Socialist Worker

The 'new front' Blair fears in the New Year

Issue No. 1981

Explaining the government’s decision to reconsider how far it can attack incapacity benefit, a government minister told the Financial Times, “To open up another front now would be mad.”

He added that Downing Street faced a hard fight over education and health “reforms” and could not afford another confrontation. And then there is the other front they dare not talk about—in Iraq.

If Tony Blair is forced to back off from one part of his “radical” third term agenda then the whole programme can be rolled back.

In Ireland trade unions suffer under anti-union laws as bad as those which exist here. That did not stop them calling a national demonstration which the rank and file turned into an effective mass strike.

We need to start 2006 agitating for a national demonstration against attacks on pensions, held on a working day.

Given that call, every activist could take the matter further and open up a real prospect of inflicting defeat on Blair’s plans to savage the welfare state.

Britain's grand coalition leaves space for radicals

In Germany the equivalents of the British Conservative and Labour parties have embraced in a governing coalition designed to push through attacks on workers.

New Tory leader David Cameron has a vision of something similar here, with his party enabling Blair to push through assaults on health and education, even if Labour backbenchers are against them.

“The first issue that the prime minister and I will have to work together on is getting the good bits of his education reforms through the House of Commons and into law,” he said during his first speech after his election.

Such moves would probably spell the end for Blair, but privately there is no doubt he often finds himself more in tune with Cameron than with many Labour MPs.

This is the “grand coalition” of British politics.

But it’s not the only one. Sections of the Liberal Democrats have indicated they can foresee working with the Tories in a future parliament.

As the main parties cohere around a neo-liberal agenda, the space left for Respect has never been greater.

Where did you get your money, Mr Fat Cat?

It's not often that Socialist Worker finds merit in a New Labour proposal.

But we’ve been taken by aspects of Tony Blair’s latest scheme for the police to stop anyone with £1,000 or more in their pocket and force them to tell the authorities where they got it from.

What with the annual City bonuses bonanza and the posh Christmas party season upon us, we look forward to plod smashing their way into the Institute of Directors building and associated dens of iniquity and parting the guests from their wallets.

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What We Think
Sat 17 Dec 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1981
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