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back to front - this lot have got to go


IN AMONG all the lies and diversionary propaganda that have accompanied the war on Iraq, the leak that Jack Straw, Gordon Brown and probably even Blair had decided to resign in the event of a huge Labour backbench rebellion over the war probably takes the biscuit.

Resign? Over a matter of principle? They must be joking. All credit to those ministers and aides who actually did resign, but their morality is not reflected generally in the Labour Party. As a whole, the party has followed Claire Short.

It is not that they have compromised themselves. These are people past compromise. They have abandoned the very concept of principle, and will do anything to cling on to power, a prospect that they cannot envisage without Blair. The whole lot of them are not worth one of the Iraqi children whose death warrants they signed when they voted for war. There is blood on all their hands.

Other news at the end of April showed how far Labour has removed itself from its roots. The figures for manufacturing production were the worst ever, the results of a slump of such depth and duration as to make Thatcher's first recession seem tame by comparison.

In its six years of power so far, this government has presided over an unprecedented haemorrhage of Britain's industrial jobs, reducing our ability to produce for ourselves and making us ever more reliant on imports.

At the same time, it has left our infrastructure to rot, leading to lengthening travel times in whatever conveyance you choose: our roads are clogged, our railways crumble, our cities are suffocating. Labour's response is privatisation, or, to put it another way, its response is to absolve itself of responsibility. Instead of proper investment, we get toll roads, congestion charges and fewer trains (now in the name of increased reliability).

If Blair and his henchmen want to consider resignation, they have plenty of reason to depart the scene. Like the employers they so admire, they have lost all conception of a national interest. They have betrayed Britain.

All of this adds considerable poignancy to the government's professed desire to help to rebuild Iraq. What do they know about rebuilding? Leave it to them, and Iraqis will shortly find their oil industry closed down on the grounds that it is uncompetitive, a water shortage on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, and dates being imported from California.

When thousands came to London for the first march after the end of the war - the first march against the illegal occupation of Iraq - the slogan at the head read “Blair must go”. Too right. He and all his government.

Blair out, Workers in. Don't destroy the world, Rebuild Britain.