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New Labour's failures
Don't just get angry, get active
Grodon Brown meltdown. Cartoon on cover of Socialism Today, June 2008 , photo Cartoon by Suz
LABOUR ARE hated - it's official! A YouGov poll last week put them at their most unpopular since opinion polling began in 1943. Then, Labour was soon to introduce the NHS and the welfare state. That Labour Party is gone forever. Now they are hell-bent on cutting and privatising our services.
This poll only heaps further misery on Gordon Brown, already reeling from Labour's crushing defeats in the local elections and the Crewe by-election. On top of this he finds himself, along with other members of the Party's NEC, personally liable for £17.8 million of debt! Smiling has always been a challenge for Brown but never has he had so little to smile about. Even if they avoid financial bankruptcy, New Labour has been politically bankrupt for years. Ironically, their money worries have increased their reliance on donations from trade unions. But why are union leaders paying Labour to carry out Tory policies?
Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008
There have now been rumblings from within Labour about the need to change course. With no guarantee they'll keep their seats (and their beloved salaries and expenses) after the next general election, it's no wonder MPs are concerned. But none of them has a strategy to turn Labour's fortunes around. The Labour left is too weak to capitalise on Brown's woes. John McDonnell, who tried to stand against Brown for leader last year, has ruled out another attempt in the short-term. With no voice for ordinary members, Labour is an irredeemable organ of big business and the super-rich.
Expecting Brown to change direction is like expecting King Canute to turn back the waves. Brown was one of the brains behind the New Labour project and is a vicious advocate of neo-liberal capitalism, through and through. He invited Maggie Thatcher to Downing Street and the former head of the CBI bosses' club, Digby Jones, into his cabinet. He asks us to judge him on his policies, not his 'personality' but it is his anti-working class policies which are the cause of Labour's deep unpopularity.
The removal of the 10p tax rate was seen as typical of this government. Yet another kick in the teeth for workers from a party that tries to get ordinary people to foot the bill for the decadence of big business. Saddled with debt and facing price rises and pay cuts, it's no wonder workers feel betrayed. Campaigning on working class estates, time and again you hear the same phrase: "I'll never vote Labour again." Some voters have even turned to the Tories out of frustration but they only offer more of the same.
If you're fed up with New Labour attacks then don't just get angry, get active. Never has the need for a political alternative been more pronounced. The fat cats have got three parties to choose from, we need one that will stand up for us. If you agree, then your place is at the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP) conference on 29 June.
In The Socialist 3 June 2008:
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party youth and students
Environment: Nuclear power
International socialist news and analysis