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From: The Socialist issue 453, 15 June 2008: Fighting back against attacks on NHS

Search site for keywords: Tony Blair - Labour - MPs - CNWP - Gordon Brown

Blair - time to go:

Campaign for a new workers' party

TONY BLAIR and his coterie live in a fantasy world. Blair is now one of the most hated prime ministers in history, yet his closest advisers have drawn up a plan for him to depart after May 2007, saying that "he needs to go with the crowds wanting more. He should be the star who won't even play that last encore."

Hannah Sell

The fact that the crowds long-since started booing and throwing rotten fruit seems to have totally passed the clique at 10 Downing Street by. Blair's approval ratings are down to 23% but still he clings to power.

His refusal to announce when he will stand down as prime minister is infuriating Labour MPs. It is rumoured that a majority of the MPs elected in 2001, who are predominantly ultra-loyalist Blairites, have written a letter demanding Blair goes, or at least sets a date for his departure.

However, it is not a newfound anger at Blair's anti-working class politics that is riling them - most are motivated purely by a desperate desire to save their own careers. It is fear of a disaster in the local authority, Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly elections taking place next May that is rallying Labour MPs to try and push Blair out.

This government is one of the most unpopular in history. However, New Labour MPs are making a mistake if they imagine that getting rid of Blair will make them popular.

It is true that Blair has become a hate figure, but it is the cuts and closures in the NHS, the privatisation of public services and the nightmare of Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon which are the fundamental reasons New Labour is so unpopular.

Working-class people don't want a return to the hated Tories, but nor do they want a continuation of New Labour and its pro-big business policies. As a result more people abstained than voted for the winning party in the last general election.

Gordon Brown remains the most likely candidate to replace Blair as Labour leader. However, as he repeatedly makes clear, his leadership would not represent a 'shift to the left'. In the last nine years he has been Chancellor in a government which has presided over an ever increasing gap between rich and poor.

Look at the city fat cats who have just received record bonuses of 19 billion while 12 million people are living below the poverty line. In the last months he has given a taste of what his prime ministership would be like by announcing a new generation of Trident nuclear missiles and his intention to impose a pay freeze on public sector workers. Even if Brown is not elected, any candidate with a chance of victory in fat-cat friendly New Labour will have policies that are substantially the same.

Working-class people in England and Wales desperately need a party that represents their interests - a party that stands up for the millions not the millionaires. That is why the Socialist Party has initiated the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP).

So far, more than 2,500 trade union and community representatives have signed the declaration for a new party. As the Labour Party conference starts in Manchester the CNWP will be holding its own rally entitled, "New Labour = cuts, privatisation and war - Time for a new workers' party".

To find out more go to www.cnwp.org.uk.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 15 June 2008

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