Labour NEC says it will take back control over funds

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Gate Gourmet locked-out workers were yesterday leafleting at Heathrow Airport
Gate Gourmet locked-out workers were yesterday leafleting at Heathrow Airport

PRIME MINISTER Blair yesterday suffered a setback when the Labour Party’s NEC decided that it was going to take back control over the party’s funds, including the collection of donations and loans.

The Executive had been discussing a report by LP Treasurer Jack Dromey and General Secretary Peter Watt over the secret acquisition of £14 million of loans, repayable at commercial rates of interest, from 12 leading capitalists, for the 2005 general election fund.

Dromey had sparked the probe after he said that he had been unaware of the loans, adding that he was opposed to the Labour Party being run from 10 Downing Street, insisting that the party was a democratic party and not the instrument of the Prime Minister.

The party released the names of the 12 loan capitalists on Monday amid claims, denied by Blair, that those lending money were actually purchasing peerages.

The list made it clear that cash for peerages is only the semblance of what was happening. These capitalists were actually supporting the leader whose policies had helped make them multi-millionaires, in order that they should continue with their accumulations through intensifying Blair’s privatisation programme.

One of them Rod Aldridge, the executive chairman of the Capita Group, loaned a million, and why wouldn’t he, since his company is running the London congestion charge programme and the Criminal Records Bureau as part of its securing of over 30 per cent of the administration for government departments and councils.

In recent years over 52 per cent of Capita’s revenue came from privatising the public sector, including the sponsorship of a city academy.

Capita’s donation was simply to finance the continuation of the privatisation drive by the Blair government, out of which it is making millions if not billions.

Another of the 12, Sir David Garrard who loaned £2.3 million, has also invested in Blair’s city academies, while Chai Patel, who loaned £1.5 million, is the Chief Executive of Priory Health Care and advises Blair on how to privatise the NHS.

These donors were investing in a Labour Party leader whose policies were going to make them even richer.

Sir Gulam Noon, the founder of Noon products, who loaned £250,000, like Blair does not like trade unions. He was involved in a long battle with the GMB in 1997 and 1998 to try to prevent union recognition at his Southall factory.

The 12 donors were financing Blair’s privatisation drive. Part of this drive was his remorseless effort to make the Labour Party conference, and the Labour Party NEC, completely irrelevant as far as the policies of the government were concerned.

The big business donors got the policies that they were paying, or loaning, their money for, while the LP conference and the NEC were treated as lepers.

The Labour Party conference, when it passed resolutions to halt privatisation in the NHS, through to the building of new council houses, the scrapping of the Private Finance Initiative in the NHS and the renationalisation of the rail network, was just completely ignored.

The Labour Party was put under the dictatorship of 10 Downing Street and the dictatorship of capital through Blair’s millionaire backers.

The Blairite Labour Party is now openly seeking to continue the advance of the privatisation programme in open alliance with the Tories, while next week it will be involved in fighting a massive strike of local government workers seeking to defend their final salary pension schemes against a government-big business attempt to smash them.

The Blair government is rotten through and through.

The Labour Party and the trade unions must bring this government down and go forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.

This is the only way to prevent the formation of a national government of Tories and Blairites in Britain that will pauperise the working class and youth on behalf of the millionaire and billionaire ruling class.