Socialist Worker

Look to our own strength, not the Labour Party

Issue No. 2410

The rows in the Labour Party keep coming. The latest criticism came from Labour’s policy chief Jon Cruddas this week.

He laid into the “dead hand at the centre” of the party that puts out “cynical nuggets to chime with our focus groups”, rather than advocating radical policies. 

Now, what Cruddas considers radical isn’t what Socialist Worker considers radical. But he has a point. 

When the man in charge of reviewing policy attacks the policy review, you know there’s something up.

Only a handful of MPs turned up to the annual parliamentary Labour Party dinner in the House of Commons last week. 

Across all the factions—from “new” to “blue”—disappointment is turning to moaning. The poll leads are narrowing and Labour seems to be floundering.

The Unite union has announced that it would fund the party’s general election campaign. 

The money came with the usual insistence that the leader should ignore the “siren voices” urging him to implement “austerity lite”. 

Union leaders are angry at Labour—but they still want a Labour government above all. So the money will no doubt come anyway.

It’s wrong to accuse Labour of having no economic plan—they do, but it’s a Tory one.

Competitive

On Monday of this week Ed Balls promised to make Britain a “great place to do business”, with a competitive tax regime. 

He laid out a future where the party puts through cuts and pays more attention to immigration—and not to the benefit of the migrants.

Labour peer Lord Adonis popped up to encourage growth. His idea was big councils rather than small ones. This is yet another way of claiming to improve things without spending money.

Austerity has produced much pain and bitterness among ordinary people. There is anger at the wealthy elite.

And instead of tapping into that anger, Labour leader Ed Miliband switches between ineptitude and caution. 

As such he embodies the current state of the Labour Party. 

His posing with the Sun newspaper was more memorable than his questioning of David Cameron in parliament over the hacking scandal.

Cruddas is fond of quoting cultural critic Raymond Williams who argued that “to be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing”.

That won’t come from a commitment to “balance the books”.  

Nor will it come from wallowing in a racist anti-immigrant consensus.

Hope is possible by looking at the potential of ordinary people to collectively resist. 

That means looking to our own strength as organised workers rather than the promises, or lack of them, from the Labour Party. 


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