Friday, 30 May 2008

McDonnell's 'May Manifesto'

Following New Labour's meltdown on May 1st, John McDonnell issued the following 'May Manifesto' which he has criculated as a petition. (see

The aim of the petition is primarily an effort to force a change in the policy of the Government and the Labour Party. Many of us think that this is not possible and / or highly unlikely. Even if conference voted for these policies the Government would ignore it, as it has done in the past so many times. It's not necessary to repeat the arguments against the strategy of reclaiming the Labour Party again here.

The points in the manifesto are all fully supportable. Of course they are limited, it's only a very short manifesto after all! Nonetheless, these points could form the basis for discussion on forming a new party, or a pre-party / coaltion, between the left-led unions and sections of the left. Hopefully this would include John McDonnell and other Labour Lefts.

A coalition, around even a very basic and short manifesto, could be the starting point towards a new party in the future, a party that could then develop a much fuller programme and structures in time.

Certainly, a coalition of the left-led unions (RMT, PCS, FBU) alongside other working class activists and socialist organisations, and maybe former Labour-Lefts, would have been far preferable to the recent London GLA Elections where a number of left lists stood against each other.

May Manifesto

* Nailing the 10p tax mistake by the introduction of a fair tax system removing the low paid from taxation and ensuring the wealthiest and corporations pay their fair share

* An increase in the basic state pension, immediately restoring the link with earnings, lifting people off means tested benefits and providing free care for the elderly

* An immediate start on a large scale council house building programme and assistance for those facing repossession

* Immediate end to programme of local Post Office closures and liberalisation of postal services
An end to the privatisation of our public services

* A new pay deal for public sector workers to protect their living standards and tackle low pay

* Abolishing tuition fees and restoring maintenance grants for all students

* Scrapping ID cards and abandoning 42 days detention

* Introduction of a trade union freedom bill and measures to protect temporary and agency workers

* Rejecting the proposals to renew Trident

1 comment:

Nick said...

The issue of public ownership, whilst mentioned in relation to Post Offices, is unfortunately sidelined in this 'manifesto'. The issue of rising inflation is one of the key political questions of the day. I think McDonnell has missed an opportunity here of linking the rising price of utility bills to the privatisation of public services by Thatcher and Major. The renationalisation of gas, electricity, public transport and water in particular should be key demands in the initial programme of a new workers' party.