Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/332/5610

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 January 2004

Battered Blair Clings On For Now

BLAIR narrowly survived the vote on top-up fees. He saw a massive majority of 161 evaporate to just five, over what he himself called his 'flagship' policy. At the eleventh hour, spineless New Labour MPs bottled it - bullied and bribed into submission by Blair, Brown and their 'muscle', education secretary Charles Clarke.

As over war with Iraq, Blair and Co. have once again stuck two figures up to mass opposition. To win the vote he had to make some concessions, which have angered some university vice-chancellors and Blair's big-business backers, but do not fundamentally alter the principle of variable fees.

Now, with the prospect of crippling debts of thousands of pounds, many working-class and middle-class students will think twice about going to university. Many more will be forced to shop around in the higher education 'market' for 'bargain' courses, while the rich continue to dominate the 'elite' universities and the best jobs.

At the same time, the ground has been laid for a doubling or trebling of fees in the future to meet the 'market value' of university courses.

Lost authority

MANY PEOPLE will feel betrayed by Blair and New Labour over top-up fees. Yet again the interests of big business have been put before those of ordinary people. But, even though he has won the vote, Blair will not emerge from this and the Hutton report unscathed. His credibility and authority have received a battering that could still lead to his standing down before the next election.

Blair has faced significant rebellions over Iraq, foundation hospitals and now, most damagingly over top-up fees. At least 200 New Labour MPs have voted against the government at some stage. Gwyneth Dunwoody, a leading light in the witch-hunt against Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party) in the 1980s, boasted to her constituency Labour Party that she had rebelled against Blair's government 27 times.

He will be viewed as a Prime Minister who is not just out of touch with ordinary people but who has also lost authority within his own party

Hutton and WMD

THE HUTTON inquiry was established partly as a distraction from the key issue of why Blair backed Bush's imperialist war. But day after day the evidence is piling up to prove that Blair's main justification for going to war - Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) - was based on a lie. Even the CIA's own man, David Kay, when resigning as chief weapons inspector, said that he didn't believe that there are any stockpiles of WMD in Iraq.

Robin Cook, who complained in his memoirs he had sold his soul to Blair, said last week: "It is becoming undignified for the Prime Minister to continue to insist that he was right all along when everybody can now see he was wrong". Regardless of what Hutton says, Blair - who came to power as a 'clean pair of hands' after the sleaze of the Tories - is perceived by a large section of the population as a liar. Voting for top-up fees, when they had been clearly ruled out in Labour's manifesto, will have reinforced the widespread opinion that he cannot be trusted.

Political alternative

ALTHOUGH BLAIR will probably ride things out in the short-term, and could still stumble on until after the next election, there could also be pressure for him to go sooner so that New Labour can approach the next election with a 'fresh' leader, rather than one who is damaged goods.

But Brown, Blair's heir apparent, will not mean a fresh start for New Labour. He has given his full backing to top-up fees and played a pivotal role in persuading rebel MPs to capitulate over the vote. He also spent the last week hobnobbing with his friends 'Sir' Bill Gates and Jean-Pierre Garnier - two of the fattest fat cats (see below). Like Blair, Brown will listen to the millionaires not the millions.

It's clear that a political opposition to New Labour needs to be built; one that can stand up for working-class people and is rooted in their organisations - the trade unions, community campaigns etc; and one that can mobilise the tens of thousands who are opposed to war, poverty and attacks on education, health and public services.

The Socialist Party is fighting to build such a party and to provide a socialist alternative to the capitalist market system which blights the lives of so many people.

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


In The Socialist 31 January 2004:

Blair is Damaged Goods

Where Are Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction?

Battered Blair Clings On For Now

Brown - The Bosses' Friend

Top-Up Fees - The Fight Goes On


International socialist news and analysis

Workers Speak Out at World Social Forum

French Government's Divisive Ban On Headscarves


Socialist Party news and analysis

Socialist Party And The Respect Convention

"It's Not Just Pay"

Hackney Workers Fight 'Single Status'

Scotland: Nursery Nurses To Ballot For All-Out Action


 

Home   |   The Socialist 31 January 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Labour:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Fees:

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports

triangleFight for free education

triangleFight tuition fees

triangleKick out the Tories, fight for free education!

War:

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

12/10/17

Cleaners

Justice for Tube cleaners demo

11/10/17

Salford

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts

11/10/17

Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

11/10/17

Carlisle

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

11/10/17

Green

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

11/10/17

Fire

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

11/10/17

Cardiff

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

11/10/17

John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

11/10/17

Orgreave

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

11/10/17

Union

Workplace news in brief

11/10/17

Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

6/10/17

Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

5/10/17

Runcorn

Too much to cross the Mersey

4/10/17

Royal Mail

Set for national strike action

4/10/17

London

Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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