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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2002

Mittal scandal exposes sleazy Labour

Blair - the Bosses' Puppet

Tony Blair, bosses' puppet. Cartoon by Alan Hardman, photo Alan Hardman

Tony Blair, bosses' puppet. Cartoon by Alan Hardman, photo Alan Hardman

NEW LABOUR came to power in 1997 promising to clean up politics. This empty promise was never going to be realised - New Labour had made another, more serious, promise to the City of London and the unelected multinational corporations.

By Hannah Sell

In 1998 Peter Mandelson declared: "We want Britain to be the most business-friendly environment in the world." New Labour kept this promise - they've followed every whim of big business.

Whose interests are served by privatising our public services? Not ours - for us it means the destruction of the NHS, less secure, more expensive housing and unaffordable, unsafe transport.

But for the finance companies New Labour asked to 'investigate' the case for privatisation (PriceWaterhouseCooper and Andersen) and who unsurprisingly concluded privatisation was a great idea, it has meant millions of pounds extra profit.

Blair says that he suggested to the Romanian government that they sell their steel industry to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal because it was good for Britain's steel industry.

Presumably that's also why Britain's representative at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development was instructed to support Mittal's application for a 70 million loan to buy the Romanian steelworks!

Never mind that Mittal's company only employs around 100 workers in Britain, and has heaped cash on US politicians to 'encourage' them to support higher tariffs on steel imports to the US - which would further weaken Britain's enfeebled steel industry.

Never mind either that Mittal pays no income tax or capital gains tax on his worldwide income, using a loophole which Blair said he'd close in 1997!

Mittal became a billionaire by buying up steel plants and sacking thousands of their staff. Blair recommended him to the Romanian government. Mittal is bad for workers in Britain, Romania or any other country.

But New Labour puts the interests of fat cats like Mittal first. The inevitable result is corruption and sleaze. In this society the only kind of political party that can be truly free from sleaze is one that fights, not for the millionaires, but for the millions.

The socialist alternative

The Socialist Party is fighting to build a party made up of, and representing, working class people. Our elected representatives get no privileges - they live on the average wage of a worker.

BY CONTRAST to the big business politics of New Labour and other establishment parties, the Socialist Party's national conference last weekend had ordinary people as its delegates.

Low-paid workers, school students and the unemployed came together to discuss how to fight for a socialist society.

At the conference we raised 7,367 from 250 delegates and visitors. It's a small sum compared to the 125,000 that Mittal slipped New Labour - but it was donated from the hard-earned cash of working-class people instead of given by a fat cat to buy influence.

If you're fed up of all the sleazy big business parties - join the Socialist Party.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 22 February 2002:

Blair - the Bosses' Puppet

Strike for the full claim: Support Postal Workers

Trade Unions' Leftward Move Worries Blair

Time To Break Unions' Links With Labour

Left Victory In Northern Ireland Union

Socialist Party Congress 2002

Revolt From Below At Berlusconi's Attacks: Thousands march in Rome

Linking Up The Workers' Struggles


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