John McDonnell says: probe links between the top of New Labour and big business!

Submitted by martin on 31 March, 2010 - 4:33 Author: John McDonnell

After the Byers-Hoon-Hewitt affair, there should be a wider investigation into the links between Labour ministers and big business.

I have seen evidence again and again of a revolving-door relation between the aviation industry, for example, and government, both in Number Ten and the Department of Transport.

Positions in Number Ten and the Department of Transport are populated by people who either come from the aviation industry, or are on their way to jobs in the industry.

An unhealthy relation between Labour front-benchers, and their top advisers and officials, and big business, started in opposition. In the 1990s the policy networks at the top of the Labour Party became populated in the 1990s - after John Smith's death, virtually taken over - by representatives of the City, the major auditing and accountancy firms, and major private-sector consultancies.

They groomed the Labour Party in opposition to implement the policies that big business required when it went into government.

So this is about more than a few individuals at fault. It's about a systemic taking-over and infiltration of New Labour by big business in order to influence policy and control the government.

Last year's Labour Party conference promised the party a complete review, this year, of the party structure installed by "Partnership in Power", in 1997.

Our argument has always been that we want to redemocratise the Labour Party so that members and affiliates can have an influence on policy-making and on the selection not just of candidates for parliament and councils but also of the full-time officials of the party itself.

The "Partnership in Power" process has undermined the rights of members, destroyed the viability of Constituency Labour Parties as democratic institutions, and made the Labour Party conference little more than a public relations exercise where front-benchers and the party leader can arrive to rapturous applause, without any democratic decision-making.

We need reform to reintroduce democracy into the Labour Party at every level - constituency, regional, and national. Labour Party conference must be restored as a democratic institution able to take effective political decisions.

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