Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2341

You can have any Labour you like – as long as it’s right wing

This article is over 10 years, 9 months old
There’s a battle on for the soul of the Labour Party—and both sides deserve to lose.
Issue 2341
You can have any Labour you like - as long as it's right wing

There’s a battle on for the soul of the Labour Party—and both sides deserve to lose.

The opening shots came from former union leader Alan Johnson. He wants Labour to cut its ties to the trade unions that founded it and still provide most of its money and members

He moaned that the “fat, white, finger-jabbing blokes on rostrums shouting and screaming” were ungrateful for what the Blairites had done for them.

So what else could Ed Miliband and his policy chief Jon Cruddas do? Last week they gave the working class exactly what they thought we wanted to hear. And they seem to have decided that we’re all a bit racist.

Cruddas dusted off his increasingly tired Blue Labour pitch for a party that appeals to the ideas of “family and home” and “pride in our country”.

He called for “respect for our traditions and culture”, warning that Britain had been “changed by immigration” and this “created intense pressures and anxieties in people’s lives”.

Labour columnists got very excited by Miliband’s speech in Bedford last Thursday—most of it going on about how brilliant the 19th century was.

They congratulated him for nicking a Lib Dem policy to tax people with mansions.

It didn’t seem to trouble them that the closest Labour comes to the redistribution of wealth is tailing the Liberals it was set up to replace.

Fewer noticed when David Cameron returned the favour, calling for restrictions on immigrants’ access to welfare.

“We’re not tough enough right now about people who come from the other side of the world,” he said.

“They haven’t contributed their taxes, they should pay when they use the NHS.”

It’s exactly the same argument Miliband used last month, when he felt that it was yet again time to apologise for Labour being too soft on immigrants.

“Of course that’s an issue that should be looked at,” he said, “the length of entitlement to benefits and how quickly people can get them.”

So much for opposition.

Vultures circle body of dead woman

Right wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch last week speculated that the Sun might soon get rid of the soft porn on its Page 3.

But within days the paper reminded the world how low its other pages could stoop in terms of objectifying women.

Its cover story was the killing of model Reeva Steenkamp by her athlete boyfriend.

It struggled to fit the victim’s name on the page—but there was plenty of space for a full length shot of her in a bikini.

The Mirror’s website went one further with an almost naked photo on its website.

A murder is bad news—but not for the creeps who run the sexist British media.

The papers that every day publish long lens shots of female celebrities raged at the Australian mag that ran photos of Duchess Kate in her bikini.

It seems it’s fine to exploit images of women’s bodies without consent—but only when they don’t belong to the royals.

Cops ran checks on their mates illegally

Cops and police staff in Wales broke the data protection act more than 62 times in the past two years.

Four were sacked and 18 resigned for misusing police data.

They were caught running checks on their partners, family and friends, as well as altering their own records and passing data to third parties.

Privateer to look at health regulation

Guess who the Tories have appointed to look at regulation and training for healthcare assistants after the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS?

Camilla Cavendish was formerly a management consultant for McKinsey, one of the first firms to cash in on the Tories’ NHS carve-up.

She also worked as an aide to the boss of Pearson—the company that set up a private college to issue its own degrees.

So no doubt she’ll pull no punches in taking on the effects of privatisation in the NHS.

Cameron’s new musical fans

Looks like David Cameron has finally found musicians sad enough to pose with him—boy band One Direction.

Cameron’s favourites Radiohead and The Smiths banned him from their music.

And when Cameron said he liked The Jam’s song The Eton Rifles, singer Paul Weller asked “Which part of it didn’t he get? It wasn’t intended as a fucking jolly drinking song for the cadet corps.”

Pensioners go without benefits

Some £3 billion is going spare in the benefits system for pensioners—as more and more old people miss out on pension credits.

The number of pensioners going without the benefits they are eligible for has increased since 2010.

Now one in five of those eligible claim nothing at all—and less than half claim all they are entitled to.

Does Tesco use armbands to spy on staff?

Tesco makes its workers in Ireland wear electronic armbands—which they say are used to monitor them.

Bosses insist the devices are just a labour-saving way to scan stock.

But one worker told the press that they are scored based on time recordings from their armbands.

Workers lose points for taking too long to pick up an order, or going to the toilet at the wrong time.They can then be hauled in front of the bosses.

“The guys who made the scores were sweating buckets and throwing stuff around the place,” the whistleblower said.

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance