Socialist Worker

John McDonnell: 'Labour is disconnected'

John McDonnell spoke to Socialist Worker about being kept off the ballot for the Labour leadership election.

Issue No. 2206

John McDonnell

John McDonnell

‘What this has demonstrated is the disconnection of the parliamentary Labour Party—not just with the Labour and trade union movement—but with the wider working class community.

We are all facing the most important struggle for 30 years against the Tory coalition government’s cuts onslaught.

I wanted to use the leadership contest as part of building up the alliances we need for the resistance necessary to take on those cuts.

The parliamentary Labour Party is of a different make up than even ten years ago. Many of the left MPs have stood down.

The new MPs are career MPs—very few have come through the traditional roots, through the working class movement.

Real politics will take place outside of parliament. I think it will be in the struggles, defending public services, community struggles and trade union fights.

That extra parliamentary struggle will mean that the parliamentary party will have to respond. It will be a test for the new MPs, to see if they rise to the occasion.

But there are other tests too. I am putting forward a private member’s bill on trade union rights.

As we have seen in the current BA cabin crew dispute and many other recent disputes, employers have been able to exploit a legal loophole.

Minor technical errors in union ballots for industrial action can be used to frustrate the democratic decisions of workers.

This is an opportunity to use parliament to expose the injustice of the anti-union laws.

But also to highlight the vitally important struggle of BA cabin crew.

They are standing up to a boss that wants to smash union organisation to send a message to the wider working class movement.’

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Article information

Tue 15 Jun 2010, 18:43 BST
Issue No. 2206
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