LETTER : Needed: a new New Labour

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From Mr Ken Coates, MP and others

Sir: The destruction of Clause IV is an attempt to change the fundamental character of the British Labour Party and accept the situation in which ownership of private capital confers overwhelming economic, social and therefore political power.

New Labour is aiming to distance itself from the trade unions, which originally established the Labour Party, and adopt a neutral stance in struggles about working conditions, impoverishment and social degradation.

It is failing to come to grips with the fact that exploitation is more rapacious than ever, and inequalities are growing in every part of our society.

Crucial as a Labour electoral victory is at the present time, we should recognise that a change of administration without a dramatic change of political direction will lead to huge disappointment among the population. We need a new, far-reaching initiative at local, national and European level to tackle mass unemployment. We should seek to promote real equality in the public services, particularly in education and the NHS, and take steps to end the tragedy of overcrowding and homelessness.

We must recreate a genuinely universal system of public welfare, capable of defending everyone from youth to old age against involuntary poverty and deprivation.

Power must be transferred outwards from the centre, and national resources must be liberated to meet the environmental, productive and domestic requirements of our people. We must pursue policies which aim to end discrimination, achieve peace, and address the vast problem of world hunger.

To work for these goals we need to remobilise the Labour and Trade Union movements, the better to create means of representing the poor, the weak, and the socially excluded, together with all those whose needs have been disregarded by Conservative governments. We need also to advance the case for democratic common ownership, and explain its relevance to these problems.

Yours sincerely,

KEN COATES, MEP; ALEX FALCONER, MEP; MICHAEL HINDLEY, MEP; HUGH KERR, MEP; ALF LOMAS, MEP; DAVID MORRIS, MEP; STAN NEWENS, MEP; CHRISTINE ODDY, MEP; ALEX SMITH, MEP; KEN STEWART, MEP; NORMAN WEST, MEP; HARRY BARNES, MP; TONY BENN, MP;JEREMY CORBYN, MP; BILL MICHIE, MP; ALAN SIMPSON, MP; AUDREY WISE, MP; MICHAEL BARRATT BROWN; TREVOR GRIFFITHS; JOHN ARDEN; ALAN PLATER; VLADIMIR DERER; CHRISTOPHER HILL; JIM MORTIMER

and 70 others

Common Ownership Campaign

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

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