Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/161/7830
Anger grows against Labour as...
Blair's Allies Desert Him
ANGER AND disillusionment with New Labour is at an all-time high. Since coming to power 170,000 jobs have gone in manufacturing. Compared to 1997, one million more people live below the poverty line.
Now the government threatens to privatise air traffic control and the Post Office.
So unpopular are New Labour with working class, and many middle class, people, that even staunch right wing 'New' Labour politicians have felt compelled to criticise the government.
Lord Sawyer says Tony Blair is not seen as close to the people. Austin Mitchell MP attacks New Labour for treating Labour councils as "the enemy within". Peter Kilfoyle MP declares that the government are ignoring working-class heartlands.
All three of these individuals bear responsibility for Blairism taking over the Labour Party. They spent their time and energy in the 1980s, not attacking the Tories, but leading the witch-hunt against socialists in the Labour Party, in particular the Militant Tendency (forerunner of the Socialist Party).
Tom Sawyer's disgusting comment that Thatcher was seen as "close to the people" shows the reality of these people's pathetic opposition to New Labour.
A serious opposition to New Labour will not be built around these people. It will come from working-class people getting organised and fighting back.
Delegates at the Communication Workers Union conference (CWU) voted to withdraw "financial and moral" support for Labour if the government privatised all or part of the Post Office. At BECTU (the broadcasting and media trade union) conference, one-third of delegates voted to review the union's relationship with Labour. At other union conferences similar debates are occuring.
Many trade unionists are so angry with New Labour they are no longer prepared to give money to a party that constantly attacks them. But this shouldn't mean that trade unions become 'non-political'.
The Socialist Party campaigns for trade unions to use their political funds to support candidates and parties that will stand up for workers' rights. This would mean supporting Socialist Party and other socialist candidates.
However, it would also mark a step towards a new mass party of the working class. Such a party would provide real opposition to New Labour and involve, and campaign in support of, all the millions who are opposed to New Labour's big business policies.
In The Socialist 9 June 2000: