The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 30th November 2007
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by Daphne Liddle
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown must be wondering what is going to
hit him next as his government is rocked by one crisis after another. A
week ago it was the scandal of £24 billion of taxpayers’ money
handed over to shore up a failing bank.
Then it was a succession of army generals criticising the defence
budget, lost data discs and now it’s another dodgy donations scandal.
He could hardly be blamed for thinking that someone – a powerful
someone, and that rules out most of the likes of us – has got it in for
We are again witnessing the classic symptoms of an almighty split
within the ruling class and we suspect that Brown’s plans to endorse
the new European Union treaty-cum-constitution are at the root of the
Obviously genuine socialists, peace-lovers, defenders of civil
liberties and those fighting for the restoration of democracy within
the Labour Party are not happy with Brown, never have been and have
never made any secret of this.
But the ruling class likes to pretend to a united front against
the workers, which means their back-stabbing battles can take some
strange turns. And the press is playing a key role.
The £24 billion “secured loan” offered to Northern Rock to
stop the first run on a bank in Britain since Victorian times was
rightly denounced as a scandal – especially since afterwards it
transpired that the considerable assets that were the security for
Northern Rock’s loan were in fact mortgaged to the tune of £53
billion to an offshore company.
This filled the headlines for days, unlike another scandal
– that Labour’s commitment to private finance initiative (PFI) projects
to replace the country’s public sector infrastructure – is going to
cost taxpayers around £170 billion by the year 2032. That is
nearly £3,000 for every person living in Britain.
The figures come from the Commons public accounts committee,
which has warned that private firms are taking advantage of the lack of
competition and the Government’s dogmatic insistence that all public
works must be carried out through PFI contracts to raise their prices
by 26 per cent.
This has the effect of forcing local councils, the NHS and other
public bodies who have to foot the extortionate bills to make drastic
cuts in the services they can afford to provide.
Then came the scandal of the lost child benefit data discs, which was,
as the PCS civil service union had warned, an accident waiting to
happen after merging the Inland Revenue with Customs into one
department and imposing 25,000 job cuts on the newly merged department.
This leaves surviving employees under enormous pressure, with
targets to meet and with the civil service internal mail system
privatised to a commercial courier firm, corners were going to be cut
and a disaster was inevitable.
Now the Labour leadership is embroiled in another scandal about
donations made to the party – and to the election campaigns of leading
figures in it, by David Abrahams. He is a wealthy businessman who gave
hundreds of thousands anonymously, using four different people as
fronts for the donations.
This is contrary to rules on political party donations that were
introduced recently by the Labour Party and, after last year’s scandal
surrounding claims of peerages for “loans” that were disguised
donations, the party’s administrators can hardly claim they did not
understand the rules.
It turns out that Abrahams has been a long-term supporter of
Labour and is a friend of Tony Blair and received a recent letter from
Jon Mendelsohn, Labour’s chief fundraiser, thanking him for “help and
support over many years”. He claims he made the donations anonymously
because he was shy.
Now Brown, Straw, Harman and Hilary Benn are all claiming they do
not know Abrahams personally.
These scandals surfacing all at the same time are unlikely to be
coincidence – it seems a powerful sector in the ruling class wants
Who would replace him? There would almost certainly be a general
election – and a danger of a return to Tory rule.
This would accelerate the privatisation of the NHS and education,
without any pretence that it was doing otherwise. Local authorities
could expect more drastic cuts; “affordable” housing plans would be
Cameron currently criticises the Government’s anti-terror
measures and pretends to support civil liberties, but the Tory record
in the past shows he would soon adopt and accelerate them.
There must be many Labour MPs now wishing they had supported John
McDonnell’s challenge to Brown taking over the Labour leadership
without a contest.
Another false dawn
TONY BLAIR, so we are told,
craved for some sort of dramatic act that would be recalled in times to
come as the “legacy” of his 10 year premiership. But all he’s
remembered for is his resignation.
Now Blair has to console himself with the largely meaningless post of
Middle East envoy for the “Quartet” of the United States, Russia, the
European Union and the United Nations. But his mentor, George W Bush,
is joining in the act by sponsoring a Middle East “peace” conference in
the United States that will produce nothing beyond photo-opportunities
for the leaders of the imperialist camp and the usual platitudes they
reserve for these occasions.
Though the gathering at the US Naval College in Annapolis has been
presented as some sort of conference it is nothing more than a one-day
exchange of views between Arab envoys, Israel and its imperialist
masters. The supposed aim of the meeting is to build the “framework”
for the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. But the Palestinians are only represented by their weak
and ineffectual leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the “autonomous”
zones in the West Bank. The militant Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood,
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million inhabitants, is
As usual Bush hypocritically struts the stage posing as an honest
broker when, in fact, the United States is the major protagonist in the
Middle East conflict. Israel is a total dependency of United States. US
imperialism bankrolls the economy of the Zionist entity and arms it to
the teeth to serve America’s strategic interests in the Middle East. At
no time has the United States ever been an honest and impartial arbiter
in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and at no time has it ever addressed the
Middle East issue even-handedly; its acts, practices and policies have
always been part of the problem.
The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 plunged the Middle
East into endless conflict. From its very foundation Israel has been a
cats-paw of imperialism first at the behest of Britain and France and
latterly in the service of the United States. Israel’s refusal to
recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arabs has led to six
major wars in the region and continuous confrontation with the Arabs.
Though the Arabs have been the victims of Zionist terror for years the
Israeli public have not been immune. They have also suffered from the
venal and criminal actions of their own leaders – most recently last
year when northern Israel endured a rain of rockets during its failed
invasion of southern Lebanon.
Bush and Blair drivel on about the United Nations when it suits them.
They argue, deceitfully, that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was
sanctioned by the UN – which it was not. They claim that they have a UN
mandate for the continued occupation of Iraq – which they don’t. They
want to use the UN to justify imperialist interventions in Darfur and
Myanmar (Burma). They bleat on about “human rights” to justify support
for reactionary, pro-imperialist separatist cliques from Kosovo to
Tibet. But they soon shut up when it comes to Palestine.
The United Nations as a whole has repeatedly laid down the parameters
for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. These are the
total withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the Arab territories seized
during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, including Arab East Jerusalem and
Syria’s Golan Heights; the establishment of secure and permanent
frontiers for Israel and the establishment of an independent, viable
Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the
recognition of the right of all the Palestinian refugees to return to
their homes or be paid suitable compensation if they so wish.
The Middle East conflict has gone on for over 50 years and it will
continue for generations to come until the imperialists recognise that
the Palestinian Arabs have at least the same rights as the Israeli Jews
to Palestine. That clearly is going to be for another day – it’s
certainly not going to happen in Annapolis.
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