BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: Labour centenary  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Labour centenary Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 11:22 GMT
Arthur Scargill: Party purged of socialism
Scargill: The Labour party "now supports capitalism"
Arthur Scargill is President of the National Union of Mineworkers and General Secretary of the Socialist Labour Party.
Writing for BBC News Online, he explains why he left the Labour Party in 1996 and his unhappiness at the way it has changed.


Working class people who founded the Labour Party a century ago faced abuse and ridicule for daring to create an alternative to the Liberal Party, which was supported at that time by most trade unions.

But the Labour pioneers wanted political representation for those whose labour creates society's wealth, to fight for their interests right through to the Westminster Parliament.

They wanted a party to proclaim their vision of a better world, freed from the hardships their families suffered under the system known as "capitalism".

New Labour has proved a willing handmaiden to multinational corporations and bodies like the International Monetary Fund which preside over global poverty, illiteracy, disease, war and pollution

Central in their vision was the socialist concept of common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

A century later, however, that concept has been purged from New Labour, a party that now supports capitalism and the "free market".

The decision by socialists such as myself to leave and to establish the Socialist Labour Party in 1996 has, in my opinion, been vindicated.

Since its election to government nearly three years ago, New Labour has proved a willing handmaiden to multinational corporations and bodies like the International Monetary Fund which preside over global poverty, illiteracy, disease, war and pollution.

'Millions squandered'

New Labour's participation in the illegal bombing last year of Yugoslavia and its on-going air raids, alongside the United States, against the people of Iraq are examples of this servitude. Another example is the continued underwriting of billions of pounds of credit to British arms exporters - so much for "ethical" foreign policy!

While still more billions are spent on European Union membership, and millions squandered on projects like the Millennium Dome, our health service is in utter chaos.

Education and welfare provision are crisis-ridden, with tragic consequences for care of the disabled, the old and the young, whose well-being should be the first priority of any civilised society.

New Labour has refused to repeal the Tories' web of anti-union laws which helped destroy thousands upon thousands of jobs and devastate communities, spreading long-term unemployment with tragic social consequences - including increased racism and drug abuse - throughout entire regions of Britain.

Firmly committed to the 'free market' of global capitalism, New Labour in government is incapable of creating the conditions necessary for a stable and prosperous Britain

New Labour's "job creation" ploys such as the New Deal cannot address this crisis, but the government refuses to help regenerate those industries - ship-building, textiles, engineering, steel, coal - whose demise has turned Britain from a producing society to one dependent on imports.

New Labour refuses to bring back into public ownership our railway network which, controlled by a host of different companies, is now falling apart - with terrible consequences for passengers and workers alike.

Firmly committed to the "free market" of global capitalism, New Labour in government is incapable of creating the conditions necessary for a stable and prosperous Britain as part of a world at peace, in which all people share a chance for healthy and happy lives.

See also:

22 Feb 00 | Labour centenary
22 Feb 00 | Labour centenary
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Labour centenary stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Labour centenary stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes