HAVING FAILED to persuade us over the war in Iraq, Tony Blair is turning to the politics of fear to drum up votes for New Labour.
The Queen’s Speech on Tuesday this week set out a diet of “crackdowns” on drugs, organised crime and terrorism.
Promises of decent schools, jobs and hospitals have been junked in favour of a relentlessly negative right wing agenda.
New Labour whips up fears over Muslims, asylum seekers and young people. Yet the real insecurities we face are all of Blair’s making. It was his disastrous decision to sign up for George Bush’s global war that has made the world today such a dangerous place.
It is his devotion to neo-liberal dogma that has led to rising inequality and deteriorating opportunities for ordinary people.
And it is his insistence on slashing and privatising public services that has ripped communities apart and thrown them on the scrapheap.
Blair tears up the fabric of our lives with one hand, then offers us extra “security” measures with the other.
The wholesale assault on our civil rights trailed by home secretary David Blunkett last week fits in with this pattern of fear and hysteria.
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are to be extended to allow the police to imprison “terror suspects” on flimsy or non-existent evidence. Special “terror courts” will bypass the need for juries.
And all of this will be underpinned by an Orwellian ID card scheme that will police our identities through a central National Identity Register.
Every time Blair shifts to the right he opens up a space to his left.
We have to fill that space by building the Respect coalition as a genuine alternative to New Labour’s litany of lies and scare stories.