New Labour - the continuing saga

In his new found role as St. Francis of Assisi, Tony Blair jetted off to Africa in February to lecture African workers about the new threat of global terrorism, about ‘self interest and mutual interest’ and how these two concepts were ‘dependent on each other’. At the same time he was in Africa the British press were reporting how Britain’s arms sales to Africa had quadrupled since 1999. Self interest? Mutual Interest? Well maybe for the arms manufacturers and the leaders of those African states that purchase the British weaponry that helps them quell internal dissent and wage war on their neighbours.

The Continuing Saga of New Labour It seems these interests are at the forefront of much of Blair’s thinking. A week after he returned from India in January – remember he travelled there to help them solve the Kashmir problem in a verbal manner – the British press were reporting of a new arms deal with India, which was worth £1 billion and inclusive of 60 Hawk jets.

Those with long memories and familiar with Labour’s love affair with the arms trade, will remember the Biafran war of the 1960s, when Britain’s share of arms sales to Nigeria during that conflict increased from 15-75%. St Francis of Assisi? Try Vlad the Impaler!

While the Blair government is keen to point out how they are reducing poverty in Britain – something which tends to run counter to the statistics socialists are regularly fond of citing – we draw your attention to a newly published report by the Child Poverty Action Group (interestingly, an organisation set up by the Labour Party many years ago and which was supposed to exist for one year only). The last time such a report came out in 1996, Labour Party MPs used it to ridicule the Tories. This time round it asserts: “…around a quarter of our society was living in poverty in Britain in 1999-2000. The poverty encountered by Children is even greater than for society as a whole. Around a third of children were living in poverty in 1999-2000. Over 7.8 million people were living on the ‘safety net’ benefit of IncomeSupport/ Jobseeker’s Allowance in February 2001. By the mid-1990s the UK had child poverty rates higher than any other industrialised nation with the exception of the USA and Russia.”
When recession hits, as it did at the beginning of the 90’s one of its marked features is the number of home repossessions. In 1991, courts issued 134,000 home repossession orders. Eight years later, Blair safely in power and reassuring us the austerity of the Tory years was behind us, 137,000 families found their homes being taken from them because of mortgage arrears.
The report further adds strength to our argument that under Blair the wealth gap is widening in Britain. It reveals how the wealthiest 1 percent of the population in Britain own 25 percent of all wealth, with the bottom 50 per cent, some 28 million people, owning just 6 percent of Britain’s wealth.

Blair and Mittal Steal
When it comes to sucking up to the big money men, Labour takes some beating. Who could forget the fiasco surrounding the Bernie Ecclestone affair just prior to Labour’s 1997 election victory? In return for a £1 million gift to the Labour Party in January 1997, Blair saw to it that Ecclestone’s Formula One were exempt from the ban on tobacco advertising.
A year later, Blair was kowtowing to right wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch (whose help he sought during the election), phoning the Italian prime minister Romano Prodi, on behalf of Murdoch, and trying to have any hurdles removed that might hinder Murdoch’s acquisition of Mediaset, the Italian media company.

Months ago, the shit hit the proverbial fan again, when it was revealed that George Bush was not the only high level politician to be hit with the Enron splatter, but that the Labour Party also found themselves pebble-dashed. It was revealed Enron (an energy multinational, now bankrupt) had sponsored several Labour Party Conferences after their 1997 victory, that the Labour Party tailored its energy policies to enable Enron build a gas-fired power plant on Teeside and that Labour smoothed the way for Enron to buy Wessex water four years ago without having referred the buyout to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Now come revelations of Blair’s links to steal magnate Lakshmi Mittal. It transpires that Blair wrote a the letter to the Romanian prime minister: “I am delighted by the news that you are to sign the contract for the privatisation of your biggest steel plant with the LNM group…I am particularly pleased that it is a British company [Mittal’s] which is your partner.”

The link, which Blair claimed oblivion of? Mittal had made a £125,000 donation to the Labour Party, his wife Usha giving a £50,000 donation to the local party of former European minister Keith Vaz. The story continues! Just one month before Blair signed the letter, he had attended a big thank-you bash laid on for Labour Party donors (the big guys, that is). And who should be there? Mittal!

It later emerged that LNM’s parent company is registered in a tax haven; that Mittal gets round paying tax in Britain by means of a nifty little loophole the Labour Party conveniently neglected to plug; that his LNM plant in Southern Ireland closed with the loss of 400 jobs and almost £40 million in debts, and that Mittal is one of the brains behind a US campaign to slap a 40 per cent tariff on steal imports, which could well impinge on jobs in the British steal industry. All of which you can be forgiven for, if you sponsor the Labour Party. Thinking of pulling off something big and want to get away with it? A Jewel’s heist, Big Business tax evasion? Simply send a donation to the Labour Party care of 10 Downing Street.