Tuesday 8 January 2008

Establishment parties' race to the gutter

As the tories attack first Incapacity Benefit claimants and then job seekers (BBC News: Tories plan 'work for benefits'), I am reminded of the Tory government of the 1980s into the mid 1990s. Such right-wing attacks on working class people who have been failed by the capitalist system, were and are the true face of the Conservatives - despite Cameron's attempts to give the Tory party an image make-over.

Of course, New Labour have continued such attacks - including attacks on incapacity benefit - with gusto. Little wonder, then, New Labour's only option is to attack the Tories for 'plagiarising' their policies. (A 'plagiarism' on both their houses, if you ask me :-P )

So far, the Lib Dems have taken a line to the left of both the Tories and Labour (piss easy!), describing the Tory proposals as "hollow rhetoric designed to sound tough rather than helping people back to work". So far so good, although it will be very interesting to see how the Lib Dems' policies develop, now Nick Clegg (a moderniser) is in charge. I see Clegg has hired the man who ran Thatcher's advertising campaign in the 1987 election (Clegg hires Thatcher campaign man); OK, so it's not quite on a par with inviting Thatcher to Downing Street and discussing policy with her over dinner, but it still ain't a good omen!

To overcome the right-wing attacks on us by all the Establishment parties, we need a real alternative. Thankfully, we've still got one. Respect hasn't gone away, and is once again coming up fighting. We are standing a candidate in a Preston council by-election in February (Socialist Worker: Join the Respect campaign in key Preston council by-election). I urge all readers who can, to get involved in this campaign - a victory, or at least a good showing for Respect, in this by-election, will help us immensely when it comes to the main council elections in May, and the general election in a couple of years time.

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