Johnson moves to put the skids under Prescott


THE Blairite cabinet, faced with the working class rejecting Blair, his war on Iraq, his onslaught on the Welfare State, and with popular revulsion at government sleaze and corruption, has begun to disintegrate.

Large numbers of Labour MPs are fearful that they will lose their seats at the next election, while the leaders have fallen to fighting amongst themselves as to who is to lead the struggle to privatise the welfare state, and also to occupy the top jobs.

All the posturing that they are standing for the betterment of the electorate has been dropped in favour of the naked struggle to better themselves, occupy much sought after stately homes and enjoy the other benefits that come from being the servants of the bourgeoisie.

Alan Johnson has just announced that he wants the discredited Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s job. He has generously accepted that Prescott, if he surrenders it on demand, can still remain deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Prescott had just announced that he is quitting his Dorneywood stately home, in a gamble to try and save his job, after the croquet fiasco.

A chorus of Labour MPs had emerged to say that Prescott had just done enough to save himself, while 10 Downing Street revealed that Blair had told Prescott that he should not resign because all of the pressure would then mount on Blair himself to go.

More experienced heads however ventured to say that Prescott had made a major blunder in quitting Dorneywood, since this concession would play into the hands of those who wished to bring him down.

This was Johnson’s cue to publicly enter the scene.

He has been education secretary for less than a month. He took office after the cabinet bloodletting that followed the Labour Party’s disastrous showings in the council elections.

Johnson had barely enough time to tell the electorate about the wonderful things that he was going to accomplish as education secretary, before he was plunging the knife into Prescott’s back.

He was also ignoring the Downing Street line that Prescott and Blair would go together, at a time of Blair’s choosing,and that their fate was linked.

Johnson and those that are backing his move are not prepared to wait for this to happen, and are now prepared to risk an early retirement for Blair.

They will be arguing that the ex-CWU leader Johnson can deal with the trade union leaders just as well, if not better, than Prescott, and would be just the renewal that the Labour party needs if it is not to lose millions more votes.

Once in the job Johnson would be able to challenge Brown for the leadership of the party, or even replace Blair if he went along with Prescott.

Peter Mandelson is one of the original team of Blairites who has refused to back Prescott, and has no doubt advised Johnson to make his move now, before other Blairite contenders for the leadership like Harman, Hain and even the multi-mortgaged Jowell make their bids.

He has got in first. The others will presumably follow.

The essence of the situation is that the working class has got to clean this Augean stable up. Hercules diverted a river to clean up the Augean stables of mythology. The Blairite stables are going to need massive action by the working class to cleanse them by bringing down a government that can no longer proceed with its anti-working class policies without making an open alliance with the Tory Party.

The CWU postal workers trade union has already warned the government that if it issues shares for the Royal Mail it will stop financing the Labour Party.

This is however just a start. The trade unions must organise a general strike to defend wages, jobs, pensions and basic rights by bringing down the Blair government and going forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies both at home and abroad.