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
BOTH TONY 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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
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
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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