The political landscape in Britain is changing before our
very eyes. This morning’s prominent TV news is of the tanker drivers’ strike,
showing scenes of pickets with Red Flags turning away lorries at Shell
refineries. The next item is the deepening government crisis, followed by a
warning from Gazprom that oil prices could reach $250 a barrel. It was like a
typical news bulletin of the 1970s.
The Tory victories in the local elections on May 1st
mean that the Conservatives will almost certainly go on to win the next general
election and form the next government. Theoretically the Labour leadership
could turn the situation round, but they seem incapable of changing their
disastrous course. New Labour is in meltdown.
The ranks of the Labour Party and trade unions have been
denied the right to vote on who they think the next leader of the party should
be. This has been achieved by convincing a handful of Labour MPs not to
nominate John McDonnell. But this is not the end of the story. Now is the time
to redouble efforts to build up the left of the Labour Party in the coming
The trade unions have the power to clear the Blairite clique from the Labour Party by putting their full weight behind John McDonnell instead of presiding over the coronation of Gordon Brown, who supports privatization, the anti-union laws, the sacking of 100,000 civil servants, wage cuts in the public sector and the war in Iraq.