Socialist Worker

Euro con from both sides

Issue No. 1853

EVERYONE SHOULD smell a rat when Rupert Murdoch's Sun claims to care about mass sackings of workers. Billionaire Murdoch is responsible for massacring many thousands of jobs in the print industry here and abroad. But Tuesday's Sun had the nerve to play on fears of redundancy in order to whip up pro George Bush hysteria over Europe.

The euro row for the mainstream media and politicians is a bitter feud between rival multimillionaires and the groupings that back them. This week they were obsessed with a proposed constitution for the European Union and whether to have a referendum on it.

The right wing papers, along with the Tories, are denouncing the constitution. They claim they are standing up for the rights of people in Britain. But the super-rich owners of the Mail, Telegraph and Sun don't give a damn about the rights of working people - they hate unions and have opposed every strike. The businessmen in Britain who back the Murdoch line say closer integration into Europe will give workers here TOO MANY rights.

As for democracy, all the euro-sceptic rabble backed the drive for war on Iraq even though most people in Britain were against it. The Sun let the truth slip when it claimed the new euro constitution will bring 'a European foreign minister who can order us not to support our American friends ever again'. Unfortunately, it won't mean that. And New Labour's defence of the constitution is that it doesn't give people any more rights.

The Blairites crow about the way they will continue to crack down on everything from pensions to people fleeing persecution. Both sides want to restrict the right of workers to take action over jobs and conditions. Millions of people across Europe have been forced to defend themselves against attacks on welfare.

Austria has seen its biggest national strike since 1945. Protests have swept Germany and strikes are threatened. France has seen a rising wave of strikes against its right wing government, with a possible general strike next week.

It is these struggles that show the real divide in Europe and in this country. They, and the Evian protests against George Bush and the G8 this weekend, show the hope for an alternative social Europe to the one both Rupert Murdoch and euro supporters like Peter Mandelson want.

We need some of this

BRITAIN HASN'T yet seen the same revolts as other European countries. But the same feeling against attacks on pensions and workers' rights exists here. Opposition to New Labour is growing. Last week the CWU union voted to kick out their pro-Blair deputy general secretary John Keggie.

The election result for general secretary of the TGWU union, Britain's second biggest union with 900,000 members, was set to be announced on Friday of this week.

All of the candidates have made an effort to distance themselves from Blair. That includes Jack Dromey, who wanted to be a New Labour MP in 1997 and was Blair's favoured candidate. Still the government feared a left wing candidate would win.

The feeling shown in union elections has to be transferred into a fight over pensions, better pay, privatisation and all the other issues that affect workers.

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Article information

What We Think
Sat 31 May 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1853
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