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Friday, 14 May 2010

The Liberal-Conservative Coalition is but a Continuation of New Labour

We Should Celebrate the Demise of New Labour

As most people will be aware, Britain’s New Labour government has been replaced by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which has a majority of around 70.

There is going to be a temptation for much of the Left to engage in simple Tory bashing now that the Tory-Liberal Coalition is in office. And indeed it will be necessary. But we should not let that mean that we are any less hostile to New Labour.

And prominent amongst the most repulsive reptiles in the New Labour theatre is one David Milliband. I knew his father Ralph from the Socialist Society and I can remember debating with him, ironically over whether socialists should be in the Labour Party (he was right on that one!) at a Socialist Society meeting at Brighton Unemployed Centre.

Milliband is the frontrunner for the Labour leadership in autumn. And indeed he is a good representative for New Labour. He spent the final year in office doing his best to cover up the evidence for British complicity in the torture of its own citizens by Pakistani secret agents and other states. Apparently revealing the complicity of MI5 and MI6 in torture is a threat to national security. Even the judges of the Appeal Court, who are no slouches when it comes to supporting the State, realised the implications of ruling that torture is in the national interest.

There have been many lousy and rotten Labour Government’s in the past. Wilson’s particularly comes to kind with its attacks on the unions and In Place of Strife. However Wilson’s government was at least a genuinely reformist government. It kept Britain out of the Vietnam War unlike Blair & Brown. It legalised homosexuality and abortion whilst abolished the death penalty. New Labour by way of contrast has certainly been liberal when it comes to gay and women’s rights. Gays and women – Ben Bradshaw and the vile Jacqui Smith – have demonstrated that both these groups are determined to have equal opportunities when it comes to repressing others.

And speaking of vile creatures, there can hardly have been a dry eye in the house last Thursday when Charles Clarke, whose brainchild it was to agree 'memorandum of understandings' with torturers met his downfall last Thursday in Norwich.

Only New Labour could have made a coalition of savage cutters smell sweet. And the ending of the imprisonment of children of asylum seekers is indeed sweet and is a sad commentary on lightweights such as the Millibands and Balls. When you add this to the rumoured abolition of ID cards and control of the storing of DNA samples, then you realise that New Labour was the ideal party of the Secret Policeman.

Add that to things like privatisation of Air Traffic Control, the 3rd Heathrow Airport and the bailing out of the bankers whilst sanctioning the unemployed, and the Left should use all its influence to ensure that the Millibands of this world are given a rough ride.

Contrary to received wisdom the Tory-Liberal Coalition Government, the first real one excepting the war for nearly 90 years, will undoubtedly be a government of slash and burn. The time for organising the fightback is now, but not with false friends. When you take on the enemy you have to first ensure that there are no fifth columnists in the ranks. New Labour and its allies should be eliminated wherever possible from the labour movement.

Whether or not a real resistance to the Tory-Liberals occurs depends on whether the Left abandons its habit of attacking each other in favour of unity. No one will be holding their breath but even the sectarian and suicidal leadership of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party may be forced to take stock.

Indeed the only other bright spots last Thursday was the election of Britain’s first Green MP Caroline Lucas in my own, Brighton Pavilion constituency and the humiliation of fascist MEP Nick Griffin in the Barking constituency of London, where the BNP lost all 12 Council seats and another 20 nationwide.

And of course the Palestinians will have nothing to mourn about in New Labour's defeat nor anything to celebrate in the new coalition either.

Tony Greenstein

See also: can the far left learn from these election results?

3 comments:

Thomas said...

just a quick comment

in line with Tony's article above, I am mystified why invitations have been sent out to New Labour parliamentarty candidate(s) to speak at the May 25 rally against the cuts! They (New Labour) are arch neoliberals with the odd social democratic tinge (meaningful of course to those working class families benefitting from Sure Start and investment in schools and hospitals of course). But they destroyed Old/ `proper' Labour, its sometimes/ someplaces left social democratic predecesor.
I do not see how-with its litany of imperialist. anti-civil liberties, and extreme relaxedness abourt the rich becoming even richer- I simply do not see how socialists ca or should collaborate with the dreadful New Labour

Dave Hill formerly Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown

Edward said...

Tony I would like to hear your insights on the defeat of George Galloway. Or at least get some links to some progressive analysis on his defeat.

Ed Corrigan

Tony Greenstein said...

I don't know that I can offer many insights.

I suspect he would have had a good chance of defending his seat if he stayed in Bow and Poplar. He chose instead to challenge Jim Fitzpatrick and unsurprisingly lost in an area where he didn't have a real base. Given the decline in Respect's vote then he may not have held Bow & Poplar either.

On a personal level I think Galloway just wanted to retire, hence why he made it clear from the outset that he was a one-term MP. Pity because he had an enormous impact compared to the usual lickspittles.

I also suspect that various deals were cobbled together between the Bengali businessmen and 'community leaders' and New Labour to ensure that their candidate didn't go the same way as the atrocious Oonagh King. And of course that included multiple registrations for every public telephone box in the constituency!!