Socialist Worker

Do us a favour

Issue No. 1739

What we think

Do us a favour

NEW LABOUR persecutes people fleeing war and poverty across the world who end up as refugees in Britain. But it bends over backwards to do favours for the rich, arms dealers and corrupt businessmen.

This is what has been exposed in the whitewash report that "cleared" Peter Mandelson and Keith Vaz. Mandelson tried to smooth the way for passport applications by the Hinduja brothers. The Foreign Office had warned that "the Hinduja brothers sailed close to the wind in building their business empire".

It was obvious to MI6 and anyone reading the newspapers that the Hinduja brothers were involved in "dubious practices" and potentially "criminal behaviour" in an arms scandal in India. They wanted British passports to escape prosecution. Mandelson's only complaint, notes the pro New Labour Observer, is that "his head has been stuck on a spike when so many others remain in office". Tony Blair, for one, was at the Hinduja's glittering Diwali party.

New Labour minister Keith Vaz is a lesser fish. Yet the report into his conduct uncovers a world where money buys favours and cover-ups are the norm. New Labour seems to be determined to match the Tories in sleaze and favours for the rich.

That is why a growing number of trade unionists are right to debate whether their unions should be giving their money to this "bought by business" outfit. They are right to look to giving money instead to the Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party, which are standing against the rich and big business.


Deadly mates

IMAGINE THE outcry if an international drugs dealer gave money to fund an academic institution, had it named after them, and senior politicians helped them clear any hurdles. Wafic Said is such a merchant of death, only instead of drugs he makes money from arms.

This billionaire arms broker has built a business school named after himself in Oxford. He is a friend of Peter Mandelson and has close links with the brother of Tony Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell. An Oxford planning official wrote of coming "under pressure from the prime minister's office" over Said's planning application. You can draw your own conclusions.


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News
Sat 17 Mar 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1739
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