THE knives were out for disgraced Deputy Prime Minister Prescott yesterday.
He is the man who was important to the Prime Minister because he kept the peace with Chancellor Brown, and was the ‘Mr Fixit’ between the Prime Minister and the trade union leaders, easing in his privatisation policies, his main political role.
While Prescott was resting on his laurels, between rounds of croquet at his grace and favour country home, Harriet Harman a one time out and out supporter of Prime Minister Blair let it be known that she wanted Prescott’s job.
She is the wife of the TGWU Deputy General Secretary and Labour Party Treasurer Jack Dromey, the leader of the right wing in that union.
He recently discovered, during the loans for peerages scandal, that he was Treasurer of the Labour Party in name alone, and then made a public protest about it, further embarrassing the Prime Minister, and helping on an inquiry that has turned into a police investigation involving 10 Downing Street.
That he is no longer a 10 Downing Street favourite speaks for itself.
Harman’s announcement was the signal for the rest of the Blairite rabble to break ranks.
Just promoted ex-CWU leader Alan Johnson, who has been Education Secretary for less than one month, let it be known that he was ready for another very rapid change of job.
He was closely followed by ex-radical protester and arch opportunist, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland and Welsh secretary.
As the stampede emerged, an announcement by Blair that Prescott had his full confidence had no effect at all on the stampede, except to quicken its pace.
In fact, Blair’s conduct, during and after his talks in Washington with Bush on Thursday, increased the growing demoralisation of the Blair camp, and its conviction that ‘New’ Labour’ was becoming history, and that it is now every person for him or herself.
At his press conference in Washington, Blair was urged to serve a full term, by President George Bush, so that the two leaders could function in tandem, puppet master and puppet.
Blair’s response to Bush’s suggestion was that the less that was publicly said about this, the better.
At the same press conference he admitted that his policy in Iraq was drawn up on the basis of ignoring history, and that he thought that the Iraqi people would not seek to defeat the occupation armies. On this basis, a whole host of mistakes were made adding up to 100,000 Iraqi dead and thousands dead and seriously wounded US and British troops.
Blair proceeded from this self indictment on Thursday to allowing the State Department to harden his speech in Georgetown University on Friday, so that it left open the issue of a war with Iran, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
During his speech, when a mobile phone rang, Blair responded by declaring: ‘I hope that isn’t the White House telling me that they don’t agree with that. They act very quickly, these guys.’
This has moved the Tory Daily Telegraph to declare that their Prime Minister is a US agent, and selling Britain out.
It commented: ‘He is the only world leader ready to embark on foreign adventures regardless of whether they are in the national interest.’
With a major section of the bourgeoisie now turning on him, and his ministers degenerating into an office-chasing rabble, while the working class is hostile to his policies, his goose is cooked.
The only force that is desperate to maintain Blair as Premier, and the Blair government, is the Cameron-led Tory Party, as two votes on the Education Bill have shown. The reason is that the Tories are not confident that they have can form a strong enough government.
Now is the perfect time for the trade unions to take action. They must take advantage of this crisis to bring down the Blair government, to go forward to a workers’ government, that will withdraw all troops from Iraq and halt privatisation at home, to go forward to socialism.