Speaking last Saturday at a conference organised by the Morning Star on the theme “For a People’s Britain – not a Bankers’ Britain” RMT leader Bob Crow called for a new working class party and chided the organisers for refusing to move in that direction. You complain about what is going on he said “but when it comes to an election you all go and vote Labour”. The event had originally called around the issue of working class representation but this issue seemed to have vanished from the agenda.
About 250 people, predominantly members and supporters of the Communist Party of Britain, heard Crow point out that George Galloway’s triumph two days previously in Bradford once again put the question of the political representation of working people back on the agenda. They had just heard Labour MP Michael Meacher say that the result showed Labour to be rudderless, ambivalent on the cuts and with no commanding message.
While there was much to agree on in the description of the ruling class offensive some of the speakers were soft on the sell-out of the pensions dispute with no reference to the role of Unison’s Dave Prentis’ betrayal or the TUC. In fact one speaker even suggested that there was a risk of people burning out due to industrial action.
It was left to Bob Crow, however, as the last speaker of the day, to point out that Bradford West was a much wider phenomenon and that it was based heavily on young people. Such young people needed to be given a serious alternative now, whilst they were engaging with politics, since they will not wait around forever. This view did not command a lot of support among those present. Yet as Crow pointed out with anything else if it does not work you get a new one. The voters of Bradford West have done just that with the party they used to vote for.