Ian Tomlinson must not be forgotten

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2010 - 10:10

There’s a “call to arms” coming from some of the more militant union leaders around the coalition government’s intention to reduce the public sector.

Battle lines are being drawn in the run up to the upcoming TUC conference. There is a lot of talk about building a campaign as big as the one that eventually saw the downfall of Thatcher and her Tory government.

Some of the calls from many on the left leave a lot to be desired. They are certainly vociferous, but who they are aimed at is questionable, and the language used is simply divisive.

In an article in the Guardian on 4 August Tony Benn as always put a relatively decent argument for defending ourselves.

But there was absolutely nothing in his piece that mentioned the word “class”. In its place was the usual rhetoric of identity politics which has, and is, destroying the British ‘left’.

Tony Benn states, “The [cuts] target the most vulnerable — disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.”

But what if somebody does not identify with the groups mentioned?

Would it not have been easier simply to point out that anybody earning less than £25,000 is going to be brutally affected by the upcoming attacks on services and jobs?

One recent issue sums this problem up perfectly.

A white working class man, Ian Tomlinson, walking home from work gets caught up in demonstrations he likely knows nothing about or perhaps even cares about.

He is brutally attacked by a police officer, subsequently dies, and there is a media frenzy.

Sixteen months later the IPCC, CPS and the DPP prove how much they give a damn about justice for the working class and declare the officer responsible for the man’s death will have no case in court to answer.

There is an outcry. For twenty-four hours at most.

Where, comrades, was the outcry from the left over this travesty?

If the “left” in this country want public support in the upcoming battles against the hideous Tory ideology we need to remember the Ian Tomlinsons of this world, cut the nonsensical divisive focus on identity, and get back to one basic fact. The “class war” is back.

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