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Unmasking the State


One Nation Labour is Blairism Mark II

Over the weekend, rebranded One Nation Labour will almost certainly vote for proposals to end the historic relationship between the trade unions and the party they founded over a century ago.

When One Nation Labour assembles in Brighton for its annual conference, they will have before them a slim document from former general secretary Ray Collins. Vaguely worded, it calls for a consultation on changes that are essentially already on their way.

Dubbed as an interim report, Building A One Nation Labour Party is designed to get the trade unions to act like turkeys and vote for Christmas. Behind the bland words about Ed Miliband wanting to “mend not end” the relations with trade unionists, there is another agenda.

The Labour leader can’t be a One Nation politician – he has borrowed the idea from the 19th century Tory prime minister Benjamin Disraeli who claimed he was representing all classes – until he distances himself from “special interest” groups.

These are now seen as including the trade unions, who represent six million working men and women in Britain and their families. Up until now, those in unions affiliated to Labour have had part of their subs transferred to the party, giving them a nominal membership.

Responding to Tory jibes about “being in the pocket of the unions” – in reality, nothing could be further from the truth – Miliband wants to replace this arrangement. In future, trade unionists will have to personally join Labour. No matter that the party will lose up to £9 million a year in subs this way – this is One Nation Labour in practice.

Some unions like the GMB and Unison have expressed their opposition. But what’s the betting they endorse the Collins’ report on Sunday, paving the way for a special conference next March to ratify concrete rule changes?

After all, that’s what they did in 1995, when the then leader Tony Blair and his deputy Gordon Brown told the unions that dropping the commitment to socialism in the party’s constitution would help them to win the general election. Miliband is saying the same thing.

Tellingly, Collins sees the change in the relationship with the trade unions as part of the process that the Blairites began, with his report saying: “Importantly, these proposals go with the grain of the last big reforms of the Labour [Party] 20 years ago.”

In fact, what’s the difference between Miliband and Blair in their approach to politics? Not much in essence. At the 2004 Labour conference, Blair pledged to put “power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few”. For good measure, he added: “It is New Labour that now wears the one nation mantle.”

Either as New Labour or One Nation Labour, it's the same grand deception

So when Miliband told the Trades Union Congress that “change must happen” and that this was “only way to build a truly One Nation party so we can build a One Nation country", he was telling us nothing new. He wears a hollow crown.

Either as New Labour or One Nation Labour, it’s the same grand deception. Miliband, like Blair and Brown before him, believes that ordinary people can somehow benefit from a ruthless market capitalism, with a few adjustments made here and there.

Miliband’s One Nation nonsense is founded on his vision of a “responsible capitalism” which will pay higher wages because it’s somehow good for the economy. Yet there are many Britains, many nations: the stinking rich living in luxury homes and ordinary people falling behind with their rent because of the bedroom tax; global corporations and their shareholders on the one side and those on zero hours contracts on the other; the wealthy with their hold on the political process and an electorate whose votes count for little.

None of this will change while we continue to live in a class-divided society.

As Labour gathers, some polls put the hated Tories on level pegging. In the end, you need a microscope to spot the difference between the original One Nation party and the pretenders to the throne.

Paul Feldman
Communications editor
20 September 2013

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Your Say

Dylan says:

Labour is a dead party of course. It is helping to resign itself to the dustbin of history sadly. Working people have no alternative but to be disillusioned & wonder what to do. Some will vote BNP or even UKIP.

The powers that be in the One Nation New New Labour Tory Party think they must align with corporations for votes & power. The bigger picture is that the public are desperate for a real Labour party. Even if they don't see it.

The vaccuum between politics & the public is is as big as the difference between truth & politicians. Enormous.

In the end the tories, labour & lib dems are finished. In the short term we face the real possibility of the historic 1st Tory / Labour coillition government, "in the national interest." Hahahahahaha!

Michael Morgan says:
Dylan, as a sceptic and an Englishman, you should know better than to do a Tory troll on an optimistic and positive article.

Freda Davis says:

In his book 'Sybil' Disraeli wrote about the two nations. One was the old landed gentry and the other was the new powerful rich manufacturers. His story ends with representatives of the two marrying. That is the One Nation he was talking about.

Jim Butler-Daulby says:

Whilst I agree with this post, at present there is but one choice we have to get the Tories out - at all costs. From this position we could then use our votes in the ensuing local elections to elect councillors from the more left-wing contingents and build up local left-wing parties and, from the bottom up, push Labour back to the left! There are still left-wing MPs who would have slightly more leverage in government than sitting on the opposition benches! We would have more of a voice with the Tories gone than we have now!! If we don't get out and vote the next step would have to be violent uprisings!

Jim Butler-Daulby says:

I happen to agree with a lot of the sceptics who've commented so far - that Ed has no idea what true socialism is. However, at this moment in time we have to get on board with the one common aim - get the ConDems out! We need to get out and vote. Once we've aired our views that Ca'moron' and his lap-dog Clegg are not worthy of holding the reins, we then vote in the following local election and start building more left-wing councils and supporting more left-wing local parties. Bottom up numbers can keep the Labour party on its toes. Getting the organised gang bosses out is just a start. Splitting the vote will only usher these gang bosses back in!!

Frank Hayes says:

Y'see, I'm wondering why the 'push to the left' wasn't done during the years when the war criminal, Tony Blair, was manipulating state power through a 'Labour' administration? If it couldn't be done then, how now? Paul and Dylan are correct in my view. It doesn't matter which personality wearing whatever colour tie is in No 10, once the same state is the engine of power, the ship of state will sail on for the profiteers, leaving the rest of us floundering in its wake. The wake-up call is that we all have to learn and recognise that if we want things to change, we must change everything. And that starts with changing the way we view the state which controls society as if it was something reformable. However, it is replaceable, but it is we who must learn how to replace it and so, protect our society.

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