Fight back against
- Foundation hospitals
- Education cuts
Fresh from his military victory, Tony Blair is out to target what Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher, in so many ways his role model, called 'the enemy within' - militant trade unionism.
"We will not give in, in any shape or form, to resurgent industrial militancy", said Blair at a press conference on 28 April.
He plans to push through his market-oriented plan for public services. 'Foundation hospitals' will create, effectively, a two-tier National Health Service, and more 'private finance initiative' schemes will subordinate public services to the profit-greed of private developers. With education minister Charles Clarke, Blair is turning a hard face to teachers, parents and students angry about cuts which will force many schools to sack teachers. And he is pushing for even fiercer measures against asylum-seekers.
But Blair and Bush have not yet secured things all their way in Iraq. The peoples of Iraq, pleased to see Saddam go, are also angry about US/UK military occupation, and demanding democracy.
And Blair should not get his own way in Britain, either. A first step in resistance can be made by voting for Socialist Alliance, Scottish Socialist Party, and other independent working-class candidates where they are standing in the 1 May local elections. And pressure should be put on Labour councils.
Activists in the unions should demand the new 'awkward squad' of trade-union leaders coordinate a fight back, both industrially and through the platforms they still have in the Labour Party National Executive and conference. And where the leaders won't lead, the rank and file should organise to do so.