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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 July 2008

Boris Johnson reveals his real policies

THE SOCIALIST has warned previously that the Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is a right-wing populist with a bias towards more affluent areas of outer London, where the bulk of his support is found.

Neil Cafferky

In his first batch of decisions since defeating the previous Mayor, Labour's Ken Livingstone, Johnson has underlined this point. The most publicised decision has been changing the Rise festival from an explicitly anti-racist event to what is now termed a "community" event.

Munira Mirza, the Mayor's cultural adviser, defended this decision by arguing that, as there is now a consensus within society that racism is unacceptable, concerts such as Rise are now redundant. Given the racist BNP's recent electoral gains this is an unusual idea.

However, Mirza lets the cat out of the bag when attacking the political tone of the festival. "Over the years, Rise was proclaimed by Ken [Livingstone] & Co as a key weapon in the fight against racism and fascism. In reality, it became an annual jamboree for Ken's favourite political activist groups, many with no clear link to anti-racism."

Mirza is referring to the strong trade union and labour movement presence at the festival. The idea that the labour movement, which represents the people who create the wealth in society, should be represented at a state funded event is an abhorrent idea to the Tory party.

In a deliberately provocative act by Johnson, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign has been banned from the festival. This prompted the withdrawal of funds from Unite, Unison and other trade unions supporting the event.

The BNP reacted with delight. BNP London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook had earlier asked Boris Johnson if he could: "confirm if this festival will once again be a political ground with active campaigning against the British National Party as in previous years?" Barnbrook now takes credit for this turn of events, saying "it would seem that my efforts have not gone unnoticed". (Both quotes fromhttp://boriswatch.co.uk/2008/06/17/whitewashing/)

The Socialist Party will not be taking part inside the Rise festival as in previous years. Instead we will continue our anti-BNP work outside the festival to keep the anti-racism flag flying and to protest the actions of the Johnson administration.

In the longer term, the threat a Johnson administration poses to the workers' movement is illustrated by the people he appointed to run day to day affairs in London. Chief among these is his First Deputy Mayor, Tim Parker, dubbed "The Prince of Darkness" by the GMB union after he turned up in a Porsche to sack a group of factory workers and who also halved the 7,000 workforce at the AA.

The London Evening Standard proclaims, "His mission is to use his private sector experience to turn the bloated, bureaucratic City Hall beast into a lean, efficient machine (22 May)." What this means for low-paid public sector workers is clear, job cuts and greater workloads. His ideas need to be fought.

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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.
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In The Socialist 2 July 2008:

Hands off our NHS!

Feature: 60 years of the NHS


Socialist Party campaigns

Local government strike action: Workers say: 'enough is enough!'

Fight Labour's welfare privatisation

91% of pay deals are below inflation

Workers united against pay freeze


Socialist Party news and analysis

Education - class segregation grows

Boris Johnson reveals his real policies

Royals down to their last crown?

Union support for demo to stop BNP 'festival'


National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network: Rebuilding trade union strength


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Obituary

Obituary: Terry Fields


Socialist Party LGBT

LGBT London Pride: No to homophobia


International socialist news and analysis

Mugabe clique tightens its grip on Zimbabwe

Big oil returns to Iraq

Poland: Thousands join 'hands off the Labour Code' demo


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS shows action gets results

Visteon workers win 5%

For a fighting, democratic Usdaw

Tube cleaners in pay strike

Victory for Belfast Airport shop stewards

East London street cleaners fight privatised employer


 

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