Tony Blair and Queen Victoria (1996)

Submitted by dalcassian on 25 January, 2017 - 9:58 Author: Sean Matgamna

WRITING about Queen Victoria and the future Edward
VII, Walter Bagehot famously once asked how it happened that
"a retired widow and her unemployed son" came to be
the lynch pins in the British constitutional system. About the
Labour Party, we have to ask a similar question: how does a
personable, and moderately eloquent public-school barrister
who, past 40, has never in his lite done anything brave or out-
standing and whose ideas are conventional and commonplace,
come to be dictator over the labour movement in politics? For
that is what he is.
The old living, thinking, responding labour movement is
being replaced by a vacuous personality cult which wet-blan-
kets, smothers and bureaucratically stifles anything higher than
its own Dead Sea level of awareness and concern.
Ours is a movement built over many decades by millions
of working-class people. They had, and have, about as much in
common with Blair and his fat-cat coterie as Jesus, the carpen-
ter of Nazareth, would have with the Archbishop of
Canterbury! Yet this movement seems to have accepted Blair
as autocratic ruler!
Beaten down by a decade and a haif of Tory government;
shackled by trade union laws that outlaw many of the elements
of effective trade unionism; convinced that the only way for-
ward is a Labour victory — the labour movement has let itself
be bamboozled into accepting the ridiculous idea that it
scarcely matters what Labour stands for so long as it wins the
next general election.
The dominance of Blair and his sycophants increasingly
takes on the form of a grim parody of old working-class experi-
ences — and of Stalinism.
In the name of democratic accountability to the broader
electorate, the Parliamentary Labour Party claimed the right to
dictate to the labour movement- It raised itself above the party.
Now this wretched little nonentity raises himself above the
PIP, like a dictator. And the PLP puts up with It!
Policy is now made and remade by the leader and his aides
to win the fickle favour of the bourgeois press. Even the PLP is
disenfranchised! The Labour Party's National Executive is just
a rubber-stamp.
Blair sees himself as a leader in the Thatcher mould, but
he may be in for surprises. The Tory Party Is the natural party
of government, based on the ruling class and on the haves in
society. Thatcher satisfied most of her party. Blair in govern-
ment cannot do other than alienate his. That is one reason why
he may not even win the next election. It is why, even if he
wins, there will be a labour and trade union, that is a working-
class, revolt against his projected Tory-blue Labour
government.
Full-scale opposition to Blair's policies will certainly
develop under a Labour government. There are stirrings of dis-
content even now, though the pressure not to rock the boat
before the General Election is immense.
The job of socialists now is to prepare for the inevitable
effort by the bedrock labour movement to reassert itself. In the
first place we tell the truth to the labour movement: the
Blairites are preparing a disaster for us.