The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 8th April 2005
Karol Wojtyla 1920-2005 obituary
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THE TORIES OUT: VOTE LABOUR
by Daphne Liddle
THE QUEEN formally
fired the election starting gun last Tuesday morning after Prime
Minister Tony Blair visited her last Tuesday and the campaigns are now
fully underway in what will be one of the most difficult elections to
persuade people to vote ever.
This is not because the people are apathetic or do not care but because
disillusionment with all three of the main parties is so deep.
This is not surprising. Blair’s catastrophic policies on Iraq,
his slavish following of Bush, his deceit and his adherence to Tory
policies of continuing privatisation have outraged millions of
progressive people in Britain.
The problem is that we are living under a dictatorship of the
bourgeoisie, which means that the only real choice we have is between
Blair and Howard.
The only real difference in the policies they are proclaiming is
that Howard is threatening even more draconian measures against
immigrants, asylum seekers and the whole law and order issue. He is
appealing to the lowest feelings of fear, racism and xenophobia.
Howard is also promising to repeal all human rights legislation
and withdraw Britain from international agreements on refugees.
If he were elected he would indeed probably keep these promises.
On all other issues, whoever got in – Blair, Howard or even
Kennedy – would probably do exactly the same thing. They would do what
the global ruling class told them – as they always do.
The privatisations will continue, the attacks on the unions and
the standards of living of the working class would continue and the
strengthening of the bourgeois state machinery – with ID cards, house
arrests, detention for alleged terrorists without trial – will continue.
We do not get rid of these evils merely by voting, it takes
something much stronger.
The main beneficial thing that did come out of the June 1997
election was a revival of the trade union movement and a revitalising
of Labour’s grassroots. Working class confidence is an essential
ingredient of any revolutionary situation.
The important thing is for the working class to be confident in
itself – not in its treacherous New Labour leadership – which will only
lead to disappointment.
But the danger is that disappointment with Blair and his clique
will lead to a return of the Tories. Last week’s opinion polls put them
just two or three points ahead of the Tories.
A combination of Labour voters refusing to turn out, or voting
for a fringe party as a protest, could tip the balance in many seats.
There is certainly a real possibility now of a hung Parliament
forcing a coalition with the Liberal Democrats – or even worse a
coalition of Tories and Liberal Democrats.
This would not be better than what we have now. The Liberal
Democrats zeal for privatisation is even greater than Blair’s. Their
main difference with Labour and the Tories is that they clearly favour
being part of a European super state rather than the 51st state of
So it is important to get the highest possible vote for Labour in
spite of Blair’s treachery.
But it is much more important to educate, agitate and organise
among the working class until the labour movement is strong enough to
take on the ruling class and overthrow it.
That would be a huge step and not one that could happen
immediately. But there are smaller steps that will take us in that
direction. One is keeping the Tories out. The next is developing labour
movement strength to throw out Blair and his entire New Labour clique.
The election race has begun
THE New Communist Party will be
calling on working people to vote Labour in the general election, not
because we support the venal right-wing policies of “New Labour”, Blair
and Brown, or because we think a Labour government can solve the
problems of working people. That isn’t possible in a capitalist
“democracy”. It is simply the best possible outcome in the current
In our view a Labour government, with the yet unbroken links with the
Labour Party, the trade unions and the co-operative movement, offers
the best option for the working class in the era of bourgeois
parliamentary democracy. Our strategy is for working class unity and
our campaigns are focused on defeating the right-wing within the
movement and strengthening the left and progressive forces within the
Labour Party and the unions.
Working people have made some gains since Labour returned to office in
1997, gains that would not have happened under the Tories, like the
peace process in Ireland, devolution for Scotland and Wales and the
restoration of the Greater London Authority, improved terms and
conditions for workers and reduced child poverty.
The alternatives, all ultimately based on the revisionist thinking of
the old communist party’s “British Road to Socialism”, are nothing more
than an illusion. Running left candidates against Labour divides the
movement and the class. It doesn’t strengthen the left within the
Labour Party and ignores the obvious fact that the only realistic
alternative governments are those of the Tories or the Liberal
Democrats that would be much worse than any Labour government.
Blair & Co hope that the election will force the class to close
ranks around their class collaborationist, war party “New Labour”
agenda. We must campaign for a Labour victory that strengthens the
genuinely progressive and democratic trends within the labour movement
that ultimately are the only force that can defeat them.
The stench of
The Birmingham ballot-rigging
scandal is a damning indictment of the new postal ballot system and the
New Labour culture that allowed it to happen. Though Labour has now
washed its hands on their councillors in Bordesley Green and Aston,
found guilty by an election court judge of “widespread fraud”, the
Government would like us to believe that this was an isolated incident.
In the past postal ballots were allowed simply to cover voters on
holiday or too ill to cast their vote in person. The extension of
postal balloting, accelerated by the Labour Government, was intended to
encourage more participation, particularly in local and regional
elections. But what is has also done is opened the door to electoral
fraud not seen since the introduction of the secret ballot.
The election commissioner, Richard Mawrey QC, said there was evidence
of “massive, systematic and organised fraud”. He noted with regret that
the Government had dismissed warnings about the failing of the current
postal voting regulations as “scaremongering” and added that “anybody
who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to the
evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic would
find this statement surprising”.
The ease in which postal ballots can be abused is illustrated by the
case of the six Birmingham Labour councillors accused of using forgery
and deception to collect and amend thousands of votes. The lack of
supervision and control, inevitable in a system that relies on
individuals returning a ballot in the post, makes vote-buying and false
returns easy and often impossible to prove practices.
The obvious answer is to return to the old procedure and ban postal
ballots altogether except for those on holiday or infirm.
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