On Brown’s boring speech to the TUC Congress yesterday, John McDonnell has it right:
People weren’t bothered about Brown’s rhetorical style. Blair became a superb orator but it was the content of his speeches that was the problem. With Brown there was neither style nor content to inspire TUC delegates. Worse, what was increasingly obvious to even those trade union general secretaries who had manoeuvred their unions into backing Brown for the Labour leadership, was that Brown’s speech was vacuous when it came to addressing the real world issues facing the 6 million members they are supposed to represent.
Sadly, the TUC’s General Secretary Brendan Barber made his official response as timid as possible:
This was a Prime Minister at ease with a trade union audience, and with a series of policy initiatives that will be widely welcomed, particularly those designed to crack down on bad employers, help the jobless find work and boost skills.
Of course differences remain such as public sector pay, and unions will always urge a Labour government to go further and faster, but what is clear is that this government wants to engage with the union agenda and shares many of our values and objectives.
The government does not want to engage with any other agenda than that of neoliberalism. Barber is talking out of his hat. As for shared values… Doesn’t New Labour intend to become (some say it already is) the “natural party of business”.
Will Hutton, a brain-dead bourgeois intellectual, has called on Bob Crow to leave the 1980s behind in an article full of factual errors. We’ve heard it all before. Socialists must “accept that there is no conceivable way that a modern economy can be directed, owned and controlled from the centre” – but what the hell is modern capitalism if not directed, owned and controlled from the centre? The problem is that it’s run in the interest of the capitalist class; socialists want it to be run in the interest of the working class.
Lest anyone take Hutton seriously, get this – the RMT, which Crow leads, has the fastest growing membership of all the trade unions in the UK. Championing the interests of your members won’t make you popular – the capitalist press demonise you if you don’t collaborate with the neoliberal agenda.
Anyway, rant over, dig these crazy figures: