The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 8th September 2006
March to stop Remploy closures
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HATES HIM BUT BLAIR DON’T CAREA
by Daphne Liddle
EVENTS are moving fast as Labour MPs, junior ministers and even
Blair’s best friends are lining up in force and publicly to telling him
he must go.
These are not the “usual suspects” – left-wing principled MPs and
trade unionists who have been telling Blair to go for years now.
These are the “New Labour” careerists who fear that Blair’s
plummeting popularity and credibility is likely to drag them down if
they don’t distance themselves from him publicly now.
On Monday a group of 18 Labour MPs, said to be the majority of
the new intake of MPs in the 2001 election, led by Rhondda MP Chris
Bryant and Birmingham Erdington MP Sion Simon sent Blair a “private”
letter calling on him to quit now.
This followed the news that Blair was still refusing to set a
firm date for his departure. His backers had said he was planning to
stay in office for “another 12 to 18 months”.
This sparked a predictable show of public loyalty from the
dwindling coterie still around Blair, who at the same time hinted that
Blair would probably announce the date of his resignation some time
But Blair is notorious for giving vague hints that he is prepared
to go in good time and then claiming he never said anything of the kind.
At last Labour MPs are now wise to this and both the supporters
of Gordon Brown and Blair’s former supporters want him nailed to
definite promises. They declared that next May was “not good enough”.
Then on Wednesday a number of junior ministers resigned, adding to the
pressure on Blair to resign now. Leading them was former junior defence
minister Tom Watson, along with six parliamentary secretaries.
The Brownites are desperate that the handover of power should be
as quick as possible and that there should be no debate about Labour’s
policies. Brown’s lieutenant Ed Balls rejected the idea of a debate as
On the other hand, the party is in serious financial difficulties
and the unions hold the purse strings. The unions – and the rank and
file Labour members – do want a serious debate and a change of policy.
TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley said: “With a new leader must
come a new agenda. Downing Street seems to be in a state of denial
about the real state of the party – and indeed the real popularity of
“At the last two elections Labour lost millions of votes, mostly
from working people. The electoral system has given us big
parliamentary majorities on fewer votes than we used to lose on – and
support is further slipping away, particularly as a result of our
policy in the Middle East.
“Unless we address this dissatisfaction, which is far from solely
about the Prime Minister, a leadership election will achieve little.”
He added: “A halt to privatisation would be a vote winner.”
The spin doctors around Blair are claiming that he wants to plan
his retirement to go on a high note – a farewell tour of Britain,
appearances on popular TV programmes and “a wave of euphoria”.
Blair wants to be remembered as a great statesman. But he will be
remembered most for leading Britain into an illegal war against Iraq on
the basis of lies in order to please George Bush; he will be remembered
as the man who privatised more state assets than Thatcher did and as
the man who sold peerages for “loans” to the party.
Tony Woodley commented: “Euphoria there may be, nevertheless. But
it will not be secured by appearing on every TV show short of I’m
a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, as the delusional spin doctors imagine.
“It will be because an entirely unnecessary and self-inflicted
period of political damage has been brought to an end.”
But it is not only the people of Britain who will celebrate when
Blair goes. Throughout the world everyone opposed to George Bush’s
imperialist wars and aggression will be glad to see the back of Bush’s
Blair must not be allowed to wriggle off the hook – and we should
not underestimate his ability to wriggle – especially with the backing
of George Bush. Nor must we imagine he has an ounce of regret or
compunction about the damage he is doing to Labour or Britain. His
loyalties are elsewhere.
Left Labour MP John McDonnell, who leads the Labour
Representation Committee, has already declared his intention to stand
against Brown when Blair resigns. A united left campaign behind
McDonnell will maximise the chances of a genuine debate over Labour’s
policies and a return to a working class agenda.
The fate of imperialism
THE LOSS of the RAF Nimrod
with all aboard, in Afghanistan last weekend has once again highlighted
the price we are paying for Anglo-American imperialist aggression
around the world. Some 30 British servicemen have been killed over the
past three months on a fool’s errand in Afghanistan.
Controlling the Afghan mountains was part of the “great game” when
British imperialism vied with the Russians for control of Central Asia
in the 19th century. But even then it was a “game” that more than one
could play and the men of the Afghan mountains gave more than they got
in the hills of their homes. Now we’re being sucked into yet another
brutal and futile war as British troops hunt rebel tribesmen in Helmand
province to prop up a puppet regime in Kabul. This regime depends
entirely on imperialist bayonets for what little authority it has in
the country Anglo-American imperialism invaded five years ago.
Only a few months ago Blair’s ministers were claiming that the enlarged
British military presence in southern Afghanistan would be playing a
part in the reconstruction of the war-shattered country. When the first
resistance was encountered we were then told that British troops were
there to halt the cultivation of the poppies that provide most of the
world’s supply of illicit opium. Now it’s clear to everyone who didn’t
see it at the time, that the real objective is to crush the resistance
that has emerged under the leadership of a renascent Taliban movement.
Back in Iraq the dreams of Bush and Blair are turning into dust as the
resistance hammers the armies of occupation throughout the country. In
what was originally intended to be the British zone around Basra troops
are withdrawing to secure bases in what is increasingly looking like a
staged retreat. In the rest of Iraq resistance forces and local
militias control most of the towns and villages that the puppet leaders
dare no go while American troops try to minimise their own losses by
trying to terrorise the population with punitive raids, collective
punishments and helicopter gunships.
It’s an old story that began well over a 100 years ago when Britain and
the other imperialist powers used their industrial muscle to colonise
and plunder the rest of the world with modern armies and navies that
spanned the globe. Monstrous crimes were committed against the peoples
of Africa and Asia in the name of what the imperialists called
“civilisation”. Millions upon millions of people were reduced to coolie
status to build the dams, canals and railways of the colonies. They
slaved in the fields that were once their own to pay for the mansions
and servants of the ruling class that still rules Britain today. They
starved whle indifferent colonial governors watched when the crops
failed and they sweated for peanuts in the factories the imperialists
built to maximise the profits from their investments.
A few measly crumbs were given to organised labour in the heart of the
British Empire. But British workers, who powered the plants that made
Britain the factory of the world, fared little better. Living in slums
and hovels they were doomed to die as cannon-fodder in their millions
during the First World War.
Empires are built on the money and blood of working people at home and
abroad. It is indeed an old story. But there’s also an old ending.
Wherever there is oppression there is always resistance. The fury of
the masses in Ireland, India, Cyprus and Africa erupted into
resistance. The Union Jack came down, one way or another, throughout
the British Empire and it will again, together with the Stars and
Stripes, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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