The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 6th January 2006
Remembering Frank Ryan and he International Brigade
Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition
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‘BATTLING ON ALL FRONTS’
by Daphne Liddle
PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair has
started the New Year by declaring his firm intention to carry on his
programme of “reforms”, saying he will be making “critical decisions”
on many issues: public services, pensions, energy and his “personal
In his New Year message he painted a picture of a prosperous and
beautiful Britain with strong allies in Europe and the United States,
ready to make changes that will affect generations to come.
This is somewhat at odds with the picture painted in various
other New Year reports and statistics, which show Britain with record
personal debt at £1.13 trillion; 66 per cent of businesses
predicting a “year of pain” in an economy expected to deteriorate;
rocketing gas and petrol prices; soaring transport costs and budget
deficits everywhere from hospitals to pension schemes.
Blair himself is looking more and more battered after his mauling
and humiliation in the battle of the European Union budget and with the
prospect of a series of damaging back-bench revolts against his Tory
He is likely to depend on the actual Tories to get much of his
legislation through. He admits he is “battling on all fronts” and is
now calling for party loyalty in the face of a revival by the Tories.
But even his close allies are now predicting that Blair will
stand down within the year if Labour MPs fail to back his “reforms” on
the major issues of health, education, pensions and benefits.
Blair has already rolled over on the issue of the smoking in
public places after pressure from MPs to make it a complete ban. He and
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly are trying to negotiate compromises on
the Education Bill as opposition strengthens.
His allies say he is still determined to manage a “stable and
orderly transition” to Gordon Brown taking over the premiership –
though as time goes on this is looking less and less like a certainty.
Brown has publicly supported all of Blair’s policies but is now
leaking suggestions that he has very different ideas on a range of
Blair’s favourite policy points.
He is said to be in favour of introducing a law prohibiting any
future government from going to war without the backing of a
Parliamentary vote – a subtle admission of the disastrous decision to
go to war against Iraq.
He is also said to be lacking enthusiasm for the proposed
national identity card scheme – mainly on the grounds of cost.
And Brown is reported to be less keen than Blair about
introducing market forces into public services. He has said that Labour
must “balance choice and equity” and added: “There is such a thing as
the ethic of service, which is more than contracts, markets and
exchange and is about compassion, duty and respect.”
This is still a long way from a return to socialist principles
and more like old fashioned Victorian paternalism. He has picked the
issues that he knows will resonate with the largest number of voters
and suggested a different approach without saying anything definite.
A professional politician, he knows how to make statements into
which people who are desperate for change can read what they most wish
He is unlikely to be much better than Blair but the removal of
Blair in itself will mark a rejection of his craven subservience to the
Bush regime and his manic urge to privatise everything.
New Tory leader David Cameron has also been trying to catch the
imagination of the voters with populist statements about defending the
NHS, quotes from Ghandi, making poverty history, making Bob Geldof a
policy adviser and disrespecting the Thatcher legacy.
Young though he is, Cameron also has the skill of coming out with
the words that people in Britain want to hear without making any real
policy commitments. When the fine print is examined his policies are
still to the right of Blair’s – they are slightly left only in
comparison to those of his predecessor Howard.
And can anyone take seriously his promise to stand up to big
business, when big business created the Tory party to defend its
interests above all other considerations?
If only the Labour leadership was as loyal to its class origins!
But Cameron does stand a good chance of confusing and alienating
many rank and file traditional Tory supporters. No doubt the extreme
right-wing fringe parties will be trying to recruit them.
Meanwhile Cameron, after saying he wants an end to “Punch and
Judy politics”, launched a blistering personal attack on Gordon Brown –
implying that Blair is now so weak he is not worth bothering to attack.
Let us speed the day
ACROSS THE WORLD the New Year was heralded with traditional
displays of fireworks and mass celebrations. Religious leaders of
all persuasions gave their usual blessings while bourgeois
politicians of all hues rolled out the usual platitudes reserved for
this time of the year to remind us of their supposed commitment to
peace and their alleged concern for global poverty and the environment.
Behind the mask of seasonal goodwill what our masters are
actually saying is that not only is it normal for vast tracts of the
globe to be controlled by a tiny fraction of its population but that
this is the only way the world can be run.
Blair and Bush say they want peace when they really want war. Iraq and
Afghanistan are ablaze. Cuba, Iran, Syria and Venezuela have already
been targeted. The bill is paid by the lives and taxes of working
people throughout America and Britain.
The capitalists and landowners would have us believe that their system
of exploitation and oppression, which enables them to live the lives of
Roman emperors, is totally justified and positively beneficial for the
whole of humanity while the suffering and misery of working people is
entirely of their own making.
Though the bourgeois media does not attempt to deny the abject poverty
of much of the Third World it never dares to explain that this is
entirely due to the capitalist and feudal social structure that is
The poor and the oppressed are blamed for their own woes. The
fact that most of their leaders are little more than lackeys of the big
corporations that plunder their resources and ruthlessly exploit their
labour is never mentioned.
Driven by desperation millions are forced to seek a new life in the
imperialist heartlands. Though their cheap labour underpins the
prosperity of western Europe and the United States they are treated as
third class citizens or labelled as “illegal” immigrants and
“bogus” asylum seekers.
If they dare to stand up for themselves, like the youths of France who
took to the streets in November, the might of the bourgeois state is
unleashed against them. If they take destiny into their own hands, like
the heroic people of Iraq and Palestine, they are branded “madmen” or
Bourgeois politicians boast about Britain’s economic might while
preparing new onslaughts on the living standards of working people.
Pensions, housing, the health service and education are all under
attack. Billions can be found for the war in Iraq and Britain’s nuclear
arsenal but workers’ wages barely keep up with inflation. The “ open
market” is hailed as the sole economic law except when it comes to the
unions still chained by repressive anti-union laws that
prevent free collective bargaining.
But the spectre of communism still haunts the ruling class. People’s
China has become the new power-house of the emerging world. Before the
revolution China was the poorest country in the world. Now living
standards are soaring and China has once again become the work-shop of
the world. One would expect bourgeois economists and politicians to
rejoice at the fact. Far from it. They can only speak of China’s growth
and prosperity with fear and apprehension.
When the DPRK was hit by natural disasters in the 1990s the
imperialists rejoiced and predicted the end of socialism in north
Korea. Now, through the immense efforts of the masses mobilised by the
Workers’ Party of Korea, the country is back on its feet with a bumper
harvest last year and the prospect of greater advances in 2006. Nothing
is said about this in the bourgeois media let alone the successful
drive to eradicate poverty in Cuba, Vietnam and Laos.
Socialism is the future for all humanity. Let’s ensure that the
struggles of the coming year speed the day.
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