Hobson’s choice

Morris or Dromey, the left is reduced to choosing the butcher

THE ELECTION contest between the ‘traditionalist’ Bill Morris and the ‘modernising’ Jack Dromey in the TGWU has exposed the reformist nature of the ‘revolutionary’ left, which is making strenuous efforts to justify their support for a dyed-in-a-wool, red-baiting reactionary (Bill Morris, that is, not Jack Dromey). As we have pointed out many times before, the ‘revolutionary’ left wheels out the hoary lesser-of-two-evils doctrine on such occasions.

The SWP is in the ‘vanguard’, it has to be said, on this matter. The latest issue of Socialist Worker (June 3) thunderously declares: “It is vital that Bill Morris wins”, on the grounds that Morris is defending the policies of the union.

Moreover, according to Socialist Worker, “it has become a battle over the right of a trade union to disagree openly with Tony Blair about Labour Party policy”. Thus, we are reassuringly told, Morris supports a campaign for a £4 minimum wage and the abolition of the Tory anti-union laws, and opposed the clause four rewrite.

Exciting stuff, yet all is not rosy in the SWP garden. Seized by a spell of amnesia, the very same article laments that “it is a shame ... that Morris’s manifesto does not mention a specific figure for a minimum wage or repeal of the anti-union laws”. When you bear in mind that Morris was quite happy to ditch clause four (only the union mandate prevented him from doing so) and Dromey has come out in support of the £4 rate, one could be forgiven for being slightly confused by the SWP’s logic.

Communists, on the other hand, are not confused. We are quite explicit in our condemnation of both Morris and Dromey, who both want to hand the working class over to the tender mercies of a Labour government.

Comrade Vic Turner, president of the Unemployed Workers Charter, told the Weekly Worker that “hopefully, the real left will emerge” during, and after, this election contest. So do we. However, a genuine leftwing tendency in the TGWU will only emerge if it is prepared to challenge all the union bureaucrats, ‘left’ and right.

Danny Hammill