WORKERS, SEPTEMBER 2003 ISSUE
Britain, as presently constituted, is not working. Parliamentary democracy has always been about maintaining the rule of capitalism, and it is now clearer than ever that parliament is failing to represent the will of the British people. We do not support Bush's foreign wars, but parliament does. Most of us think that the attack on Iraq was wrong, but parliament voted for it.
Most of us wouldn't trust Blair as far as we could throw him, but parliament still backs him. We do not want the euro here, or the EU Constitution or foundation hospitals or tuition fees for students, but parliament votes for all these things. We want to rebuild Britain, but parliament doesn't. Parliament is not working: it doesn't do what the people want.
The British constitution clearly does not work, even according to its own convoluted rules. The fabled checks and balances - the separation of powers, parliamentary representation, the supposed democracy of the parliamentary parties, EU membership, the new assemblies, regional powers - all fail to control an over-mighty executive.
They have not stopped Blair taking us to war, against the will of the people. They have not stopped Blair trying to take us into the euro, against the will of the people. They have not stopped Blair trying to sign us up to the EU state's shiny new Constitution, against the will of the people. They have not stopped him ramming through foundation hospitals and tuition fees, against the will of the people.
The Labour Party is not doing what we want, but then it was never its job to deliver us from capitalism. Its sole aim is to provide an alternative government through parliament, as part of the state, within the constitution. It has always faithfully served the employing class.
Recognising this, ever since its foundation, some members have tried, futilely, to reform it into something useful. Many have ridden it as their primrose path to fame. But it has always remained on the side of the employers. No party can serve two masters.