Socialist Worker

Labour conference: Policies and personalities are linked

Issue No. 2120

The phrase “We should be talking about policies not personalities,” has become the mantra of Labour left wingers when questioned on Gordon Brown’s leadership.

Left wing MP John McDonnell is a lone voice in refusing to pledge support for Brown.

It is understandable that people would not wish to associate themselves with arch-right wing Labour MPs like Charles Clarke but the answer is a cop out.

Brown was a key architect of New Labour. Any differences he had with Tony Blair were not about policies. He is continuing with Blair’s pro-free market and pro-war agenda.

As things stand, New Labour faces decimation at the next general election because of discontent with its policies.

The issue then will be whether or how to rebuild the party – and in what direction.

The left needs to be in a position to offer a way forward from the wreckage.

But the left, along with many trade union leaders, has stressed the need to stay in the party and “reclaim” Labour.

This put the interests of Labour before the needs of working people, who have traditionally looked to the party as a shield to protect them from the excesses of capitalism.

They left must break from this slavish loyalty to Labour in order to fight Brown’s pay freeze, future curbs on welfare spending and his pro-war policies.

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