THE right wing of the Labour Party was shaken to its core yesterday after Monday’s meeting of the General Council of the Scottish TUC decided to recommend to the STUC Congress that it support Labour in the Scottish parliamentary and council elections by just one vote.
In fact, the motion was at first defeated as UNISON voted against, but after much discussion UNISON changed its vote to an abstention to allow the motion to be carried.
With the elections just 15 days away Labour is expected to be heavily defeated, and the Nationalists (Scottish Tories) are expected to emerge as the leading party in Scotland.
This is the product of 10 years of Blair and Brown policies in Scotland, which was free of Tories in 1997 but is now on the brink of being controlled by a Scottish Tory coalition.
There is no doubt that the lack of enthusiasm on the Scottish TUC General Council for Blair and Brown’s policies is only a pale reflection of the massive hostility in the working class to Labour’s policy of privatising the NHS and education, and its foreign policy of fighting imperialist wars under the direction of the US.
There is also no doubt that unless the trade unions act resolutely to represent the real interests of the working class by pushing socialist policies to the fore and purging the Labour Party of the Blair-Brown gang, that this cabal is going to hand back power to the Tories after carrying out Tory policies for the last 10 years.
At last year’s Labour Party Congress the Blair-Brown gang were defeated on all of the issues, from council housing to the NHS and Iraq.
Yet the leaders ignored all these decisions, to carry on with the Thatcherite policies that have brought the Tories back to the brink of returning to power in the UK.
This week’s Scottish TUC Congress and next September’s TUC Congress will be decisive for the trade unions and the working class.
This week trade unions must make it crystal clear that they do not support the Blair-Brown clique and their Tory policies.
At the September TUC Congress and all of the trade union conferences leading up to it, decisions will have to be taken to cease paying the political levy to the Labour Party leaders.
It must be paid into the TUC and used to financially back parliamentary candidates that will stand in the next general election on the socialist policies carried at the TUC Congress.
These will include the repeal of all anti-union laws, the ending of the privatisation programme, the renationalisation of all privatised industries and the withdrawal of all British troops from the Middle East and the Gulf.
The TUC Congress must make it clear that it will stand trade union candidates against the enthusiasts for privatisation and globalisation that make up the ranks of the Blair-Brown clique.
It is the trade unions that have the support of the working class and now they must use their financial and political power to move forward to a workers’ government.
On May 1 the PCS civil servants trade union is taking national strike action against the Labour government’s programme of mass sacking and wage cuts.
They must be joined by every trade union since all face the same problems and are under the same attack from the government.
This action must be the dress rehearsal for a general strike to bring down the Blair-Brown government and to create the conditions to move forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.