PETER Mandelson is one of five Labour government cabinet ministers who insists on his business interests being a secret and for that purpose has placed them in a ‘blind trust’ where his portfolio is handled for him, while he is a minister but its contents remain secret to the public.
He is already notorious for his association with the rich and powerful, such as Indian and Russian billionaires, and has twice been forced to resign as a cabinet minister for alleged indiscretions.
He has recently been brought back into the Labour cabinet via the back door of the House of Lords.
In other words he is an unelected minister who has major business interests which are kept secret and associations with some of the most powerful capitalists in the world and he is also leading the fight for the Royal Mail to be part-privatised!
His relationship, to the state-owned sector of the economy, is the same as that of a fox who has been put in charge of a coop of hens.
In fact, since his return as a minister he has insisted that all of the pledges made to the trade unions by the Brown government, that the Royal Mail will remain in state ownership, be ripped to pieces.
So determined is he that up to 49.9 per cent of the Royal Mail will be sold off, he is completely unperturbed that this plan has split the Labour Party and will become law only with Tory and Liberal support.
The trade unions, particularly the CWU, must insist that a Labour government business secretary, if he is to have any credibility with the working class, must hold no shares or holdings in big business companies of any kind.
If Mandelson has nothing to hide he must immediately make public just who runs his ‘blind trust’ and what his business interests are.
Other ministers who make use of blind trusts include Trade Minister Lord Davies, Health Ministers Ben Bradshaw and Lord Darzi, and City Minister Lord Myners.
It has also emerged that the ministers’ code of conduct has been amended since Brown came to office, to remove a warning about the use of blind trusts.
Earlier versions stated: ‘It should also be remembered that even with a trust the minister could be assumed to know the contents of the portfolio for at least a period after its creation, so the protection a trust offers against conflict of interest is not complete.’
There is clearly a conflict of interest, when a Business Secretary of a Labour government, with big business interests and a big share portfolio, goes hell for leather to privatise the Royal Mail and breaking dozens of promises made by Labour to keep the Royal Mail in state ownership.
The time has come for all trade unions to act on this issue and to give their full support to the CWU and its defence of the Royal Mail.
The CWU and the TUC must stop all financial support for the Labour Party and government until it scraps the plan to privatise the Royal Mail.
The CWU and the trade unions must adopt joint candidates to fight by-elections and a general election against Labour MPs who support the privatisation of the Royal Mail.
The CWU must take strike action and call for the support of the entire trade union movement, with solidarity action, to stop the privatisation of the Royal Mail.
To win it must be prepared to bring down the bankers’ and bosses’ government of Gordon Brown and bring in a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.
Such a government will defend every worker’s job, wages and pension by nationalising the major industries and the banks and renationalising the transport, water, gas and electricity industries under workers’ control.
Carrying out these actions is the only way that the working class of the UK will secure a future for itself and its families.