Roy Hattersley has become so disillusioned with the Labour government that he has written an article in
of 17 August 2000 entitled
‘I told my constituent that Labour would save him from poverty – I deceived him’.
The constituent in question had sought help at the time the Tories were in power against a refusal of the Social Fund to give him £20 to buy a coat from a charity shop because he had nothing to protect him from the cold. Hattersley was unable to do anything for him, but his contempt
“for a Government that denied basic necessities to the poor was overlaid by elation at the thought that, within weeks, the Labour Party would be in power. Labour could be relied upon to help the disadvantaged and the dispossessed”.
In the light of the experience of the Labour government, Hattersley had to conclude that
“bliss was it in that dawn to be deluded”.
He points out that:
“In Labour’s first year 5,000 applications for Social Fund help were rejected. Last year the figure had risen to 11,000. This year 362,000 applicants were refused.”
He concludes that there is no way that the Labour Party will
“rise up in revolt. The Government does retain its middle-class support and the victims have virtually no political clout. But some ministers must feel ashamed that the poor have been deserted and there are still some party members who would be comforted by even a flicker of conscience.”
Mr Hattersley, it will hardly help the poor if every single member of the Labour Party were experiencing a “
flicker of conscience
” and thereby being
Mr Hattersley, you know perfectly well that under capitalism the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is an inescapable law of the capitalist system. Since the Labour Party openly and unashamedly supports capitalism it also, of necessity, accepts that the poor are going to get poorer, and it deliberately turns its back on them. Their plight, after all, cannot be helped – if you accept the capitalist economic system. No point in shedding tears – just collect your MPs salary, enjoy it and be grateful that you yourself are not yet included in the ever-growing ranks of the poor.
Condemnation of the government is meaningless if it is not accompanied by taking the logical step of leaving the Labour Party and helping to build the Socialist Labour Party. The Socialist Labour Party is irreconcilably opposed to capitalism and alone in this country seeks to give a voice to the impoverished masses, the people who at present
“have virtually no political clout”.
You will have to decide, Mr Hattersley, what matters most – your MP’s salary and a life of comfort and ease, or the millions of people to whom capitalism denies a decent life. Your conscience is nothing if it does not guide your actions.