We can beat the Tories! John McDonnell talks about SCSTF

Submitted by martin on 15 March, 2010 - 5:26 Author: John McDonnell MP

We're faced with an avalanche of cuts in public expenditure and public services if the Tories get in, and, to drive that through, almost certainly an attack on trade union rights and civil liberties such as we haven't seen since the Thatcher period.

If we stand by and let the Tories get in, flanked by the fascists marching on the streets, we're letting our society be undermined for decades to come, as it was under Thatcher. Everything we do now must be focused on keeping the Tories out.

But Gordon Brown is still following a strategy of "triangulation", like Tony Blair's similar strategy. As we've seen over the BA cabin crew dispute, he has sought above all to position himself so as not to seem vulnerable to Tory attack. On many issues, that has led him to adopt reactionary policies and be caught into a competition with the Tories about how can be more brutal on cuts.

Brown's policy is undermining the Labour campaign by undermining people's willingness to vote, and in some cases pushing them into the arms of hostile parties. We can mobilise people to defeat the Tories only showing them that there is an alternative, that they can mobilise, and that they can defeat the Tories and fascists. It can't be done on the basis of New Labour policies.

The upcoming Budget will be a traditional Alistair Darling Budget - seeking to demonstrate that New Labour is "responsible" in government and willing at the behest of the international financial markets to make cuts. We already know, from his interview with the Financial Times on 18 January, that he is envisaging cuts of 17% in all departments other than health and some others.

Because of unemployment being not quite as high as originally forecast, there will also be some small giveaways in the Budget, trying to demonstrate a difference between Labour and the Tories.

But I think those small giveaways will leave people pretty cold. Any impact they have will be gone within 48 hours. People know that at present there is an agreement across all the mainstream political parties that working people must pay for the crisis.

The only way to motivate people to come out and vote is not on the basis of Alistair Darling's Budget, but of demonstrating that there is an alternative - an alternative which is about planning the economy, about public ownership, about investment in public services, about trade unions, and about democracy, not just in Parliament but across the whole of society and in workplaces.

The unions need to make it clear to whomever is in government that if any government cuts jobs or services, then they will face coordinated action. We need to get coordination, and the unions linked up with other social movements, to get across the message that the movement will not stand by and watch its members losing their jobs and services.

We need a clear commitment to solidarity and strength in mobilisation.

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