LABOUR'S RULING national executive voted on Tuesday to smooth the way for Ken Livingstone's return to the party.
Blair wants Livingstone back to avoid another humiliating defeat for Labour in June's London mayor election. Perhaps he also hopes that Livingstone's readmission will help New Labour look more attractive to working people.
Such arguments show how rattled Blair is now. He is forced to plead for the return of a man he conspired against, denigrated and expelled. Left wing union leaders and many ordinary Labour members also want Livingstone back. But there were powerful forces against allowing Livingstone to return. They included Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, Charles Clarke, John Prescott, Hilary Armstrong and former leader Neil Kinnock.
Tuesday's decision was designed to ensure that no one is seen to be defeated. A sub-commitee will now decide on Livingtone's readmission. Even if Livingstone is allowed back there will still be big questions over who will write his manifesto for the mayoral election. Will he now have to submit to a programme dictated by Blair or will he come back on his own terms?
But there is a much bigger question-why would anyone want to be readmitted to Blair's Labour Party?
Livingstone's distance from the party led by war criminals, fanatical privatisers and refugee-bashers has simply made him more popular. The fact that Livingstone was ever driven out and that there has been such opposition to his return shows how rotten Labour is.
The fact that Livingstone wanted to get back in shows how we must redouble our efforts to create a viable electoral alternative to Labour to act as a focus for all those outraged by Blair.
Build opposition to New Labour
SUPPORT IS growing for two initiatives taken to build opposition to New Labour.
All members of the Socialist Workers Party are being encouraged to attend a party meeting in London on 11 January to discuss the exciting developments. People from across Britain are booking coaches to get to the National Convention on the 25 January, which will discuss forming a coalition to stand against New Labour in the elections scheduled for June next year.
And on 7 February there will be a Convention of the Trade Union Left which is attracting wide backing. Billy Hayes of the CWU postal workers' union is one of four general secretaries who will take part in the discussion. Latest sponsors include Manchester Piccadilly Aslef, Sheffield and District RMT, Newcastle Central Benefits PCS, Oxford CWU, Scottish Socialist Party, Mansfield and District TUC, Croydon NUT, TGWU 1/397 Gatwick Airport, Amicus Unity Gazette Manchester, Homerton University Hospital Unison, Brent Unison, and NUJ Central London Magazine.