Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/348/5773
What Is The Alternative To Blair?
WILL TONY Blair become a casualty of the war in Iraq?
"It's like an elephant in Tony's sitting room" said one cabinet minister, "It doesn't matter which way he looks it's always there"
(Financial Times 7 May);
"an ice splinter in the Prime Minister's heart"
wrote the Daily Mirror in its editorial (17 May).
Support for New Labour has plummeted to its lowest level for 17 years.
There's burning anger at privatisation, low pay, crumbling public services, tuition fees and all the other New Labour policies that hit working-class people where it hurts.
But it's Blair's lies over Iraq - the violence and chaos and all the atrocities being carried out against ordinary Iraqis that is increasing the haemorrhaging of voters away from New Labour.
Every reason Blair gave for waging this bloody war and occupation - weapons of mass destruction, democracy, peace, freedom, humanitarian concerns, have turned into a sick joke for the Iraqi people.
Desperate to find a way out of this morass, Blair's latest plan is to "speed up" the transfer of 'sovereignty' to the Iraqi people. However, even his own spokesperson had to admit that "It will lead eventually to an exit, but it is not an exit strategy".
Blair says he is determined to see through what he started in Iraq. But the media is full of reports of rumour and intrigue concerning if and when he will go. This week the bookies shortened the odds on his being Prime Minister at the next election. According to a Yougov poll, 46% of people think he should go before then.
Worried Labour MPs have one eye on the opinion polls and the other on their majorities. Blair could stagger on beyond the next election. But if New Labour suffer a rout in the local, European and London elections, it might be felt that he had become such damaged goods; such an electoral liability, that he had to go.
What is the alternative?
But what is the alternative? If Brown became Prime Minister he would carry on full steam ahead with privatising public services and forcing through the sacking of 40,000 public-sector workers. His stance on the war and occupation has been so far no different to Blair's.
The Tories would mean more of the same - with knobs on. The Liberal Democrats opportunistically make a play for the anti-war vote. But they supported the troops when they went into Iraq and don't call for them to come out now!
The Socialist Party is standing candidates in the local elections and in the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency seat for the Greater London Authority (GLA) to provide a real alternative for working-class people.
We also support other socialist, anti-privatisation, anti-cuts and genuine anti-war candidates in areas where we are not standing.
At the same time, we campaign for the founding of a new party that can unite socialists, trade unionists and all those opposed to the war and occupation, and could begin to build a mass alternative to the anti-working-class policies of the main establishment parties.
If this is what you want to see too, then don't just vote socialist, join us and fight for a better future.
In The Socialist 22 May 2004:
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