Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/488/2426

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 May 2007

Gordon Brown crowned leader with no contest

New face, same pedigree, Cartoon by Alan Hardman with apologies to

New face, same pedigree, Cartoon by Alan Hardman with apologies to 'Romulus and remus and the she-wolf', cartoon by Alan Hardman

WITH ALMOST the entire parliamentary Labour Party backing him, Gordon Brown was anointed as successor to Tony Blair without a contest. Brown had pretended to want a contest, but when left wing challenger John McDonnell was struggling to reach the required 45 nominations, Brown refused to ask some of his own supporters to nominate McDonnell.

He said it would be "dishonest" to do so and that he could not "ask people to trade their conscience".

But there would have been no trading of conscience if at Brown's bidding some MPs had declared their support for Brown but their nomination for McDonnell. Instead, they collectively decided to deny every Labour Party member and Labour-affiliated trade unionist a vote in the matter, in fear of suffering some exposure to criticism of their anti-working class agenda.

With most concerned only about their career prospects, in an unseemly rush to crown Brown, ardent Blairite MPs together with other former Brown opponents were 'changing their religion as the dying monarch's life ebbed away' as one backbench MP put it.

John McDonnell deserves congratulations for trying to present a challenge. If he had succeeded in getting on the ballot paper it would have led to welcome publicity for a programme against cuts, privatisation and the Iraq war and in favour of free education, a decent minimum wage, civil liberties and trade union rights. It would also have been a chance for workers in Labour-affiliated trade unions to vote in favour of that programme.

New face, same pedigree, Cartoon by Alan Hardman, photo Alan Hardman

New face, same pedigree, Cartoon by Alan Hardman, photo Alan Hardman

However, as the socialist warned, an eventual victory by John McDonnell against Brown was not going to happen, given the nature of New Labour today.

Labour membership has halved during Blair and Brown's ten years in power and the remainder has become predominately Blairite and inactive. Rather than there being an influx of new workers into New Labour as John McDonnell hoped, with Brown determined to continue with a pro-market agenda, the stage is set for a further decline of the remnants of the Labour left.

An FT Harris poll on 21 May showed that 80% of British voters think that hospitals have not improved during the last ten years of New Labour government and 72% think that education has not improved. However, Gordon Brown has made it clear that he will continue with privatisation and cuts. There will be changes in style and presentation, some relatively minor progressive promises and probably an earlier withdrawal of troops from Iraq. But the basic diet of pro-big business measures and attacks on workers' living standards will go on.

The contest for the deputy leader of the Labour Party, while actually having some challengers, also does nothing to indicate any turn to the left. The candidate supported by the major trade unions, Jon Cruddas, did oppose higher tuition fees and a renewal of Trident missiles, but he also nominated Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership! And Blairite candidate Hilary Benn only managed to get on the ballot paper through getting some final nominations from members of the parliamentary Socialist Campaign Group whose 'socialist' conscience amounted to only nominating him out of sympathy for his father, the left-wing Tony Benn.

A vital task for all socialists now is to prepare to assist the inevitable workers' struggles that will break out under the Brown-led government.

Much of the public-sector workforce is seething with rage at Brown's 2% wage limit, effectively a pay cut. Other battles are looming, such as against Royal Mail plans to axe 40,000 jobs and close a further 2,500 post offices.

Working-class people are hugely relieved that Blair is going and a layer are desperately hoping that Brown will break free of the Blairite neo-liberal agenda and reveal himself as different in substance as well as style. However, there is also a layer who know well that illusions in Brown are futile, who are already drawing the conclusion that industrial action will soon be necessary. Building for a good turnout of trade unionists at the RMT-initiated shop stewards' conference on 7 July will be an important step in preparing for such action.

But as well, socialists need to step up the campaign for a new political party that can represent workers' interests.

The successful second 'campaign for a new workers' party' (CNWP) conference on 12 May was a step forward on the path to realising this aim.

John McDonnell, now clearly obstructed in his aim of furthering workers' interests inside the Labour Party should join socialists outside the Labour Party who are campaigning for a new party. However, unfortunately, he confirms in his interview with the socialist this week, that he believes he should remain in the Labour Party at this stage.

The call for a new party receives enthusiastic support among rank and file trade unionists, community campaigners and young people whenever it is raised in meetings and on picket lines etc by Socialist Party members and others. The socialist will continue to argue for the urgent need to build the CNWP and for all socialists, trade unionists and others not yet part of it, to get involved in helping to build this vital campaign.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 24 May 2007:

Public-sector workers say...Fight Brown's pay freeze

PCS: Public-sector unity to defend jobs and services

National Shop Stewards Network

Postal workers' strike ballot: Vote 'yes' for a future

Darling attacks Post Offices

Greenwich workers shame councillors


Labour Party leadership

Gordon Brown crowned leader with no contest

John McDonnell speaks to the socialist

The alternative to Labour

MPs say stop looking at us!


Education

Academies: No to these divisive schools

Lewisham council attacks education

School meals - Victory!

Canteen workers oppose school meals cuts

School campaigners shake Wokingham


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Nursing staff strike shows way forward


Socialist Party news and analysis

Homophobia: it's not over

Letter to Polish Ambassador


Marxist analysis: history

Belfast 1907 - a city in revolt


Environment and socialism

Can solar power solve our energy needs?


Scotland

SNP in power - populism and cuts


 

Home   |   The Socialist 24 May 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Gordon Brown:

triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangleEd Balls: 'Speaking Out' for capitalism

triangleMajority support migrants staying - fight hate crime

Labour:

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

Labour Party:

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

John McDonnell:

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!

triangleThe end of the Tories?

The Socialist:

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

Trade unions:

triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool

Privatisation:

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

Iraq:

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

Education:

triangleBrighton victory

CNWP:

triangleCNWP extended steering committee meeting

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2