BLAIR’S two defeats are a reflection of the movements outside Labour’s conference.
Socialist Worker went to press before the vote on the Iraq war, but it was clear that the unions were capable of inflicting another major defeat.
Last year Blair made sure that Iraq was not even debated at the conference.
Today the chaos in Iraq and the strength of the anti-war movement mean that the issue can no longer be kept out.
But the Labour leadership have made it clear that party policy towards Iraq will not change. Nor will they act on the vote over rail renationalisation.
The movements outside Labour’s conference are the force that can win real change.
There has been a terrible delay in the fight to save jobs at Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry.
Instead of calling a national demonstration in the city, union officials have wasted the week meeting John Prescott and Patricia Hewitt.
Civil service workers also face massive job losses. Their PCS union is balloting for a national strike on Friday 5 November.
The decision of the Natfhe lecturers’ union to ballot for strikes on the same day is a welcome sign (see page 15).
Coordinated action over jobs will increase the pressure on Blair, as will the international anti-war demonstration at the end of the European Social Forum on Sunday 17 October.
The Respect coalition will challenge Labour at the polls.
One of those targeted will be east London MP Oona King. She sums up everything wrong with New Labour.
King backed the war on Iraq even though the vast majority of her constituents opposed it.
At Labour’s conference she spoke in favour of privatising council housing.
By challenging New Labour on all these fronts we can intensify the crisis Blair, King and all their cronies face.