IN his parting speech as Prime Minister to the Labour Party conference, Blair administered his kiss of death to Gordon Brown, telling his Chancellor and the conference that without Brown there would not have been any New Labour.
He declared: ‘But I know New Labour would never have happened and three election victories would never have been secured without Gordon Brown.’
The only other member of the cabinet that Blair paid a real tribute to was his deputy John Prescott saying, ‘I may have taken New Labour to the country but it was you that helped me take it to the Party. . .’
Blair poured scorn on the working class base of the party saying that ‘We put the party at the service of the country’. This is a country that, of course, is run by, and in the interests of its capitalist ruling class.
Again he spelt out that ‘The core vote of this Party today is not the heartlands, the inner city, not any sectional interest or lobby. Our core vote is the country.’
Blair continued to show his contempt for the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, when he referred to ‘In Place of Strife’ the first set of anti-union laws drawn up by Wilson and given to Barbara Castle to push through in the late 1960s.
He said of Wilson: ‘In the end he gave up, but so did the public on Labour. Even in 1974, the Labour Government spent two years renationalising shipbuilding and the public spent two years wondering why. In the 1980s, council house sales had first been suggested by Labour people. It was shelved. Too difficult. Too divisive. . .
‘In the 1980s we should have been the party transforming Britain.’ We should have been the Thatcherites, taking on the miners, print workers, dockers, bringing in the anti-union laws etc, etc. The Blair message was that Labour could and should have been doing all of these good things but it missed the boat because Wilson was not able to carry through the struggle against the working class.
Putting the party, built by the trade unions, at the disposal of the bosses is the essence of the Blair position.
Blair then told the conference ‘Here’s my advice’. Alluding to the crisis of imperialism he said: ‘The scale of the challenges now dwarf what we faced in 1997. They are different, deeper, bigger, hammered out on the anvil of forces, global in nature, sweeping the world.’
He added: ‘We used to feel we could shut our front door on the problems and conflicts of the wider world. Not any more. Not with globalisation. Not with climate change. Not with organised crime. Not when suicide bombers born and bred in Britain bring carnage to the streets of London in the name of religion.’ For Blair this is the period for reordering the world in a war that will take generations. He even had a word of sympathy for his co-religionist the Pope, saying: ‘A speech by the Pope to an academic seminar in Bavaria leads to protests in Britain,’ thus proving the reality of the worldwide struggle against evil.
He chided the British people for opposing imperialist adventures saying: ‘The British people today are reluctant global citizens. We must make them confident ones’ – presumably whether they like it or not.
His message to the workers is: ‘In the future, as people live longer, we can’t afford good pensions and help for disabled people who can’t work, with four million people on benefit, many of whom could work. Almost a million less than there were. But too many. That is why we need more radical welfare reform, getting more disabled people, more lone parents, more on unemployment benefit into work, not to destroy the welfare state. But to preserve it.’
In this brave new world of imperialist war and Workfare for the disabled Blair asked, ‘how do we reconcile liberty with security in this new world? I don’t want to live in a police state, or a Big Brother society or put any of our essential freedoms in jeopardy. But because our idea of liberty is not keeping pace with change in reality, those freedoms are in jeopardy.’
He added: ‘We can only protect liberty by making it relevant to the modern world’ – by abolishing it.
He adds an Orwellian note by proclaiming identity cards to be part of modern liberty and that ‘ID cards represent liberty’.
‘That is why identity cards using biometric technology are not a breach of our basic rights, they are an essential part of responding to the reality of modern migration and protecting us against identity fraud.’
Blair is urging the Labour Party to prepare for generations of imperialist war, with workfare and privatisation at home, where identity cards are to be a mark of liberty and not of slavery to capitalism and the capitalist class.
Blair grandly, Nero like, had to acknowledge that the people were tired of his adventures saying: ‘Time gives the people fatigue; their willingness to be led, is less.’ His answer to this problem is: ‘But they will lose faith in us only if first we lose faith in ourselves.’ In fact, the Blairites are demoralised by their failure to complete their counter-revolution under Blair, and are sceptical as to whether it can be completed.
Our answer to the crisis of imperialism must be the organisation of the British and world socialist revolutions.