“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”
Hugh Gaitskell did not like those words but he did not manage to change them. Tony Blair did. Reducing the Party’s commitment to fairness and equality he called ‘modernisation’.
‘Common ownership’ can, of course, come in more than one form. It might, for example, mean a co-operative. Let us not forget the link between the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party.
Today two things force us to think again about Clause Four. One is the fear that soon the Labour Party will have a leader very much in the mould of Blair. I am not suggesting that he would be stupid enough to illegally invade countries but Sir Kier Hardly-Hardy is nothing like Corbyn who hugely grew and made popular a Labour Party committed to equality and fairness. Yes he did! Look at the size of the Party. Blair slimmed it down.
The virus is the second cause for thought. It is a temporary and tiny pleasure to watch Tories clumsily reach for socialist solutions. But be sure that as soon as they can they will revert to type. Deep inside them is embedded the belief that greed is good, for them that is.
There are some good socialists within the Labour Party but still far too many Blairites. The attacks upon Corbyn were not merely disagreements over tactics. They were despicable smears. I remain disgusted by them.
Forming a new party is not easy. I remember that when the SDP was formed by some very famous politicians the Liberals pointed out that they had absolutely no organisation to speak of. The Labour Party is an organisation but one in danger of being re-captured by Blair.
Imagining a socialist future is the easy part. Winning all the arguments for socialism is even easier. Organising to make things happen is bloody hard work.
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