British Labour

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Thu Sep 26 16:43:58 MDT 2002

People following the debate over Labour parties may find this
interesting.  It is a paper by Dave Osler of the Socialist Alliance in
Britain.  Dave argues that the British Labour Party is not quite yet an
entirely liberal-bourgeois party, but that it is almost there and the
process appears irreversible.  The news that three rich capitalists
alone provide British Labour with more in funds than all the affiliated
trade unions put together is an interesting one.  In NZ, the trade
unions these days probably provide less than 10 percent of Labour's
income.  The ruling class own Labour here, lock, stock and barrel:

After New Labour

Has Labour become just another bosses’ party? Is Tony Blair’s government
qualitatively different from Attlee’s and Wilson’s? Labour Party plc, by
Socialist Alliance member Dave Osler, is released this week and provides some
thought-provoking answers

The Labour Party was founded just over 100 years ago as the Labour
Representation Committee, a body with the explicit aim of securing
representation for the working class and the trade unions in parliament.

Nowadays the Labour Party describes itself as many things. But one of
the most ubiquitous sound bites in Tony Blair’s canon is that Labour is
the party of business. Where even Conservative prime ministers once
spoke about the unacceptable face of capitalism, for today’s identikit
New Labour politician, every single last visage of the market is
perfectly agreeable. As a result of this accommodation, the government’s
record is littered with sleaze, plots, dodgy deals, scams and downright
scandals. Think about the Dome, Railtrack, the air traffic control and
London Underground privatisations, PFI hospitals, education action
zones, the Enron affair, cash for access, cash for passports, blind
trusts, peerages for donors - it is all there. It is as bad as it ever
was in the Major  years.

The ideological paradigm shift has been accompanied by a dramatic change
in the Labour Party’s source of finance. Where once it was almost
totally dependent on trade unions for its financial support, it has now
moved to a situation where it more than matches the Conservatives pound
for pound in extracting seven-figure cheques from major business
figures. In the crucial quarter leading up to the last general election,
three rich individuals gave more money than all the trade unions put
together. Which certainly brings a new content to the old socialist
slogan of ‘Make the rich pay’. . .

full at:

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