Socialist Worker

Attacked from within the party

Issue No. 1709

Attacked from within the party

'New Labour's a fraud'

BITTERNESS and disillusionment with the government is growing-inside the Labour Party as well as more generally. Bob Thomson was Labour Party treasurer in Scotland from 1994 to 1999. He was at the centre of the party as Tony Blair pushed through his New Labour "reforms". He has been a Labour Party activist for 37 years and is still a member. Now, in an explosive newspaper article, Bob Thomson says, "New Labour is a fraud. It has no moral base and no principle except self preservation. That is why its champions are terrified of internal and external debate, which would expose it. It has demoralised and demotivated Labour Party members and alienated our core supporters. People join political parties to change society. When they cannot do this they vote with their feet. Between 20 percent and 30 percent have left Scottish Labour in the last two years. Millbank, Labour's HQ, has not published membership figures in over two years to cover their embarrassment. Our remaining members are not turning out to campaign at elections. If New Labour cannot keep its own party members, how does it expect to retain its core supporters? Those supporters did not vote for a continuation of Tory spending cuts, nothing on the state pension, and the privatisation of hospitals, schools, public services, public housing, air traffic control and prisons. On employment rights, despite welcome improvements, British workers are the worst off in the European Union. Scottish voters rejected Tory policies in increasing numbers for 19 years. They don't want more of the same."

Bob Thomson's message would be echoed by great swathes of Labour members, Labour voters and trade unionists. For all the hype and bluster from New Labour, people know that the NHS is still grossly underfunded, that fat cats from private firms are getting their paws on more and more public services, and that the government listens far more to businessmen than trade unionists. Growing numbers of people also see that the capitalist policies which New Labour supports are part of a system which means war, poverty and starvation.

This week the toll of children who have died because money is spent on debt repayments rather than health and education reached four million. On 26 September there will be major protest in Prague in the Czech Republic against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. There will be solidarity activity across the world.

There will be events in every major British city and, on 24 September in Brighton, a counter-conference to New Labour's gathering. We urge all our readers to be part of building the resistance, to make sure the feeling against New Labour and the destruction which capitalism brings is directed towards hope and not despair, towards a positive socialist alternative and not brutal scapegoating.

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Sat 12 Aug 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1709
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