The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 22nd June 2007
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LEAVES BROWN POISONED CHALICE
by Daphne Liddle
THE LABOUR Party has gained three percentage points in opinion
polls since Blair announced his departure date – 27th June – according
to the Independent’s “poll of polls” published last week.
Brown may not be offering much in the way of changing policies
but people are simply glad that Blair is going.
But we must, grudgingly, admit that Blair and his best friend
Bush have done some good in the world – though not in the way they
intended. They have done more to divide and discourage global
imperialism than many on the Left. They have led it into an impossible
adventure in Iraq where it is bogged down and unable to react against
Left advances in Latin America and other places.
Last Monday senior Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs berated
Blair over whether his “liberal intervention” strategy would survive
after he leaves office.
Labour MP Mike Gapes, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee,
said the case for intervening in other countries in future has been
“discredited and undermined” by the experience in Iraq. And he accused
Blair of being out of step with world opinion.
Tory MP Edward Leigh asked Blair if he was “in a state of denial”
over Iraq, and said it would be engraved on his political tombstone.
And he asked whether, “in the dark watches of the night” the thousands
of people who had died in Iraq returned to haunt him.
Blair defended the invasion, claiming that if Saddam was still
running Iraq, the world would face a different set of problems. He also
denied that he would not be leaving office now if it was not for Iraq
and claimed that intervention was now needed in Darfur.
Later, in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel,
Blair claimed he was losing popularity simply because he had been Prime
Minister for so long and people were getting tired of him.
As Blair prepares to quit Number 10 it has become clear that his
wife Cherie is to happy to be giving way to Gordon Brown, as a former
family friend, Barry Cox, revealed that throughout Blair’s 10-year
premiership she has urged him to sack Brown for insubordination.
Cabinet colleagues past and present – including Charles Clarke,
Alan Milburn, Estelle Morris and Clare Short – also lined up in a
Channel Four documentary shown on Thursday night to detail the
long-running personal feud between Blair and Brown.
Some of them seem to be queuing up to sabotage Brown’s
premiership before it has begun – such is their loyalty to Labour in
And last week we saw a rare difference between Blair and Brown
that was actually about policy – the European Union constitution.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been trying to resurrect the
EU constitution that was rejected by voters in France and Holland a
couple of years ago. The new version – to be voted on in an EU summit
currently under way – has been altered slightly and is now called a
treaty, not a constitution.
On this basis Blair has asserted that it will not be necessary to
put its acceptance to a referendum in Britain. Blair’s spokesperson
said: “This treaty should be an amending treaty. Previous amending
treaties have not required a referendum and we do not believe that this
treaty should have the characteristics of a constitution.”
Brown on the other hand, is ready for a referendum and Europe
Minister Geoff Hoon also said that a referendum may be necessary if the
deal is unsatisfactory to Britain.
This provoked squawks of protest from Downing Street and Foreign
Secretary Margaret Beckett, angry that Hoon had suggested they might
easily sell out British interests.
Suspicions are high that Blair is suddenly all for the new EU
treaty/constitution in the hopes that he might get the job of
figurehead – and end up still as Gordon Brown’s boss.
This is very unlikely to happen, given Blair’s past relations
with the EU, but Merkel and French leader Sarkosy are unlikely to make
this clear to him until the results of the summit are signed and
sealed. And Blair is eager to snooker everything he can before Brown
Whatever the result, it is bad news for the working class and
labour movement in Britain. We can only hope that the current rifts and
feuds within the New Labour clique will give an opportunity for the
unions and rank and file Labour to get rid of them all.
THE IMPERIALISTS tell us they
are fighting a war against terror. They call it “humanitarian
intervention” when they try to use the United Nations as a cover for
their aggression. They claim to fight for “democracy” when they try to
install puppet leaders on countries they seek to plunder and exploit.
They call those who stand up to them part of the “axis of evil”.
But when the Palestinians elected a government not of their choosing,
the imperialists wrung their hands in horror and imposed an economic
boycott that has plunged the “autonomous” areas of the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip into poverty and chaos. Needless to say, nothing is said
when it comes to Israel, a state founded on terror and ethnic cleansing.
The Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, won the Palestinian
parliamentary elections in January 2006, taking 76 seats in the
132-strong legislative council that, in theory, runs the “autonomous”
zones in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Support for Al Fatah, the movement which dominated Palestinian
politics in Yasser Arafat’s day, crashed. Fatah, which was left with
just 43 seats, had been punished by the voters angered at the
corruption of its officials and the weak and ineffectual leadership of
Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Arafat as President of the
Palestinian National Authority in 2005.
Since then Abbas has done his best to undermine the Hamas
administration that has been crippled by the imperialist and Zionist
blockade. Hamas, a nationalist movement that refuses to recognise the
Zionist entity but is ready for a 10- year armistice in return for a
complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, offered to form a
government of national unity with Fatah but that was rejected.
Now Palestinians are fighting each other in the occupied territories.
The Hamas militia has chased Fatah out of the Gaza Strip and Abbas has
proclaimed a state of emergency in the West Bank, dismissing the Hamas
government and has appointed one of his own choosing. Hamas has
dismissed the new West Bank-based cabinet an “illegitimate” lackey of
Israel and the United States and vowed to continue to hold on to power.
Nothing could be more pleasing for the Israelis, still smarting from
their defeat in Lebanon last year. A Palestinian civil war would be a
bonus. A victory for vacillating and collaborationist forces would hit
Abbas is now basking in the phoney praise of the Israelis and the
imperialists who ultimately control the Zionist entity. In Washington
US President George W Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
immediately started to call Abbas the “president of all the Palestinian
people” while pledging to support the Fatah government in unspecified
ways, though it’s obviously going to take the form of guns and money.
But the first thing must be to end the fighting between the rival
Palestinian factions and this is the call of the progressive Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which said: “At this
critical time, in which a national disaster and great calamity are
threatening, the Popular Front demands that the Fatah and Hamas
movements put an absolute end to solving differences within the
national ranks by any means other than democratic dialogue, and instead
to use reason and supreme national interests as the methodology”.
The Palestinian Arabs are perfectly capable and fully entitled to
choose their own leaders without Zionist and imperialist interference.
But, ultimately, they will never be able to exercise their democratic
rights until Israel withdraws completely from the Arab territories it
seized in 1967 and recognises the Palestinians’ rights to
self-determination, which must include the right of the millions of
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
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