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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 May 2008

Labour, Tories, LibDems ...they're all the same!

Build A New Workers' Party

Public services are crumbling, schooll class sizes are growing, and many public-sector workers face a pay freeze. Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O

Public services are crumbling, schooll class sizes are growing, and many public-sector workers face a pay freeze. Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O'Neill

"Et tu, Crewe?" Gordon Brown might have muttered to himself as the knife of another electoral drubbing sank into his back. It shouldn't come as any surprise, though. The Labour Party abandoned working-class people years ago - New Labour have been haemorrhaging votes for the last decade as a result of their pro-big business, anti-working class policies in power and now it's becoming critical.

Greg Maughan, Campaign for a New Workers' Party

The Crewe and Nantwich by-election was an example of how to run an election campaign without any politics. So close are New Labour and the Tories in terms of whose interests they look out for, that the race for Crewe was boiled down to personality and cosmetic differences.

The sight of New Labour 'activists' dressed in morning suits posing as 'Tory Toffs' was a crass miscalculation. Yes, Tory victor Edward Timpson is heir to a shoe-repairing fortune. But Tamsin Dunwoody, the New Labour candidate, posed as heir apparent to the seat because her mother previously held it, and because she had a grandmother who sat in the House of Lords!

More to the point, the 'toff bashing' didn't wash because everyone knows New Labour look out for the toffs.

Under New Labour, corporation tax has been cut time and time again while ordinary working people are forking out more and more.

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Meanwhile public services are crumbling, school class sizes are growing, and many public-sector workers face a pay freeze. The only people on the up-and-up in Brown's Britain are those at the top of society and those sitting in parliament. 61,820 as a starting wage for MPs isn't bad. And that's before you start to factor in expenses, second home payments and the like. It's not a bad life.

But poor old Dunwoody will miss out on all of that now and instead Tory Timpson will be decking out his second home with the aid of a John Lewis catalogue!

Labour or Tory, they get into parliament and find themselves very comfortably paid, living in a bubble with no idea how the rest of us live. What's needed are political representatives who have to get by on the same amount as the rest of us, paid no more than a worker's wage and not lining their pockets on the sly with their expenses 'slush fund'.

Elements of the New Labour machine are now gunning for Brown and there's a question mark over whether it will be him leading the battle against Team Cameron at the next general election.

But whoever's in charge you can bet it will be more of the same. Few workers want a return of the Tories - working-class communities across the country still have deep scars from last time they were in power - but many workers will no longer hold their noses and vote Labour to keep the Tories out.

The fight for a new party of socialists, trade unionists and community campaigners which puts working-class people's interests above those of the fat cats is more urgent now than ever.

We need a positive, socialist alternative to the negative politics of the bosses' parties. The up-coming conference of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party is an important step on the road to building such a party. Without one, we're stuck with a choice between toffs with blue rosettes or toffs with red ones.

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In The Socialist 28 May 2008:

Build A New Workers' Party

Crewe and Nantwich 'no-win' by-election: Why New Labour lost

I told my union: "We need a new workers' party"

Westminster parties are remote from life

Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

MPs' expensive expenses


Socialist Party campaigns

Tax the rich not the poor!

Exeter bomb explosion: Workers' unity needed against terrorism, war and deprivation

Johnson's Prince of Darkness

Them & Us

Greenwich - save our centres


Socialist Party women

Women welcome abortion rights victory: Now fight to extend rights


Youth and crime

Home secretary: "Tough on crime"...but not the causes

'Youth justice': repressive measures do not work


Socialist Party feature

'Counter-terrorism' legislation threatens our democratic rights


International socialist analysis

South Africa: Attacks on refugees and migrants reveal capitalism's barbaric underbelly


Socialist Party review

The Wire - Reviewed by Michael Wrack


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: More battles ahead on pay and jobs

Usdaw general secretary election: Members want democratic debate

Industrial news in brief


 

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