Blair stands by 90 days internment as Clarke negotiates its defeat

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PRIME Minister Blair stands convinced that 90-days internment without charge is not just desirable but is absolutely indispensable for satisfying the Metropolitan Police’s minimum requirements for successfully prosecuting the struggle against ‘terrorism’.

While he stands convinced of this and has the support of cabinet ministers such as Tessa Jowell, his Home Secretary Clarke is negotiating a compromise deal with the Tories and Liberal Democrats. This, if successful, will stave off a House of Commons defeat for the government but inflict a major defeat on the Prime Minister.

Blair considers that such a compromise will cause grievous harm to the security of capitalist Britain.

Since this is his only principle, he will be bound to condemn any compromise reached by the Home Secretary – for example, accepting a 28-day internment period – for putting capitalist Britain in danger.

This leaves Blair and his co-thinkers in the cabinet with no room for manoeuvre, and the Labour Party facing a split.

The Blairites must either resign, if this matter is such a decisive question of principle, and split the government, plunging the country into a crisis general election. This would see the Labour party split into two wings, one Blairite and very close to the Cameron wing of the Tory party, and the other Brownite, having the support of the trade union leaders.

Or, if Blair forgets his principle, they must try to continue with him as a figurehead PM, while the split in the government and the Labour Party widens.

In this situation, many more Labour MPs will be determined to oppose, both inside and outside the House of Commons, Blair’s well declared plans to speed up the privatisation of the NHS and education, destroy the final salary pensions of up to 2.5 million public sector workers, raise the retirement age, and make huge cuts in disability benefits.

Whichever decision Blair makes, he has driven the Labour Party onto the rocks with his Thatcherite policies, and decisive action is called for to prevent the Tories gaining out of his treachery to the working class.

The millions of workers inside the trade unions must demand that the trade union leaders take action to defend the jobs, wages and basic rights of the working class and that this must be primary to any electoral manoeuvres.

The trade unions must be prepared to organise a general strike to bar the way to any return of the Tories by going forward to a workers’ government. We say workers’ government, because a government led by Brown will be a capitalist government, carrying forward the same Blairite privatisation, deregulation, anti-working class policies, and will provide no solutions to the problems that the working class and the majority of the middle class face.

Central to this task is the building of a new revolutionary leadership inside the trade unions to remove the reformist trade union leaders who have spent the last eight years down on their hands and knees in front of Blair, Brown and the bosses.

The working class must now resolve the crisis of leadership in the workers’ movement and insist on a leadership that is in the struggle to win it, that is to take the working class forward to power.

Only the Trotskyist movement, in Britain represented by the WRP, is building the kind of leadership that is necessary.

All workers and youth who understand the need for a new leadership in the workers’ movement must attend the Trotsky/News Line Anniversary Rally next Sunday, where all these issues will be fully discussed. (see ad page 1)