New Labour’s advisers have condemned Britain’s five million council tenants for supposedly living in ghettoes and being cut off from the economic success story of Britain.
Communities secretary Ruth Kelly was set to unveil a report by housing expert Professor John Hill as Socialist Worker went to press. Media attention focused on the call for council estates where tenants settle for life to be broken up and to deny children the right to take over their parents’ tenancy.
The report is said to include proposals for the means testing of tenants. They could lose their cheap rents if their incomes go up.
The real problem, though, is the lack of affordable homes of a decent standard. Many working people cannot afford to buy and there are no new council homes because New Labour won’t let them be built. Many people face their homes being repossessed because they can’t pay increased mortgages.
The promise of decent council housing lay at the heart of Labour’s emergence as a mass party. It promised hope to millions condemned to crumbling slums and bloodsucking landlords.
The spirit of that promise lies at the heart of Respect’s challenge in May’s local elections and next year’s London-wide poll.
A new Cold War?
Britain is targeted by weapons of mass destruction.
The threat is not from Iran, which has no nuclear missiles. Instead it comes from Russia as a result of US moves.
Russia has announced it will target US bases in Poland and the Czech Republic where the US plans to install interceptor missiles as part of its “Star Wars” plans. Russian president Vladimir Putin warned of a new Cold War.
The US base at Fylingdales in North Yorkshire is pivotal to the US missile defence programme, making Britain a target. Distaste at Putin’s regime should not mask the fact that US missiles are now on Russia’s border and that the US has acted to militarise outer space.
The US has never ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was signed by 161 countries. The US government has withdrawn its commitment to respect the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
The old Cold War rivalries are mounting. The US retains a military ring round Russia and increasingly sees China as a threat.
Tony Blair has not only given the green light to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system, but has agreed that this country will remain a base for the US’s nuclear attack capability.
A hot retirement
In a terrible development for anyone who cares about our planet, Tony Blair has announced that he wants to work on climate change after he leaves office. Climate change will be added to the other issues Blair has pledged to solve, such as Third World debt and Palestine.
Considering his record on all of these issues, it would surely be better for everyone if Blair devoted his years out of office to things where he cannot damage other people or our environment. But Blair shouldn’t worry too much about climate change – it will be much hotter where he ends up.