Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/174/7927
New Labour In Crisis
BLAIR THINKS that the fuel crisis is over. But the political crisis for New Labour gets worse every day. Two opinion polls put them behind the Tories. Despite all the propaganda, 63% of people blame the government for the fuel crisis.
Blair has a personal rating of minus 34 - the lowest for a Labour Party leader since 1989. As Len, a porter at Whipps Cross Hospital, commented: "Blair has lost popularity because the fuel crisis dramatically brought out all the accumulated grievances on health, education etc. plus disappointment at the failure to address poverty and the widening wealth gap.
"There's also the arrogance of Blair and his government. They're now seen as totally divorced from the public. He's consciously adopted this presidential style which effectively blocks out all dialogue with the unions and the public.
"And what does this 'listening government' do? Gordon Brown refuses to agree to fuel tax cuts. And New Labour proposes emergency legislation to make refusing to deliver fuel a criminal offence.
"These draconian powers could also be applied to other 'key' essential services. If New Labour go down this road it will outrage ordinary trade union members.
"It's a desperate measure by a desperate government who want to legislate away opposition to their policies. It won't work."
A nurse at the same hospital commented: "We knew when Blair first came into power that he wasn't going to bring instant results. But I don't honestly think he's done anything for anybody in the last three and a bit years.
"I've never voted anything other than Labour. But unless Blair pulls something out of the hat in the next six months then for the first time in my entire voting life I couldn't vote Labour. I think Blair's arrogant and he's not listening to the people he should be listening to."
Working-class people desperately need a political alternative to all three big business parties. The Socialist Party is campaigning for a new mass party which could unite together workers, young people, anti-capitalist protesters and all those who want to change the system.
Join us to fight for a new workers' party. Join us and fight for socialism.
In The Socialist 22 September 2000: