The women's TUC conference in Eastbourne last week saw anger at New Labour. Alongside the leading figures who spoke out against the government many ordinary delegates also echoed the feelings of anger at New Labour. Nancy Coull from Unison said, 'This is my message to the government.
'You made promises to us. Time is running out, and so is our patience. Ditch your plans for the private sector in public services.' Megan Dobney from the GPMU alluded to whether unions should back MPs who do not represent union policy: 'I welcome the postal workers' CWU demonstration. There are also other routes to putting on the pressure. There should be coherent pressure on MPs who take our unions' names to tell them you are not going to use it if you don't share our core principles.'
Many delegates also took the opportunity to speak out against Bush and Blair's war drive in a debate on women's rights in Afghanistan. Ruth Winters, vice-president of the FBU, added to her earlier criticism of the war. 'If we want to support the women in Iraq then we should stop bombing these poor people,' she said.
'You call it humanitarian while still creating casualties? We must speak up as Bush, with Tony Blair's backing, is going towards attacking Iraq.'