LAST WEEK’S local election results are the writing on the wall for Tony Blair and those who cling to his coat-tails. Rocked by incompetence, scandal and sleaze the Government looks as if it’s on its last legs with the latest opinion polls showing that Labour’s support has fallen to its lowest level since 1992.
Labour lost over 300 council seats in the English local elections and control of 19 councils, including a number of key boroughs in London, mostly to a resurgent Tory Party with the Liberal Democrats making only modest gains. To cap it all, Labour suffered a humiliating reverse in Barking and Dagenham, with 11 councillors defeated by the neo-Nazi BNP and failed to stem the advance of George Galloway’s Respect Party in Tower Hamlets.
The blame game began while the gloomy results were being tallied. Some believe that Blair’s spin merchants were deliberately puffing up the BNP in the run-up to the poll to divert attention away from the expected swing to the Tories.
There can be no doubt that the widely-publicised remarks by Barking Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who claimed that 80 per cent of white families in her constituency were “tempted” by the BNP, gave the fascists the oxygen to fuel their racist campaign. But that doesn’t fully explain why a thoroughly working-class borough that was once a Labour stronghold with a thriving local communist movement 30 years ago should become the feeding ground for the racists and fascists.
Labour’s traditional working class supporters are deeply disillusioned. They put Blair in office three times on the bounce and have got little in return. A tiny minority have been duped by the lies of the fascists who blame the woes of the workers on the immigrants and the ethnic minorities and seek to solve the crisis by simply redistributing the crumbs from the rich man’s table. Others fall for the old lies of bourgeois Tory and Liberal Democrat parties who have never served the working class and can never defend our class’s interests.
For those who think the answer is to build another left social-democratic movement in opposition to Labour, the paltry gains of Respect and the former Trotskyist parties of the left are a warning. The only alternative to a Labour Government at the next election is going to be one led by the Tories – and we only have to recall the dark days of Mrs Thatcher and John Major to know exactly what that will mean for the working class.
Blair’s answer was a pathetic reshuffle but if he thinks that sacking Charles Clarke and demoting Jack Straw will take the heat off him he is much mistaken.
Labour’s problems begin and end with Blair and his “New Labour” agenda that is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from the worst excesses of the Thatcher era. Blair and his cronies bleat on that they listen to the people when it is obvious to everyone apart from themselves that the Labour leadership only head the advice of the most venal and reactionary elements of the global ruling class.
They took us into the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq reducing our soldiers to the role of sepoys in the service of American imperialism. While our health service totters for lack of funds, billions are spent on the armed forces and the so-called nuclear deterrent that is ultimately under American control.
The masses want affordable housing, decent jobs, and adequate pensions for a dignified retirement that a country like Britain, with the fourth greatest economy in the world, can easily provide. What we’ve got is round the clock drinking, casinos and a minimal tax system that has made our country a paradise for the millionaires.
Blair says he’s going but he still won’t name the day. We have to make sure it’s as soon as possible. Blair’s an albatross around Labour’s neck. The longer he stays the worse it will get. A leadership election must be triggered under Labour Party rules to force him out. The sooner he goes the better.