Saturday, April 10, 2010

Unite against "national unity"

Paul Holmes, the left candidate in the forthcoming election for Unison General Secretary ( has said of the current General Election that it's one the Labour Party don't think we can win, the Tories don't want to win - and the Liberal Democrats know they can't win.

In this context, Vince Cable's call for a "Treasury of National Unity" should be seen as something far more dangerous than self-promotion by a politician with nowhere further to go beyond the current limelight (

With the leaderships of all three of the main parties - in their different ways - planning devastating cuts in public spending, a hung Parliament or wafer- thin majority could see intense pressure on the opposition (of whatever political hue) to oppose such cuts.

If - and the fact that this is a big "if" is of course the reason Paul is standing for General Secretary - the trade unions can lead and mobilise serious political pressure after the General Election, then this could even bring down a Government which lacked - or lost - a majority in Parliament.

Vince Cable, who as I recall favours "savage cuts," is thinking ahead and trying to wish into existence a consensus of the "political class" to act against the interests of the working class on the model of the National Government of the 1930s.

Such a unity of politicians against the public interest - particularly in the aftermath of the expenses scandal - would be the ideal environment for the further growth of the far right (and would probably sound the death knell for the Labour-union link if our Party were party to it).

What we need - but do not have - is a party of the (centre) left posing a progressive alternative to spending cuts in line with Unison policy. Such a party ought to stand in opposition to attacks on the interests of our class under the banner of "national unity", as the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party - supported by the trade unions - did in the 30s.

We lack this Party in large part because of the weakness of the leadership of our Unions over the past decade - who have failed even to attempt to confront and defeat New Labour in its senescence and have kept at arms length serious initiatives such as the Peoples' Charter.

What we must now do is seek to maximise the number of pro-working class MPs ( and prepare for the mobilisation that will be required when the next Government turns on us.

Unison members should make a note of Saturday 15 May - and come to London for the Annual General Meeting of Unison United Left.

All those who put the interests of our class before those of any party need to organise together across the movement to build resistance to the coming onslaught.

The unity we need is not "national unity" but unity of the working class.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love it when people pop up on blogs to tell us all what "people" believe in.

There may well be lots of people who "believe in" Compass, or there might not. Until they stand for election, who knows? mrcentreleft certainly seems to think he does, for some reason. Maybe he has a wider circle of friends than the original poster? Or has conducted some research into it?