Socialist Worker

Chasing funds from millionaires… New Labour is up for sale

by Michael Lavalette, Preston Respect councillor
Issue No. 2079

Got a spare million for Labour? montage

Got a spare million for Labour? montage

This is a government which touts for cash from big business – and a government which acts on behalf of big business.

The Labour Party was founded to represent working people. Funding came from trade unionists and subscriptions collected from its members.

The New Labour project, in contrast, centres on breaking the party’s connections to unions and the working class.

First Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown want to move towards being a pro-business party, like the Democrats in the US.

That requires reducing the party’s dependence on trade union funding – and is one reason why both Blair and Brown have courted big business.

In doing so they have come to face a harsh reality – the rich are not that generous. As New Labour became more desperate for corporate cash, it started to cut corners.

Some £600,000 in donations came from property developer David Abraham, but was granted in the name of his ­associates in order to shield his name. That in itself was illegal.

On the day news broke of the illegal funding, Brown was addressing the CBI bosses’ organisation.

He promised that the privatisation of public services “will continue to grow” and boasted of holding down public sector wages and reducing pension payments.

In Labour-run Preston there is a development plan for the city centre that benefits corporate interests above all, and attempts to hand over a local health centre to Netcare UK, a South African multinational.

New Labour’s business backers are getting good value for their money. But ordinary trade unionists are not. It’s no surprise that they are asking why their leaders still insist on giving a blank cheque to Brown’s New Labour.

Working people desperately need a party to represents their interests. Here in Preston, that is what Respect is creating.

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Article information

Tue 27 Nov 2007, 18:48 GMT
Issue No. 2079
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