‘New Leader – Old Agenda’

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IN a motion for next month’s Trades Union Congress, UNISON correctly says the use of private firms in public services is ‘harmful, wasteful, and unjust’.

However, the motion does not address the issue that is being discussed everywhere in the workers’ movement. This is that the trade unions must take action to get rid of the Blair-Brown leadership and government, in order to bring in a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies, before Blair-Brown let the Tories back.

In fact, the leaders of the big four trade unions, UNISON, Amicus, the TGWU and the GMB say that the conference will not be even discussing the question of the government and its leadership, but will be trying to shape Labour policies for when Tony Blair steps down and Gordon Brown takes over.

They intend that the real discussion will take place behind closed doors, where the trade union leaders will be seeking to use the financial crisis of the Labour Party – it owes £22 million as a direct result of the ‘loans for peerages’ scandal – to try and pressurise Brown into agreeing to a ‘new agenda’, in place of the current Blair-Brown agenda.

However, workers know that Brown will make all kinds of pledges behind closed doors to get his hands on the money of the trade union membership, that he so desperately needs for his own electoral purposes.

If he should get his hands securely on the tiller, Brown will ignore all such pledges and remain 100 per cent faithful to the bosses he has so loyally served in the last nine years as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The nearest many delegates will get to the issue of leadership is at a public meeting sponsored by the ‘big four’ unions, to be held on the fringes of the TUC Congress, under the banner of a ‘new leader, new agenda’.

This meeting is a fraud. Brown believes in the global capitalist agenda of wage cutting, speed up, and the export of jobs. He is an ardent supporter of the PFI, which allows big business to build private hospitals that are then leased to the NHS, and boasts about his ‘light regulation’ of industry, and his lowest ever taxation of the rich.

The new leader and the new agenda should be discussed, debated and voted upon at the Congress itself.

In fact, the issue remains of what is going to be done to evict the present leader, Premier Blair, who is determined to carry on serving George Bush and international capital regardless of what the majority of the voters want, and what the trade unions and the Labour constituency parties want.

The membership of all the trade unions affiliated to the TUC must go into action and demand an emergency resolution be put to the TUC Congress, and then to the Labour Party conference, which takes place just after the TUC.

This must tell the Labour government and Party that they will not get a penny from the trade unions unless Blair and Brown resign, and the government adopts the following policies:

• The immediate withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Gulf;

• The ending of the NHS and Education privatisation programmes, and the renationalisation of the railways;

• The organisation of a massive programme of council house building to solve the housing crisis;

• The repeal of all anti-union laws and the repeal of all racist immigration acts.

The struggle for a workers’ government to replace the 100 per cent bourgeois and imperialist Blair-Brown government must be carried out at both the TUC and Labour Party conferences.

The trade union leaders who are trying to shoe Brown into the premiership, from where he can continue with Blair’s policies, must be defeated. Congress must decide ‘not a penny for Blair and Brown’ and that both must resign.