Socialist Worker

Demand a change of policy as well as leader from Labour

by Chris Nineham, Stop the War Coalition officer (pc)
Issue No. 2051

Anti-war protesters in Gillingham, Kent, made their feelings clear to Gordon Brown last week (Pic: Sophie Jongman)

Anti-war protesters in Gillingham, Kent, made their feelings clear to Gordon Brown last week (Pic: Sophie Jongman)

The media has done its best to bury the consequences of the invasion of Iraq in its coverage of Tony Blair’s resignation.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson even claimed that Blair leaves without being forced out and with “a smile on his face”.

In fact Blair is leaving early and in disgrace.

He has been brought down by the disaster in Iraq and by the unrelenting pressure of the anti-war movement.

A recent poll published in the Observer newspaper showed that 71 percent of the British population think Blair’s performance as prime minister was poor or very poor.

A clear majority think Iraq was his biggest failure.

Whatever tricks the spin doctors try, Iraq will be Blair’s legacy.

The leadership changeover gives the movement a chance to bring the war back centre stage and press for troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and a total break with the US’s foreign policy.

Hopefully there will be an anti-war candidate in any Labour leadership election, although this was not clear as Socialist Worker went to press.

In any case there will be a series of leadership rallies around the country and a special conference to announce the new leader in Manchester on Sunday 24 June. For details see the column on the left.

It is up to us to break the media silence and make sure that wherever Labour’s future is being discussed anti-war opinion is at the forefront.

Local Stop the War groups have already started organising lobbies of the leadership meetings.

The Stop the War Coalition has also called a protest at the special conference in Manchester.

We want to make it crystal clear to the new prime minister that far from falling off, anti-war feeling in the country is stronger and deeper than ever.

Activists need to start building up the pressure now.

The first step is to take Stop the War’s open letter to the new prime minister round workplaces, colleges and communities.

It’s particularly important to get Labour MPs, councillors and members to sign.

There is dismay about Iraq inside the Labour Party.

We want delegations of trade unionists and from mosques and colleges, school students and military families, outside every single leadership meeting demanding a change of policy not just of leader.

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Article information

Tue 15 May 2007, 18:31 BST
Issue No. 2051
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