The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 5th October 2007
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RETURN TO TORY RULE
by Daphne Liddle
WILL GORDON Brown call an autumn election or won’t he? He’s
ahead in the polls and he’s asked the unions to pay up their regular
contributions to the Labour Party in advance so he’s definitely
considering it. But Brown is a cautious man and opinion polls can be
Whatever he decides, the Tory party at its annual conference in
Blackpool this week has been giving ample to cause to make sure it is
never elected to form a government again.
Tory leader David Cameron put on a public school party piece by
delivering his keynote speech without script or auto-prompt. It was
high on style but the content was the usual old bashing immigration,
attacking human rights legislation and other favourite Tory targets.
The Tories have been promising tax cuts – on stamp duty on house
sales and for the heirs of millionaires. The feudal landlords of
Britain have always resented the principle of paying death duties, even
though such taxes, in different forms, go back to 1066 and are an
acknowledgement that all property really belongs to the Crown, or
state, and that inheritance is a privilege, not a right.
But most of the wealthy property-owners have in any case found
ways round these taxes. Anything announced in Blackpool last week will
make little difference, which is just as well because, according to
Treasury officials and independent tax consultants, the Tories have got
their sums very wrong.
The Tories traditionally promise tax cuts that in reality benefit only
the very rich – but spin this as a vote winner for middle-income tax
payers who, in their imaginations, just might win the lottery next
week. In reality they pay for the tax cuts through cuts to the social
wage – schools, hospitals, libraries and so on.
The Tories also traditionally promise to reduce benefit costs and
this year has been no exception. As usual they are targeting incapacity
benefit – paid to the long-term sick, injured and disabled. There are
currently 2.5 million claimants with a total bill of £7.7 billion.
People who are sick and disabled are an easy target; it is hard
for them to fight back. But there are, as ever, no attacks on the
causes of long-term illnesses caused by bad employers, rising workplace
accident and injury rates and the epidemic of overwork-induced stress
And of course the Tories are targeting single parents. Ian Duncan
Smith said: “Everyone who is on benefit should be seeking work. When a
child is five a single parent should be back in the job queue. If you
are not seeking work you should not be entitled to benefits.”
There was nothing about providing affordable good quality
childcare through school holidays and the hours before and after school.
The Tories failed to mention the most obvious public spending
cuts that could be effected by withdrawing British troops from Iraq and
Cameron also attacked immigration levels and the human rights
legislation that prevents immigration authorities from deporting people
where they could be killed or tortured.
Boris Johnson, now the Tories’ official candidate to stand
against Ken Livingstone to be Mayor of London, attacked spending levels
by Transport for London – a clear message that the pensioners’ precious
Freedom Pass would not last long with him.
The Tories said they would scrap plans for identity cards – which
is good. Then they said they would spend the money construction more
prisons. Trying to construct a society where fewer people need to be
locked up has never entered their imaginations. They are not socialists.
New Labour are not socialists either but the Tory party
conference has delivered a message that there are even worse
If ever they were allowed back in power the current ruling class
attack on working class living standards and human rights would
definitely be accelerated – to the benefit of the super rich.
IF THE United States
government were a psychiatric patient it would be diagnosed with having
a multi-personality disorder it its attitude to dictators and democracy
in other people’s countries.
The world’s most powerful imperialist state gave full support –
both morally and with funds and weapons – to the Indonesian right-wing
Suharto, who, in the mid 1960s, overthrew the democratically elected
left-wing government of Sukarno and then proceeded to massacre around
two million communists and their supporters.
It gave full support to the fascist coup of General Pinochet in
Chile which toppled the left-wing democrat Allende and then set about
imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering communists, socialists and
trade unionists. The US attitude to most dictators was “he may be a
son-of-a-bitch but he’s our son-of-a-bitch”.
US imperialism, in the 1980s, started by backing Panamanian
dictator Noriega but later changed its mind when he failed to be as
compliant to US interests as they wished. The US government staged an
intervention “in the interests of democracy” and removed him.
A similar pattern followed with Saddam Hussein – only it proved a
lot more difficult than the Americans imagined.
In Pakistan, behind-the-scenes American influences are trying to
get the military dictator Musharraf re-elected with attempts at a
strained coalition with Benazir Bhutto. This is a country with two
million bonded labour slaves, where the big landowner owners of these
slaves have their own private militias and jails to keep their
labourers from escaping – all in flagrant contradiction of the
The US loves some dictators and national leaders, but others it
hates: like Mugabe, Milosovic and now the government of General Than
Shwe and Deputy Senior General Maung Aye in Myanmar (Burma).
American imperialism has a technique for removing governments it
does not like. It fosters and funds huge demonstrations by opposition
groups – usually full of very young people – like the teenagers in the
Kosovan Liberation Army it armed to the teeth to destabilise Yugoslavia
and like the “Orange revolution” in the Ukraine.
The subsequent unrest gives the US an excuse to pressure the
United Nations for direct military intervention. And guess what?
Myanmar has oil and gas reserves.
Fortunately some members of the UN Security Council have
witnessed this tactic used time and again, and in the case of Myanmar,
the Americans have not got the backing for an intervention that they
hoped. Instead the UN has sent special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to
The people of Myanmar undoubtedly have real problems and
grievances but nothing that will not be made a whole lot worse by
US-backed imperialist intervention motivated by another grab for oil.
ON SUNDAY 23rd September, on the eve of the Labour Party
conference, BBC interviewer Andrew Marr asked Prime Minister Gordon
Brown about Britain’s mounting personal debt crisis. Brown replied the
record levels of personal borrowing were due to the low interest rates
that he had promoted for the last decade – and that this had enabled
thousands of people to get mortgages and get homes – and wasn’t this a
Brown is proud of his policies that have turned us into a nation
of debtors, working long, long hours to pay our debts, losing our
leisure, recreation and family life in the process. All this extra work
has made a fortune for the bosses from our exhaustion. And house prices
have risen way out of sight for most workers on low or middle incomes.
Speculators have made billions.
The rate of home repossessions is up by over 30 per cent compared
to last year and bankruptcies are at record levels. Marr failed to
press Brown on any of these points but Brown seems complacent about the
combined debt and housing crisis that is stalking Britain. And as
interest rates start to rise it seems worse is to come.
We must actively support the calls to defend and expand council
housing – doing away with misleading jargon like “social housing” and
“affordability”. For millions on low wages, council housing is the only
route to secure decent homes – a human right for all.
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