Significance of Tony Blairs One-Nation Politics
Speaking at Labours Local Government conference in
Blackpool on February 6, Tony Blair said he believe in "the politics of
unity" and rejected what he called the "politics of division".
He said that the "politics of division has damaged the country too much
for too long. The politics of unity is what our country needs now."
There is an air of desperation in the tone of this speech
because since the election of the Labour government on May 1, 1997, the
objective processes at work in society have refused to conform to the Tony
Blair and the Labour Partys blueprint of one nation politics and the
stakeholder economy based on social partnership. The status of the north of
England as a virtual colony of the south, the rising demand that the right of
self-determination for Scotland and Wales be recognised, the spontaneous
working out of the class struggle these have militated against Tony
Blairs programme that everything should be subordinated to Team Britain,
in other words competing in the global marketplace.
So in his speech, Tony Blair was emphatic about stressing,
"I am the Prime Minister of the whole of the United Kingdom. I am a
one-nation Prime Minister, leading a one-nation government." He was
particularly venomous against the national aspirations of the Scottish and
Welsh people, saying, "The politics of nationalists who peddle the fake
illusion that if only Scotland and Wales could get rid of England, all their
problems would be over. It is dangerous. And it is a lie."
The point here is that while Tony Blair and the Labour
Party are forced to acknowledge that English nationalism has had its day, in
their highlighting of "one-nation" politics, they are in fact giving
a call to the bourgeoisie to reconstitute itself as the nation. However, if the
nation of England and the state of Britain are to survive under modern
conditions it is the working class that must constitute itself as the nation.
Rather than coming to terms with the objective developments which demand that
the working class come forward as the leading class of the nation at this time,
according to Tony Blair the bourgeoisie must be the leader and the working
class fully subordinate itself to the bourgeoisie.
But this leadership of the bourgeoisie is to put all the
assets of the nation up for grabs, to facilitate the draining of these
resources by the various sections of the financial oligarchy. In particular,
his appeals for unity and one-nation politics are a deluded attempt to put
Britain back in its position of a number one imperialist power, where the whole
world is up for grabs to serve the interests of the English bourgeoisie. It is
a project of pushing Thatcherism privatisation and the neo-liberal
agenda to its logical conclusion, where individuals are not so much part
of society, existing as definite social classes, but are reduced to cogs in the
stakeholder economy, "working together to make our country the best it can
be". It is a project which requires the working class to remain passive,
on the margins of society, refraining from opposing everything that is being
done against its interests.
In this, Tony Blair and the Labour Party are misreading
what the objective conditions are pointing towards. The unprecedented rise of
competition between the monopolies is leading to the ruination of the economy
at home. It has also given rise to the globalisation of the capitalist market,
a trend which is accelerating and can only develop at the expense of the
national economy. As far as Scotland, Wales and the north of England are
concerned, Tony Blair is forgetting that the state of Britain was created out
of the expropriation, plunder and rape of the north of England Scotland, Wales,
Ireland and the rest of the world, and the rapid development of capitalism was
built on the exploitation of the working class and peoples of
"Britain" together with the inhumanity of the slave trade and the
growth of colonialism.
The programme of the working class is to reverse this
"one-nation" project of Tony Blair which aims to fashion the British
economy to achieve global supremacy, but which can only lead to a total
dislocation and disruption of the economy and a tragedy for the working class.
It is to end the globalisation of the economy, and to compel the financial
oligarchy to serve the British economy, not vice versa. What the objective
conditions are pointing towards is the creation of a socialist, independent and
self-reliant economy with the revolutionisation of the relations of production,
socialist planning and international trade based on equality and mutual
benefit. While the programme of the working class is to call for modern
sovereign states of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, it also points out
that a free and equal union between them would be the condition for the
prosperity and mutual security of these nations.
The programme of Tony Blair of "modernisation",
"building a better Britain step by step", "making the 21st
century our century" is taking Britain down the road to disaster. The
working class must see to it that this programme is halted in its tracks.