Britain: John McDonnell, Left anti Blair candidate for Labour party leader


Tony Blair and Iraq war dead, cartoon by Steve Bell

From London daily The Morning Star:

Debating policies

(Saturday 15 July 2006)

JOHN McDonnell‘s decision to offer himself as a candidate for the Labour Party leadership, whenever Tony Blair walks away from the mess he has created, should be seen as a positive act.

It offers the opportunity to back-bench MPs to spurn the poisoned chalice of a Gordon Brown coronation and to involve the labour movement and Labour supporters in debate about what kind of Labour government they want to see.

Predictably, Communities and Local Government Minister Yvette Cooper opts for “a stable and orderly transition” rather than democracy taking its normal course.

“We need leadership which will unite the party, not divide it. We need to look forward to the challenges of the future, not back to the politics of the past,” she adds.

If she had followed the news, she would have seen that new Labour’s “unifying” leadership has driven half Labour’s membership out and caused its vote to plummet.

And, for good measure, it now has the Met’s finest crawling over a party that entered office in 1997 pledging to be “whiter than white” and to bring in a style of politics that was open and honest, in contrast to the stench of corruption that clung to the decomposing Tory government.

The main challenge that Labour faces in many parts of the country is to find enough activists to run the gauntlet of voter hostility on the doorstep, answering for new Labour’s pro-big-business policies.

Loyal Blairite Rhondda MP Chris Bryant cannot back Mr McDonnell because of his “extremist” policies.

Asked for an example, he cited Mr McDonnell’s support for renationalisation of our railways, as though this placed him on the political fringes.

This is the policy of the rail unions, the TUC, passenger groups, a majority of voters and Labour Party conference.

More on Blair’s cash for peerages scandal here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

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