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Who's Pulling Labour's Strings?
NEW LABOUR started the year showing its willingness to fight the forthcoming general election on behalf of big business by accepting mega bucks from the wealthy.
The furore surrounding Lord Hamlyn's £2 million donation to its election fund shows that Labour can be just as sleazy as the previous Tory government. Like the Ecclestone donation a few years ago, workers will want to know who's pulling Labour's strings? How much influence are such large donations buying?
Just as New Labour have continued the Tory sleaze, so too they have continued the Tory policies of driving large sections of the working class into destitution.
Four years of Labour government has seen the wealth gap widen and big dividends continue to roll in for the rich.
We start 2001 seeing the poorest 20% of families having to struggle by on £94 a week according to government statistics. They show that the top 20% of families spend on average nearly £900 a week. The super rich have even more.
An academic survey showing maps of poverty in London, using data from over 100 years ago and today, shows how little has changed. It showed that "affluent places remained affluent and poor places have remained relatively poor".
100 years of so-called anti-poverty initiatives have had no impact on the patterns of inequality in inner London. Because of this continued trend the poor still die younger.
The biggest cause of poverty, the control, production and distribution of wealth by big business and the rich - the capitalist system - is the very system that New Labour will be defending at the polls.
It's probable Blair will call an early election this year, to avoid suffering the likely effects of a US economic recession. The Socialist Party will be challenging New Labour. Unlike them we have no wealthy backers.
We don't want the sort of backers New Labour has, who give large sums in return for favours that wreck working-class lives. Instead we will be campaigning to elect workers' MPs on a worker's wage, who will fight for a socialist redistribution of wealth and power in favour of the poorest and working people generally.
If you want to help us in that, join our party in 2001 and donate to our General Election Special Appeal.
In The Socialist 5 January 2001:
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