PREMIER Blair got his well deserved come-uppance at the TUC Congress on Tuesday, while the co-author of his policies Gordon Brown was welcomed like a hero at the dinner put on for him by the TUC on Tuesday evening.
What major concessions, did the would-be Prime Minister make to have the majority of the TUC general Council eating out of his hand by the end of the evening?
The answer is that he made none at all. In fact, he followed up on his earlier condemnation of the delegates who walked out of the TUC when Blair rose to address the gathering.
Before the dinner Brown’s aides revealed he would say: ‘I urge you all to support Tony Blair in what he said about our reforms in health so that we can show that a universal health service free to all at the point of need is renewed and reinvigorated through reform to serve the British people.
Brown is also said to have echoed Mr Blair’s appeal for Britons to be ‘strong, not scared’ in the face of the challenge of globalisation.
For a number of union leaders the big difference between Brown and Blair was the tone in which Brown delivered his Blairite remarks.
These bureaucrats, desperate to support Brown, said: ‘It’s amazing how you can say the same things and have a completely different effect.’
However, not all of them could allow themselves to be won over so easily by ‘tone’.
One of those was Mark Serwotka, from the Public and Commercial Services union, thousands of whose members are to be sacked by Brown’s budget measures.
After the dinner TGWU leader Tony Woodley praised Brown for his ‘unifying message’. The GMB leader Paul Kenny was more cautious saying ‘There remains the thorny issue of privatisation and we remain miles apart on that issue.’
Woodley added: ‘I have just seen a speech that I have not seen equalled from a trade union leader in our country for a number of years, a guy who has put out a vision on his ideas for our country.
‘But at the same time it was a unifying and uniting speech, making plain the difference between a Labour government and a David Cameron Conservative government.’
But Woodley said he was not ready yet to endorse Mr Brown’s leadership ambitions. ‘What we need is substance now on top of that speech,’ he said.
The bureaucracy is having to tread carefully since it knows that union members do not want a renewed Blair privatising government headed by Brown.
The majority of the TUC, with perhaps the FBU, the PCS civil servants and the RMT in opposition, are desperate to replace Blair with Brown.
They are working for a strike-free Autumn, winter and spring so as to create the best conditions for Brown to take over without disrupting the Scottish and Welsh Assembly elections in May. This is to create the conditions for the Blairite counter-revolution to continue.
UNISON leader Dave Prentis wanted to see no national demonstrations to defend the NHS until the Spring, while Woodley explained while he was speaking for the General Council on the Trade Union Freedom Bill, that the General Council wanted only one national demonstration and that was May Day.
The working class however is not in the same frame of mind. The vote, announced in mid-Congress for strike action at NHS Logistics against privatisation proves that.
The Congress vote to give full support to any strike action of the civil servants against Brown’s policies also reflected the determination of the working class to defend jobs.
The majority of the trade union bureaucracy is determined to refresh the Blair government by putting Brown at its head, thus allowing continuing privatisation.
The working class however is faced with bringing down the Blair-Brown government to go forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies at home and abroad.
Mass strike actions in the Autumn and Winter will create the conditions for this to be done. The working class however is faced with the task of building a revolutionary leadership in the trade unions to lead this struggle to victory, to a workers’ government
Only the WRP is building this leadership. Join the WRP today.