Socialist Worker

We need class anger, not consensus politics

Issue No. 2067

Gordon Brown says he wants a “politics of consensus, not division”. He says, “Britain needs a new type of politics which embraces everyone in this nation, not just a select few.”

Consensus for Brown seems to mean bringing every jobless Tory and business boss he can lay his hands on into government.

The richest 10 percent of the population now control more than half the wealth of the country. Their wealth comes directly from keeping the rest of us poor. We don’t need to “embrace” the rich – we need to take our money back.

The Labour Party used to claim it represented the poor, it claimed it would usher in a slightly fairer and more decent society without changing anything too fast. Brown has given up on that and claims New Labour represents “the nation”.

Brown says he is “fed up with confrontational politics”. He isn’t – he’s scared of confrontational politics. What he is most scared of is the poor getting organised and fighting back.

The only logical response to that is to turn the growing wrath over inequality in Britain into open confrontation with Brown and the bosses he is so keen to defend.


Pakistan

The presidents return

The White House believes that Pakistan’s President Musharraf may have outlived his usefulness, and that perhaps a new leader must be found.

His slavish support for the US “war on terror” created massive discontent – both in the army, and among the poor. Attempts to crackdown on the judiciary by sacking a leading judge backfired spectacularly.

But despite support for the US being Musharraf’s undoing, it is George Bush who is brokering a candidate to replace him.

Former Pakistani presidents Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are both vying for Washington’s backing. “It’s very simple,” says Sharif. “We’re all against terror.”

But this fight against terror sees Pakistan look the other way as US missiles rain down on its villages and its citizens are “disappeared” by CIA operatives. And Pakistan’s army is reduced to a proxy for the US on the borders of Afghanistan – all of which adds to the popular appeal of the Islamist parties.

By accepting the backing of the US, any future president accepts a poisoned chalice.


Deaths in custody

Real criminal scandal

There were calls this week for the age of criminalisation – currently ten years in England and Wales – to be lowered.

But two recent tragedies should remind us of the brutal results of criminalising young people.

Lancashire County Council released a damning report this week into the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood – the youngest person to die in custody in Britain. Adam hanged himself just hours after being forcibly restrained with a sharp blow to the nose.

In July, a coroner released a scathing report into the death of 15 year old Gareth Myatt who choked on his own vomit after being forcibly restrained for refusing to go to bed.

Britain already locks up more children, from a younger age, than most countries in Europe. This is the real scandal of a system that criminalises young people instead of caring for them.


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What We Think
Tue 4 Sep 2007, 18:44 BST
Issue No. 2067
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