The PM’s wife can speak out on rights – but the TUC cannot!

London firefighters demonstrating against cuts earlier this year
London firefighters demonstrating against cuts earlier this year

THE scale of the crisis that has hit capitalist Britain is now so great that it has forced the Prime Minister’s wife, Cherie Booth, to speak out.

She warned, as a lawyer, on Tuesday in Malaysia, that the abolition of many democratic rights and liberties by the Blair government, in the guise of fighting terrorism, would put a question mark over whether Britain really is a civilised country.

She publicly supported the decision of the Law Lords to rule that detention without trial was illegal, at the same time as the Prime Minister was publicly declaring, that the ‘weight of public opinion’ would not allow judges to repeat, that the threat to the nation came not from ‘terrorism, but from laws such as these.’

The judiciary is standing up for bourgeois law, against a Prime Minister who is bringing in a bourgeois police dictatorship.

It is a scandal that the TUC, representing seven million organised workers is absolutely silent on these issues. It is rooted to the spot, unable to give the slightest leadership to the working class, out of its fear that it will bring the Blair Labour government down, and open up the road to a socialist transformation in Britain.

The trade union response to this crisis has been limited to the RMT and Aslef concerns about the further cuts to safety procedures that the government intends to make on the tube network, and the unsafe conditions that their members have been expected to work under, which includes threats from armed policemen.

Meanwhile, the government intends to bring in new legislation that will make ‘indirect incitement’ of terrorism a crime, along with ‘acts preparatory to terrorism’, and is considering a police MI5 demand to lengthen the period that the police can hold a person without charging him or her from 14 to 90 days.

Government aides are already spelling it out, that under new legislation, bookshops, publishers and newspapers will be closed down under the catch all ‘indirect incitement to terrorism’.

And the TUC remains silent!

Meanwhile, the government insists that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue. Further that workers are expected to ‘act normally’, and operate and travel on the tube, risking death from bombs or police bullets, and also accept the end of their democratic rights – so that Blair can carry on with his imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And the cowardly TUC accepts this situation.

All the major trade unions say that they stand for all British troops being withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas, while the Blair government is refusing even to adopt a timetable for a withdrawal.

This is Blair’s pay back for the TUC dropping its resolution at last year’s Labour Party conference demanding a timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq. TUC leaders said then that they had been assured that if they prevented a defeat for Blair over Iraq, he would bring forward a timetable for complete withdrawal by the end of 2005.

The TUC has been treated with contempt by the government yet again, after assisting Blair keep British troops in Iraq for the whole of 2005.

The millions of TUC members must demand that their leaders must take action to defend democratic rights in Britain, and secure an immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, or resign and make way for leaders who will.

The TUC must be made to call a general strike to bring down the Blair government and bring in a workers’ government to carry out socialist policies including the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the repeal of all of the anti-terror laws, and the disbandment of the armed gangs of the capitalist state.

This is the only way forward, to end imperialist war and terror.