the cause that motivated them in the tremendous effort that led to victory in 1945. They fought for peace and a new tomorrow.

We must keep up the fight for a better tomorrow, the world that Marx and Engels dreamed of; the world that Lenin and Stalin built; a world without war; a world without oppression or exploitation; a world worthy of the sacrifices made by the past generations that we honour today.

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