Socialist Worker

We need to build action

Issue No. 1717

what we think

We need to build action

THE TORY party conference in Bournemouth this week was a reminder, if any were needed, of why millions of people kicked that right wing rabble out three years ago.

On display at the conference was a mob of anti working class bigots and racists. The Tories can only get so much as a look in because New Labour has failed to take from the rich to give to public services and the poor. Politics in Britain is at a turning point. So much of what Blair says echoes the policies of the last Tory government.

The Labour Party conference votes to restore the link between pensions and earnings, which Margaret Thatcher scrapped. Blair and his chancellor Gordon Brown ignore the vote, set their faces against what millions of working class pensioners want, and Hague tries to build from the bitterness that creates.

That is why forces to the left of New Labour have to stand up to the government. There is huge support for the pensioners. The Daily Express is receiving 15,000 letters a day backing its campaign for higher pensions.

The Sunday Mirror got 100,000 letters in one week supporting its call for pensions to be linked to earnings. Restoring the link would give pensioners about �100 a week if it was backdated to make up for the robbery of the Tory years.

Most people support that policy. The Tories, New Labour's leaders and the Liberal Democrats oppose it. Mass protest and direct action are the only things that make the government listen to anyone but big business.

Everyone should support the call by the National Pensioners Convention for a lobby of parliament on Tuesday 7 November. And we should not wait till then. A dozen pensioners blocked traffic in Bury, Greater Manchester, recently and won huge public support (see page 14).

Protests like that should be happening in every town and city over pensions, and over other issues such as tuition fees for students, job losses and factory closures.

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Sat 7 Oct 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1717
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