Socialist Worker

More than spin is at stake

Issue No. 1704

What we think

More than spin is at stake

Knives are out in Blair's circle

"FOLLETTED." That is the only way to describe Tony Blair's knifing at the hands of author and New Labour fundraiser Ken Follett. Blair then got a pasting two days after he floated his laughable plan to get police to march drunks off to cashpoints.

Follett was the man who paved the way for Blair in the early 1990s through massive fundraising. His wife, MP Barbara Follett, was brought in to remodel Labour MPs to look like City businessmen and women. "How will Tony Blair be remembered? Possibly as the prime minister who made malicious gossip an everyday tool of British government," fumed Ken Follett.

He ripped apart spin doctors and those "who whisper the poison into the ears of journalists" for briefing against ministers like Mo Mowlam. Follett struck home when he said that Blair worked in a moral and political vacuum, and had no "inner core of strong convictions".

It is this which has defined Blair's New Labour project-a complete abandonment of any socialist convictions and a wholehearted embrace of the free market. Yet when it comes to the question of policy, Blair and Follett have little to argue about.

The real reason the Blair project is coming apart at the seams is not because of the spin doctors, but because millions feel betrayed by New Labour. It is Blair's Tory policies, the lack of investment in health, in schools, in local services and in housing, the insecurity people feel when threatened with job losses, and the gap between the rich and the poor that is fuelling anger and bitterness.

It may be fun to see the Blairites knifing each other, but there is a danger that the Tories and the far right can rush into the political vacuum. That is why there is an urgent need for socialists to campaign amongst all those ordinary Labour supporters and voters who feel angry with Blair.

Protest as Ford bosses sip champagne

AROUND 150 Ford workers from Dagenham, along with union officials, joined a lobby of parliament last week as part of the campaign to save the plant from closure. They were met by Labour MP John Cryer (kneeling). Ford bosses held a luxury champagne reception for MPs at the House of Commons on the same day.

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Sat 8 Jul 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1704
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