By Patrick Ward
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 320

La Hain

This article is over 14 years, 1 months old
"The party can only win the election by putting forward radical socialist policies," claimed a Labour MP in the October 1994 issue of Socialist Review.
Issue 320

“It’s not just a demand from the left; it’s an essential prerequisite for victory.”

How times change. Peter Hain (for it was he), now work and pensions secretary in the Brown cabinet, has had plenty of opportunity to push such policies through government. His latest contribution has been to declare his intention to snatch incapacity benefits from one million people, forcing them into jobs which otherwise might be occupied by migrant workers.

“It’s not like the old Tory years in the 1980s and 1990s when there were no jobs available: the jobs are there,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. He then echoed Gordon Brown’s recent obsession with British jobs for British people: “There are 660,000 vacancies in the British economy today. My mission is to get British benefit claimants becoming British workers into British jobs” (and, apparently, to get the word “British” into sentences as frequently as grammatically possible).

The logical reading of this argument is that the jobs available in the economy are being taken by foreigners (who do want to work) when they should be taken by those with disabilities (who are unable to work). Had Hain mentioned Madeleine McCann in his interview he could have been mistaken for a copy of the Daily Express.

It is truly a sad day when the Tories feel they can attack people like Hain and Brown and appear to be on the left. During a recent parliamentary debate David Cameron claimed – correctly – that it is illegal to give employment precedence to British nationals over those from the EU, and that Brown’s rhetoric must therefore be a thinly veiled attempt to attract voters away from the far right by co-opting their rhetoric.

Cameron proceeded to hold up two leaflets bearing the headlines “British jobs for British workers” (from the British National Party) and “Keep British jobs for British workers” (National Front) before alleging them to be the source of inspiration for Brown and Co.

What a shame that the likes of Peter Hain have resorted to dredging the gutter for their “radical socialist policies”.

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