Meet the new Brown - same as the old Blair

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
27 June 2007

"Pastor" Brown took over the leadership of the Labour Party on Sunday, saying how he was going to put the "soul" back into Labour and change its... image.

Obviously, his main task is to try to win the next election, and rescue Labour's tumbling electoral support, if possible, after Blair's Iraq war catastrophe, which goes on and on. So it was significant how little he had to say about Iraq - except that "he supports the troops", dying, as he spoke. But then again, he really did not say much about anything else, either. Even if he hinted at getting rid of what is left of the "trade union block vote" by bringing in one member, one vote.

However, this is illuminating. It shows, once more, how little the working class matters in the politicians' schemes. Workers' votes carry no weight. Because the real masters are the City financiers. It is they who decide which puppets are most fit to perform the charade of "democratic government".

So most of all, Brown needs the continuing support of the capitalist class, to whom he has been so generous for the past 10 years. And just how generous, was summed up by Peter Mandelson in 1998, when he said, "We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich."

Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, has been conveyor of their dirt: since 1997, the wealth of Britain's top 1,000 has quadrupled. Quite a record! In fact their wealth grew by 20% in the last year alone! And while it may be true that the rich can continue to stash their wealth in offshore trusts to avoid taxation, over this past decade, they hardly needed to! The City of London has come to be regarded as a Tax Haven in its own right! Yes, thanks to all of the tax credits for the rich, loopholes and subsidies, courtesy of Brown's Treasury. The "scandal" of private equity billionaires who pay tax at a lower rate than their cleaners is just the tip of the iceberg.

It should come as no surprise to anyone therefore, that at the same time, a "record" 7.4 million people are living way below the poverty line and that Britain leads the OECD countries, not in social progress, but in social backwardness - with the highest social inequality ratio of all. How "proud" is Gordon Brown of that?

This is Brown's legacy after 10 years as Chancellor, just as much as it is Blair's legacy. Every public service has suffered in their hands. 120,000 postal workers will be striking this Friday for a wage rise above inflation and against yet more cuts in jobs and in the service, thanks to the Labour government's commercialisation of Royal Mail.

Will Brown reverse this process? Of course not. As "The Who" sang in Glastonbury Festival's closing moments - "we don't get fooled again - meet the old boss, same as the new boss". We may not be fooled into voting for face changes which mean nothing, but if we want real change, we will need to fight for it, all together, our class against theirs.