The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 30th January 2004
Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition
Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker is informed
by Daphne Liddle
WHEN HUTTON finally delivered
his long awaited report into the death of Dr David Kelly he would have would
have retained more credibility if he had made some sort of pretence at even-handedness
We had all seen and heard the evidence that was presented to the inquiry
last summer – Hutton’s conclusions were a matter of interpreting that evidence.
In the face of the evidence he found the Tony Blair and his clique
totally innocent of any deception or improper behaviour, either in distorting
the case for war against Iraq or in releasing Dr Kelly’s name as a whistle-blower.
And he found both the BBC and Dr Kelly guilty – Dr Kelly of talking
out of turn, “in breach of civil service guidelines” and the BBC for broadcasting
the possibility that the Government had manipulated information given to
it by the intelligence services to make a case for the illegal invasion of
This report indicted Hutton himself most of all; he fulfilled our worst suspicions
that he was appointed to conduct the inquiry by Blair because he was a safe
pair of hands.
Blair is euphoric. The report was published less than a day after he had
won a very narrow victory in the House of Commons in the Bill to raise university
top up fees.
That tiny victory was gained through the now familiar tactic of winning over
one of the leading rebels at the last minute, in this case Nick Brown, throwing
the rebel camp into confusion.
Last February, on the close vote of going to war with Iraq, it was
Clare Short who played the publicly conscience-stricken rebel, repeatedly
changing her mind and so undermining the backbench revolt.
Blair thinks he has got away with it, he thinks he has survived his
two critical tests unscathed.
He may be still standing but he is damaged. Labour has a majority in
the Commons of 161. Yet only by threatening to go for a vote of confidence
and bring down the whole Labour government was he able to intimidate enough
backbenchers to win the vote on top-up fees.
Many voted against their conscience only because they were afraid that the
fight could end in a Tory general election victory.
Blair has certainly not endeared himself to the people and the working class
of Britain, to the unions, the students, or to many in industry.
Blair’s decision in 2002 to back Bush’s illegal war on Iraq put him at odds
with the United Nations and with Europe. Powerful forces in the ruling class
still want him out and Hutton’s whitewash won’t placate them.
Already we are seeing in the mainstream press many questions about
Dr Kelly’s death, throwing doubt on the suicide verdict.
A letter in the Guardian from three eminent medical scientists has pointed
out that it was most unlikely that he could have died in the way described.
Blair claimed that Iraq must be invaded because Saddam Hussein had weapons
of mass destruction, which could be used against Britain within 45 minutes.
It was a ridiculous claim and has been demonstrated to be totally untrue.
No banned weapons have been found nor any evidence of weapons programmes
in Iraq after the end of the first Gulf War and the imposition of sanctions.
Blair would not escape unscathed from an inquiry into his reasons for
going to war.
The war was all about Bush wanting to seize the Iraqi oil fields for
his wealthy oil industry backers. It was pure theft and Blair was his accomplice.
They must not be allowed to get away with it. They must both go.
Blair scrapes home
BUT WHAT A HOLLOW victory it was. Labour’s
majority cut from 161 to five as over 70 Labour rebels voted with the opposition
to try and block the university top-up fees Bill.
The Labour leader’s credibility in the country is rock-bottom. His
hold on the Labour Party is now solely based on his army of placemen who
believe their careers depend on the prime minister’s political survival.
But that too depends on Labour’s standing amongst the people – the millions
who voted Labour in the belief that it would reflect the hopes and aims of
the unions for a better life for working people – the millions Labour needs
to win to secure another term in office.
The fight to defeat Blair and his reactionary agenda was taken to the heart
of government this week. It now must spread throughout the Labour Party and
the trade union movement.
Blair’s minions may have got what they wanted by brow-beating a sullen majority
of their own ranks into agreeing to tear up their own manifesto pledges but
the struggle to defeat Blair and all that he stands for goes on.
A barren road
George Galloway, the campaigning Scottish MP, was unjustly expelled
from the Labour Party last summer for opposing Anglo-American imperialism’s
invasion of Iraq.
Originally he had intended to fight, like Ken Livingstone, for re-admission
– but last autumn he decided to launch a new electoral platform to challenge
Labour in the European and London regional elections this spring. Supported
by the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a handful of trade unionists
and some prominent individuals in the British Muslim community, Galloway
has established the “Respect – Unity Coalition” that was formally launched
Essentially Respect seeks to build a left social-democratic party to challenge
Labour in the elections. Previous attempts have always failed.
Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party is moribund. The Socialist Alliance
– the SWP’s earlier throw – never got off the ground. And the British Road
to Socialism, the revisionist doctrine that ultimately provides the ideological
basis for these platforms, has been repeatedly spurned by the working class
since its inception in the 1950s.
Respect is calling on the millions mobilised by the anti-war movement to
rally to its flag. In doing so it is essentially seeking to transform the
peace campaign, which is supported by millions in the Labour Party, other
parties or no party at all, into a movement that simply supports George Galloway’s
Respect seeks to divert the anti-war movement’ which involves all strata
including those sections of the bourgeoisie opposed to the Iraq war into
backing one small section of the anti-war movement led by a charismatic former
Labour MP and the SWP.
Respect ignores the fact that the fight-back is taking place within the Labour
Party and the unions – and that is where Blair & Co can and must
Respect projects a left social-democratic agenda in opposition to Labour,
deliberately cutting itself off from the labour movement, and refuses to
acknowledge the fact that there is no demand for such a movement within left
social-democracy today. Nor is there any support for this “alternative” amongst
the working class itself.
It will undoubtedly fail.
If you find these articles from the New Worker Online
interesting and useful them why not subscribe to our print
edition with lots more news, features, and photos?
To the New Communist Party Page