Socialist Worker

Three parties converge on centre-right ground

Issue No. 1983

David Cameron, the new leader of the Tories, has already had an effect on British politics — his election has shifted all three main parties into competion over the centre?right political ground. That, rather than drink problems, was why Charles Kennedy was forced out of the Liberal Democrat leadership last week.

Under Kennedy the Lib Dems were seen by many as an alternative to both New Labour and the Tories on the single greatest issue of British politics—the Iraq war. Now the party is being urged to move right, softening its opposition to the war and adopting the economic and social policies championed by the right wing Lib Dem MPs who authored the Orange Book last year.

In Europe the Lib Dems’ sister parties are seen as much more right wing. It is not hard to see the Lib Dems entering into a coalition government with David Cameron or Gordon Brown — or even with both the main parties.

But as this convergence on centre?right ground increases the space on the left for a party that rejects the neo-liberal assault on the welfare state and speaks out consistently against the occupation of Iraq. Respect is the only force that can galvanise resistance to war and neo-liberalism.

Stop the war

High time to bring the war criminals to book

General Michael Rose, the former commander of UN forces in Bosnia, this week called on parliament to impeach Tony Blair over his decision to go to war in Iraq. He is right to do so. Blair lied about the reasons for war, and should he held to account for his lies.

But Blair’s crimes go much deeper than his serial deceptions over WMD. The occupation of Iraq has systematically involved war crimes.That is why Tony Benn’s initiative calling on the UN to investigate those responsible for violating the Geneva Conventions in Iraq is so important.

Benn and 43 other signatories wrote to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan last month, providing extensive evidence of breaches of human rights conventions in Iraq. Annan’s office has now passed the case on to the UN’s high commissioner for human rights.

All our readers should contact the Stop the War Coalition to add their names to Benn’s letter and encourage friends and workmates to do the same. Bush and Blair are more than liars — they are war criminals and must go down in history as such.

Imperialism in Africa

The DRC war is fuelled by Western interests

A system which encourages war and puts profits before people produces horrific results. A report in the Lancet medical journal last week showed that 38,000 people are dying each month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Most of the deaths are caused by malnutrition and preventable diseases after the collapse of health services. Some four million people have died since war began in the DRC in 1998.

UN intervention by 17,000 troops has paused some of the fighting, but done nothing to stem the carnage from other factors. DRC has been torn apart by militias supported by the West’s favoured states in the region. Multinationals, including British firms, have conspired with warlords to extract mineral wealth at whatever cost. This is the world Bush and Blair preside over.

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What We Think
Sat 14 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1983
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