Saturday 1 March 2008

Another Labour Conference, Another Relaunch for Gordon Brown

Phil Davies, the GMB official who has been a central figure in the campaign to save REMPLOY from being decimated by the Government has resigned from the Labour Party along with several of his colleagues. Phil is the salt of the earth of the Labour and Trade Union movement. He is the sort of bloke you just feel proud to know and to be associated with. He has given his life to working in our movement in support of others. The REMPLOY campaign embodies all that he is about, fighting tirelessly on behalf of some of the most vulnerable workers in our society. The savagery with which New Labour Ministers have cut and slashed REMPLOY, despite all the appeals from our movement, has pushed Phil and his friends over the edge, resulting in their resignation from the party.

At the same time New Labour is holding its Spring conference. Another Labour conference so another relaunch for Gordon Brown. Since he was appointed leader only 9 months ago Gordon Brown has had more relaunches than the Space Shuttle. There was nothing new in his latest relaunch speech today. The rhetoric and policies were part of the same stream of politics which have so alienated loyal supporters like Phil and resulted in the loss of so many members and supporters.

Brown appears to have no understanding of the impact of the corporate driven globalisation which he so ardently promoted in his conference speech. He has opened up our economy to the worst excesses of the speculation and profiteering of the City's financial institutions and when these speculators fail he has used public resources to bail them out. When it comes to investing in the long term support needed by REMPLOY to give workers with disabilities access to the dignity of work, his response is to allow REMPLOY factories to close and vulnerable workers to come under threat.

I can understand why Phil and his fellow union representatives have resigned from the Labour Party but I am urging them to join the Labour Representation Committee, which will enable them to link up with others both within the Labour Party and many like them who have left the party. The LRC provides the ideal vehicle for those who are angry and who want to fight back to secure proper representation for the Labour and trade union movement.