Strikes in Britain are at their highest level for thirteen years and the
trend is upwards. The recent council workers' strike involving over one
million people was the largest strike by women workers ever seen in this
country. Fire fighters have voted unanimously at their recall conference to
ballot for strike action over a 40% rise in pay! If this takes place, it
will be the first national strike in 25 years. Rail and tube workers, who
have their own disputes, have threatened to refuse to work on grounds of
safety if there is no fire cover. The general public, according to a recent
Guardian/ICM poll, appear to sympathise with them. The days of workplace
"servitude" seem finally to be coming to an end.
It's amazing how people change. And it's even more terrible when you forget
your roots. This is surely the case with poor old John Prescott, once National
Union of Seamen firebrand, and now "responsible" statesman and
minister in charge of the Labour Government's stand against the just demands of
The dearth of leadership in the Tory Party is not the cause of their crisis,
but it is not an accident either. The failings of these leaders faithfully
reflect the impasse of their system. Nye Bevan once said of the Tory leaders
(including Churchill) they have nothing to say about tomorrow, and harp on about
the past because they have no part to play in the future. They are a doomed
party representing a doomed class and a doomed system. The crisis in the Tory
Party is symptomatic of the impasse facing the profit system. The sickness of
that system spreads like a cancer affecting every aspect of society.
On the one hand, Blair prepares to send troops into Iraq behind the coattails
of the Americans to overthrow Saddam. On the other hand, he and 'two Jags'
Prescott prepare to send in troops to break the picket lines of the
firefighters. If you adopt the policies of capitalism abroad, inevitably you
will adopt them in domestic policy.