Socialist Worker

New forces that can bury warmonger

Issue No. 1885

IF TONY Blair survives the next week as prime minister it will be down to one thing-the spinelessness of Labour MPs.

At New Labour's conference these MPs sing the Red Flag, with its line about "while cowards flinch".

They are now flinching. If those MPs who oppose top-up fees voted against them in parliament next Tuesday evening Blair would lose. His authority shattered, the Hutton report on the death of scientist David Kelly could finish Blair the following day.

But more and more Labour MPs are diving for cover. "We can't risk bringing down Blair," they whine. Much of the establishment, political commentators and newspapers push the same miserable argument.

On Monday the Daily Mirror forgot its opposition to Blair's fees plan and war. "Don't Topple Tony" was the headline on its full page editorial.

Why the hell not, millions in Britain will reply.

Blair is a warmonger who lied to and defied the majority of people in Britain to wage a murderous war on and occupation of Iraq. Blair plans to dash the hopes of working class families for their children to go to college. His top-up fees mean students will face a lifetime of crushing debt.

Blair should go, and go now.

Every MP who votes to save him next week is voting for more privatisation, more attacks on working people, and more bloody wars alongside George Bush.

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on Labour MPs if we want to see the back of Blair and his regime. The enormous movement against the war has given a glimpse of the people power that can sink Blair. Many people in the movement are coming together to forge a political alternative to challenge New Labour at the polls.

On Sunday that coalition is to be launched at a national convention in London. Everyone sickened at Blair should be part of that coalition, and work to build it into a powerful force.

Across Britain there are also increasingly bright flashes of another force that can challenge New Labour and the corporate bosses. The grind of low pay, longer hours and bullying bosses is fuelling an anger which is breaking through. The postal workers' successful walkouts late last year have been the most visible sign of the new militancy.

But the mood is there in job centres and benefit offices, where civil servants could stage national strikes next week. Leaf through the pages of this issue of Socialist Worker and the same feeling is evident elsewhere.

It is by looking to and organising with all these forces that we can finish Blair-whatever happens in parliament next week.

Fees money is at top

THE CHEEK of Blair and the political establishment is breathtaking. In 2004, in the fourth richest country in the world, they tell us the money isn't there to fund free education.

Some basic arithmetic exposes Blair. He claims top-up fees are needed to raise around £1 billion a year which universities need. If students don't pay through fees he says that money would have to be cut from other important areas, like nurseries or primary schools.

Yet his government, which now pleads poverty, has earmarked £6.3 billion for wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He and his chancellor Gordon Brown have slashed corporation tax on company profits. Businesses in Britain paid £5.5 billion less in tax last year than they did in 2000.

A 50 percent tax rate, instead of the current 40 percent, on the 4 percent of people in Britain who get more than £50,000 a year would raise £8 billion a year. This could not only ensure free higher education for every student. It could go a very long way to giving us the schools, hospitals, transport system and pensions we need.

Join the NUS demonstration against the fees at 12 noon outside parliament on Tuesday 27 January.

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What We Think
Sat 24 Jan 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1885
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