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New Labour Government: Predictions


John Simkin
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Once again we have a Labour government. What can we now expect? Here are a few predictions.

A report into pensions will reveal a massive black hole in the accounts. The government will announce it was unaware of how serious the problem was (they will of course be lying about this). The government will impose higher contributions on the workforce. They will also announce that public service workers will no longer be allowed to retire at 65.

A report into the public transport system will reveal a massive problem of under-funding. The government is unable to increase income-tax because of promises made during the election. Therefore, other, less graduated taxes, will have to be increased to pay for this investment.

There will be an increase in unemployment. This will result in a full in house prices and negative equity will be a major problem. The government will bring in stringent immigration controls but the unemployment figures will remain much higher than those we have enjoyed over the past 8 years.

Student debt will become an increasing problem. More and more young people will opt for unemployment rather than life at university. The government will impose a new graduate tax that will apply to all those in work.

After Blair is replaced by Gordon Brown the UK troops from Iraq will be brought home. The Americans will remain (until Bush leaves office) and so will the insurgency.

Brown will then commission another report into education. It will say the same thing as Tomlinson. As a result, reforms of our education system will eventually take place.

A report into PFI will reveal that it was a corrupt and inefficient system. Brown, will attempt to change direction but is lumbered with long-term contracts that clearly go against the interests of the British people.

By 2009 Blair will be seen in the same way as Thatcher is seen now. Some diehards will still be praising his “brave decisions”. However, the general public will see him for what he really was, a corrupt and incompetent politician. Brown, too closely identified with Blair will lose the 2009 election to a Conservative Party led by Malcolm Rifkind.

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We can do better than this. I left my crystal ball in the car so here is a possible view of the situation based on a few existing trends.

George Galloway (OK lets set personalities on one side for a minute!) trashed a New Labour candidate by a clear anti-war policy. Also a purely independent candidate standing against Blair on behalf of the families of British servicemen killed in Iraq gathered ten percent of the vote without any political organisation.

Many major trade unions are facing continual calls from their membership to free their political funds from support for New Labour. In the case of UNISON this is no big surprise as New Labour keeps attacking UNISON members and selling off their jobs to private contractors.

PFI is thought of as a four letter word!

The trade unions will resist New Labour's plans.

In time they will realise that a trade union response is inadequate and a political response is necessary.

Candidates backed by trade unions will start standing against the more unpleasant of New Labour's canaille, particularly in areas where local issues over public services have inflamed opposition.

Labour's trademark arrogance has been dented by this election. Replacing Blair with Brown is seen by some even on the left in the union leadership as a significant change of tack. So in one way the sooner it happens the sooner it will become widely realised that this is not the case.

The Socialist Party is eager to participate in the formation of a new workers' party, meanwhile it runs its own candidates and supports anti-war and anti-capitalist parties whereever possible.

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk

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Guest Stephen Turner

Within my own Trade Union I argued that whilst Wilson, Callaghan, Attlee etc. were no Socialists, Blair represented something new. A free market Tory passing himself off as a social democrat. (I argued this pre 1997) At the time I was called a splitter, & worse, that people like me (Socialist & proud!!) would let the Tories back in. Some of those who shouted loudest, now decry Blair in far worse terms than I ever did. No Government can stand for long when its core supporters belive it to be corrupt. Brown, or no Brown, if the Tories can unite under a new leader, New Labours days are numbered, and they have only themselves to blame.....

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I resigned from the Labour Party when it ditched clause four. We were told at the time this was merely a question of wording and did not make any difference. We can see now that it meant a complete change of tack with Labour embracing privatisation.

In my own union we came very close to establishing a political fund, explicitly *not* tied to New Labour but devoted to pursuing the union's aims. Within a year that vote could be reversed. It is in public sector unions that the move against affiliation to New Labour is strongest but such movements also exist in general unions like the TGWU.

It is also the case that popular campaigns against specific abuses by the government can gain votes - fights against hospital closures or again against the war. The next few years will see some false starts (I count the SLP and Respect as false starts, especially as Respect was achieved at the espense of the Socialist Alliance) but there is a real chance of a new workers party coming out of this.

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My analysis on the future is based on Tony Blair adapting to his decline in popularity. Blair's first appointments are not very encouraging. It shows a swing to the right instead of an attempt to acknowledge that there are still some socialists left in the Labour Party.

Andrew Adonis, Tony Blair’s main adviser on educational policy, has been made a peer (Lord Adonis) and appointed as a junior minister in the Education Department. Adonis was the man behind student tuition fees, the privatisation of school services and city academies. Adonis, a former member of the SDP, is the main reason Estelle Morris resigned from office. Even Ruth Kelly finds him too right-wing and tried to block his appointment.

Lord Drayson become a junior defence minister. I suppose he will be in charge of granting government defence contracts to those companies willing to pay large donations to the Labour Party. Drayson’s own peerage came as a result as a £505,000 donation to New Labour. His own wealth came from winning a £32m government contract to supply smallpox vaccines. This was a good deal for Drayson as it only cost him £50,000 in donations to New Labour. However, it is not known how much he paid Blair to make sure that his company, PowderJect, was the only one allowed to bid for the contract.

David Blunkett and Beverley Hughes, two ministers caught out a few months ago for providing misleading (lying) to the House of Commons are also back in office. This is the man who criticised the Tory Party for being corrupt and said he was going to clean-up politics.

Also promoted is Shaun Woodward, the former Conservative director of communications, is made a junior Northern Ireland minister.

I suppose Tony Blair gets a kick out of showing Labour MPs that he is still in control. However, in doing so, he will only encourage those who oppose him to try and get rid of him sooner, rather than later.

I don’t suppose it is surprising that Blair is acting just like Margaret Thatcher before her eventual demise. Dictators always find it impossible to go with dignity.

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