‘Back to Blairism, ruin for British Labour’

This video from Britain says about itself:

‘Since Blair-Bush decided on Iraq war, London terror attack was inevitable’

7 July 2015

Ken Livingstone traces the London 7/7 terror attack back to Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq.

By David Hopper in England:

Rekindle the spirit of Keir Hardie at today’s Gala

Saturday 11th July 2015

We must encourage a programme of all-out opposition to the Tories’ austerity cuts, says DAVID HOPPER

THIS year’s 131st Durham Miners’ Gala takes place at one of the most crucial times that the trade union and labour movement has faced for generations.

After five years of relentless attacks on the working class by a coalition government, the Labour Party was humiliated in May’s general election.

Immediately the press and media reacted by bringing Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair and David Miliband to move the party to the right, to make it “more electable” — ignoring the fact that their “New” Labour government had been kicked out of office after having, at one point, a majority of over 100 seats in Parliament.

The Blair and Brown years were far from a utopia for the British working class — indeed, the gap between rich and poor widened under their stewardship.

They had a fundamental hostility to the trade union movement. The warmonger Blair refused 11 times to accept the traditional invitation to the Labour leader to speak at the Durham Miners’ Gala. On some occasions he did not even bother to reply, despite the fact that he represented the local Co Durham constituency of Sedgefield, itself an ex-mining community.

Personally, I am now pleased he never got onto the platform at the Big Meeting. He never deserved to stand alongside the decent people who graced the platform when he was prime minister, let alone address the faithful Labour voters whom he let down so badly while he was following his path to becoming a multimillionaire. He was responsible for the war for oil in the Middle East, which resulted in mass killings and horrendous injuries, not only for troops but for millions of Iraqi women and children — barbaric actions spurred on by a so-called Christian, who should be charged with war crimes.

He deceived the British people and lied to the British Parliament. He conned Parliament for George W Bush on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, and a civil war mainly of his making continues even today.

David Miliband went off to greener pastures after losing to his brother Ed in the race for the Labour leadership, and Mandelson had to resign his ministerial office on more than one occasion on the grounds of misdemeanour. What a team to advise anyone on where they have gone wrong.

The Labour Party campaign for the 2015 election was a disaster, although I do not lay all the blame on Ed Miliband. Of course the press and media attacked him — no surprise there — but I thought he personally did not do such a bad job.

The problems were twofold. The first is that we never defended the party against the misrepresentations by the Tory-controlled media about the last Labour government’s spending record. The financial crisis that caused austerity was brought about by the bankers and the capitalist system, not the last Labour government. The second major problem was linking up with the coalition government in the Scottish referendum campaign, which led to the loss of every Labour seat in Scotland bar one.

Labour really did not deserve to win. Now our people face another five years of attacks on their working conditions, pension entitlements, benefits and the social wage in general. Our communities in north-east England will have a tremendous battle to resist these attacks — but resist we must.

We see three of the contenders for the Labour Party leadership stating they would carry out cuts, just not as bad as George Osborne by the way, but cuts nevertheless. I would ask them what they would do about the £12 billion of welfare cuts made against the most vulnerable, the disabled and the weakest in our society. I would ask them who gives them a mandate for cuts — certainly not Labour voters in north-east England, who returned 28 Labour MPs, members of the Northern Parliamentary Group. I am sure they did not vote for a slightly more compassionate Tory Party wearing Labour colours.

It is time our representatives started opposing these cuts — not just those in Parliament but also those in our Labour-controlled local authorities.

We have enough poverty, social problems and unemployment in our communities as it is. We shouldn’t have to suffer any more. Our youngsters have no chance of obtaining meaningful employment. In Easington and Ashington we have the highest percentages of people in the UK on industrial injuries disablement benefit. These people are not workshy scroungers. They are paying the price of our heavy industrial heritage — surely our Labour representatives understand that.

There are alternatives. We can scrap Trident missiles and cut back on the royal family and their exorbitant residences and travel — no bedroom tax there. We should return the railways to public ownership. Let’s have a programme to build affordable houses. This would create work. Let’s have a minimum wage that people can actually live on — not a wage that is subsidising badly paying employers with family and tax credits.

Yes, there is an alternative way, but we require the will to do it. Our forefathers who had a much more difficult task than us to change society achieved it in the Attlee 1945 Labour government.

This year is the centenary of the death of James Keir Hardie. What would he think of today’s Labour MPs, and of course the Progress faction? Let us rekindle Hardie’s spirit and openly encourage a programme of resistance and all-out opposition to the Tories’ austerity cuts. We will not stop the cuts in Parliament. We need a campaign to oppose them in our communities — remember the poll tax was stopped by demonstrations and resistance. If Labour had supported the Clay Cross councillors who refused to implement central government cuts in the 1970s we may never have had Thatcher. We see the growth of fascism and racism, encouraged by Ukip. We must stop the growing trend towards hatred and despising of other nations and their people. Events in Ukraine, being encouraged by the US and Britain, are re-establishing the cold war, the results of which could be unthinkable.

Let’s start the real fightback for an alternative, at the biggest annual working-class demonstration in Britain, the miners’ gala in Durham today. We owe it to future generations.

David Hopper is general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association.

14 thoughts on “‘Back to Blairism, ruin for British Labour’

  1. Pingback: British Blairites unwelcome at Durham Miners’ Gala | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Burnham heads potential biggest rebellion since Blair era

    by Luke James and Conrad Landin

    LABOUR leader Harriet Harman came under intense pressure to reverse her support for some Tory cuts to child tax credits at a meeting of the shadow cabinet yesterday.

    Ms Harman wants Labour to support the two-child cap on tax credits and abstain on the government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill next week.

    She has the support of shadow chancellor Chris Leslie and shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves.

    But half of Labour’s shadow ministers rebelled when she asked for their views at yesterday’s weekly meeting, a party source told the Morning Star.

    Leadership candidate Andy Burnham led calls for Labour to table a “reasoned amendment” and, if that failed, vote against the Tory bill altogether.

    Rival Yvette Cooper also supported the principle of an amendment but was not clear whether she would vote against the bill.

    Speaking to reporters in Parliament yesterday, Mr Burnham branded the Tories’ plans “unsupportable.”

    “I don’t think Harriet did get it right in certain respects on the welfare reform Bill,” said party leadership contender Andy Burnham.

    “I’ve made my view very clear today in terms of calling for a reasoned amendment and indeed, if that fails, opposition to the Bill.”

    The shadow health secretary said that he backed a benefit cap, but that he could not support cuts to tax credits that diminished the incentive to work.

    After Labour MPs voted against the government’s Budget last night, Mr Burnham pointed out that it would be inconsistent to abstain on a welfare Bill containing the same measures.

    But he remained slippery on the suggestion that he might go against the party whip.

    “I’m not normally somebody who then goes outside of the collective ways of agreeing things,” he said.

    “But I’ve made my position very clear in terms of what I expect to be.”

    One Labour MP told the Star last night that Ms Harman could face the biggest rebellion since the Tony Blair era if she refused to change her position.

    The MP was at a “heated” Labour Parliamentary Party meeting on Monday, where there was a 60-40 split against her position.

    “The main thrust was that to stay silent would amount to a betrayal of the people who look to Labour to represent them,” the source said.

    “It could be that 80 or more would be prepared to rebel if the Labour leadership doesn’t change its position. It wasn’t just the usual suspects who spoke against it.”

    A Labour Party spokesman said that Ms Harman would make her final decision “soon.”

    One insider told the Star: “We’ve got no idea what she’s going to do.”



  3. Clear contrast

    FRONT-RUNNER Andy Burnham was apparently “joking” when he said that he “might be open to listening” to suggestions to include Jeremy Corbyn in his shadow cabinet.

    That puts all three non-Corbyn hopefuls on message after weekend calls to isolate the socialist candidate, but opposition to Corbyn by Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall is not all they have in common.

    Blairite factional group Progress, which backs Kendall, admits that it was “spoilt for choice” in making its decision, since Burnham is its former vice-chair, Kendall its current vice-chair and Cooper a former patron.

    There is concern, according to the Torygraph, among MPs who nominated the Islington North MP to facilitate discussion but won’t vote for him, that Corbyn’s anti-austerity message is putting the party on the “wrong side of the public.”

    They mean that the three Progress candidates are indeed on the wrong side of the public and that Corbyn’s clear pro-working class stance proves this every day.

    If only Labour voters had been given a non-choice of three austerity candidates, to a background chorus of Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt instructing the electorate to stop having a tantrum and do as you’re told, all would be well, they argue.

    Nothing illustrates better the political bankruptcy of the Progress/New Labourites, confirming the importance of having a real socialist alternative in this campaign.



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