Socialist Worker

New Labour crisis: time for new politics, not just a different face

Issue No. 2018

When Tony Blair is driven away from Downing Street, his policies should go with him. The end of Blair should also mean the end of Blairism.

The end of Blair’s rule is a chance to say no to his real legacy of imperialist war, privatisation, stolen liberties, shrunken democracy and putting profits before people.

There are millions of people who want to see Blairism buried. A poll last week suggested that he is now more unpopular than Margaret Thatcher was at the same stage in her premiership.

But the main contenders for Labour’s leadership are certainly not talking about a radical reversal of Blair’s direction. They will seek to implement the essentials of Blairism with a different face.

And the Tories and the Lib Dems will offer the same.

Gordon Brown underlined his commitment to a smooth transition for imperialism last week when he wrote an article in Rupert Murdoch’s Sun stressing his unwavering unity with the US in the “war on terror”.

The worst move now is rushing to back Brown - as Derek Simpson, leader of the Amicus union has done. To truly break with Blair we need a political alternative to New Labour and support for all struggles against imperialism and for working class interests.


Afghanistan

More to the firing line

The British government has said it will send another 2,000 troops to Afghanistan to combat the growing resistance there.

Almost five years since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, Nato troops are in a full-blown war. The US is appealing for 2,500 more troops to smash the resistance.

Unsurprisingly, considering the high level of casualties and continuing chaos in the country, many of the Nato countries do not want to send any more troops.

Afghans have taken Garmser district, which is only 30 miles from a British base, twice in the last two months.

Despite this a senior British defence source has said, “If they [Nato countries] don’t send, then we will. We have soldiers and helicopters we can send to Afghanistan.”

It is time to bring the troops home, not to send more.


London Transport

Fares very unfair

The man who championed the Fares Fair campaign in the early 1980s to make transport in London more affordable has now announced that the cost of a single tube journey in central London will rise from £3 to £4.

The cost of travelling one stop on the tube will have quadrupled in two years.

Livingstone says that fares on pre-paid Oyster cards will stay lower. But many people, such as visitors from outside London and from abroad, don’t know about these cards, or are put off by the form filling required.

At the same time Livingstone is pushing privatisation plans for the East London Line.

In the last year “Red Ken” has defended the police over the killing of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and the shooting of Mohammed Abdul Kahar during the Forest Gate raid. Just how far will he go?


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Article information

What We Think
Sat 16 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2018
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