Fwd: Interview with Tony Benn
The Land Is Ours
office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Mon Oct 23 20:54:22 BST 2000
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>To: davethorpe at cyberium.co.uk
>From: dragonrg at globalnet.co.uk (Frank Jackson)
>Subject: Interview with Tony Benn
>Cc: rpdbyrne at yahoo.com, gilly at innodas.de, ecodyfi at gn.apc.org,
> zonezero at globalnet.co.uk, dandelion at cyberdude.com,
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> david at pluggingintothesun.org.uk
>Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 21:47:24 +0100
>Tony Benn: I'll just mark this. It is now the ninth of October the year
>2000. I'm with Chris Stone who was coming to see me about protest but might
>be something else. OK, I'm with you.
>Chris Stone: Really it's about the current globalisation project. So.
>There's a whole range of things I want to ask you really. First of all,
>what do you understand by the term "globalisation"?
>TB: It's the free movement of capital, but not the free movement of labour.
>It's imperialism under a new form: only the agents of imperialism are
>companies rather than countries. But of course the companies are supported
>by countries. So America backs up its oil companies by going to war where
>there's an oil interest, as we did in the Falklands, because the Falklands
>was an oil war, there's more oil around the Falklands than there is around
>the United Kingdom, and that's what that was about. And of course some
>companies are now bigger than nation states. Ford is bigger than South
>Africa. Toyota is bigger than Norway. And some of these big guys come and
>dominate the world, bring pressure to bear on governments, and to make sure
>they then buy both parties in Britain and America, and then expect to pay
>off which ever one wins. And imperialism of course is coming back now. And
>it really is, I think, a direct counter attack on democracy. The franchise
>was only extended to one person one vote in 1948 in Britain, and at the age
>of 18 later even than that, and at that moment the guys at the top got
>really frightened that the poor could use the vote not just to buy
>political power, but economic power. So they decided to prevent it. They
>couldn't prevent it during the period of the Soviet Union, because the
>existence of an anti-capitalist superpower frightened the life out of the
>establishment. And so they had to let the colonies go, in case they went
>communist, concede the welfare state in case western Europe went socialist.
>Only America is now the dominant power and not Britain, and we're
>piggy-backing on the back of American military power....
>CS: And we're doing their dirty work for them...
>TB: Exactly. And now we can be a superpower but not a super state.... like
>saying I'll have a banana but not a banana split. Ludicrous. But it's an
>indication that the urge for domination is the urge that's put forward by
>governments... But then they're all in the pay, or under the control, of
>corporate finance. I mean it's really, in a sense it's a very alarming
>development. But as long as people understand it, and don't look for
>scapegoats like asylum seekers, we might make some progress.
>CS: Carrying on from that, about the recent protests in Prague against the
>World Bank and the IMF: as I understand it, the WB/IMF were originally
>conceived as humanitarian institutions, that is, to aid development...
>TB: Well I've no doubt they were presented as world development...
>CS: I suppose the questions is: it's your insights into how such
>institutions, which at least put forward a humanitarian front...
>TB: Everything is humanitarian. I mean, the war, when we used depleted
>uranium and cluster bombs in Kosovo. And funnily enough, because I was
>thinking of this word "humanitarian", I looked up the killing of 11,000
>Sudanese at Omdurman 102 years ago - it happened to be the centenary of the
>bombing of the factory by the Americans - and I looked up what was said at
>the time, and Lord Salisbury the prime minister - of course he didn't
>comment on it for six months because it took so long for the news to get
>back - and then he described it as a humanitarian thing. He said, "the
>Africans will have grounds to thank us for having restored law and order."
>And remember, imperialism is always presented as humanitarian: the white
>man's burden, the cross going round the world, the poor benighted natives,
>the sun never sets... So you have to be very careful about humanitarianism.
>The latest example of it is don't give money to beggars. That would be
>humanitarian. You saw that in the paper? Jack Straw is spending a quarter
>of a million pounds telling people not to give money to beggars.
>CS: That's quite interesting. We were told on Victoria station the other
>day not to give money to beggars. And immediately you think, yes I want to
>go and give money. I immediately went and looked for a beggar.
>TB: The Good Samaritan would have been arrested, given a fine on the spot,
>taken to the nearest cashpoint...
>CS: OK, I'm puzzled about these terms. You spoke about humanitarianism and
>how a term such as this is used as a front for something else...
>TB: The word is used to cover things. I don't say that it's always in that
>sense, but they do describe the bombing of Iraq as humanitarian, to protect
>the Kurds in the North and the Shi-ites in the South. I mean:
>"peacekeeping". I'm interested in language. We used to call it the War
>Office. Then it became the Ministry of Defence. We used to talk about the
>hydrogen bomb, now we talk about a deterrent. And the language is very
>cleverly constructed to give the impression that it's not what it is.
>Humanitarian Intervention. World Peace. Chomsky said the other day that
>whenever you hear the words "Peace Process" remember, this is what American
>national interest is about. You don't want to be cynical, but you do have
>to understand language.
>CS: There's a lot of euphemisms used, isn't there? I mean, Free Trade: it
>actually means protectionism in the United States. Globalisation actually
>means the concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. The
>International Community means the elites within the G7...
>TB: I know half of the International Community myself. It's a tremendous
>achievement. I mean, I've actually met Robin Cook. (Laughs). I think that a
>little bit of gentle mockery is not a bad thing really. Because the odious
>hypocrisy of the language that they use... And I mean, the guys in Prague
>are troublemakers and thank god the police are dealing with them, but the
>demonstrators in Belgrade are... the police mustn't fire at them. The
>miners in Yugoslavia striking against Milosivec are heroes, the miners in
>Britain striking to keep their jobs are revolutionaries. I mean the whole
>thing has got to the point now where unless you address the language you
>can't explain to people what's happening.
>CS: The notion of Capitalism gives off this idea that we have a free
>market, and various institutions struggling between themselves to lower
>prices. I know this isn't true. One of the things Chomsky points out is
>that the state is more often used to funnel public money into private
>hands. I was just wondering, given your wide experience of actually being
>in government and watching government if...
>TB: Well Thatcher said she'd run down the state. Actually what she did was
>to transfer the power of the state in protecting people to protecting
>business against people. And the state is more powerful than it's ever
>been, but it's on the wrong side. And this theory... I'm doing a broadcast
>tomorrow actually (10th October) about a book called The Commanding
>Heights, which is written by two academics, celebrating the victory of what
>they call market forces over the state. But it's actually a victory of
>market forces and the state over people. I mean, if you take the railways -
>I looked it up the other day - I got the House of Commons library to tell
>me what are the profits of the private railway companies and what are the
>subsidies and many of them pay the dividends out of the subsidies and run
>the railways at a loss. And that's called Private Enterprise, Public
>Private Partnership. It's very easy to expose now, and what I do find is
>that now communism is gone and people aren't terrified that they're going
>to be invaded by the Red Army tomorrow, they're now having a chance to look
>at capitalism and they don't really like it very much. Most people would
>like publicly owned railways, they'd like the schools to be run by elected
>people, don't want private companies taking over schools, would like the
>Health Service to be free of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) and all that,
>so I feel at the moment that the tide is coming in, not in an explicit
>socialist way, but it a very, very powerful anti-capitalist way. Very easy
>to make the case against capital and people respond, they're insecure,
>they're worried, they don't feel happy, they don't know what it is, and
>that's the duty of explanation, that's why Chomsky is so important because
>he explains things so clearly.
>CS: Following on from that, and talking about government, you will
>presumably know most of the people who are currently in government, or at
>least have watched some of them coming up through the ranks...
>TB: Well I've only once been introduced to Gordon Brown at a New Statesman
>party three years ago. I know Beckett very well and I know Blair a bit and
>I know Mowlam, she used to work down in this basement thirty years ago as a
>research assistant. Jack Straw I know from way back. Who else? I don't
>really know Mandelson very well except he was a press officer for the
>Labour Party in Walworth Road. Gordon Brown is the only one I don't really
>know at all.
>CS: The puzzle I have here is, what happens to people when they enter
>government? This is where I'm asking for your experience. The example I'd
>give is Peter Hain who, not so long ago was head of the anti-apartheid
>movement, apparently radical, who now appears to justify the bombing of
>Iraq. I'm not interested in individuals. The process if you like...
>TB: Actually Peter Hain used to come and see me once a month for a year
>when I persuaded him to come and join the Labour Party. He was a Liberal.
>Well, when you get there a lot of things happen. First of all you feel you
>are entering a place controlled by the people and you're sort of glad to be
>there. Then the Permanent Secretary says mood morning Secretary of State,
>and then later you get on to first name terms: I know Sir John, I have a
>word with Sir Alan. But of course the civil service believe in a continuity
>of policy, and they treat you a little bit as a Maitre D'Hotel....
>(Conversation interrupted by a phone call during which Claire Short was
>mentioned.) I forget where we were now.
>CS: A similar thing in a way. I was talking about what happens to people
>when they get into power, Claire Short being another example of someone I
>used think was... I don't want you to speak about the person...
>TB: Some of these people I can't say I was altogether surprised. But then
>you realise they have a continuity policy, they just want you to... The
>Permanent Secretary will do a deal with you. If you do what we want you to
>do, we will put out to the press that you are an incredibly able Minister,
>and The Economist will say that people have been amazed at Mr. Jones'
>ability to handle a difficult... That all comes from the Permanent
>Secretary. If you don't do that than they'll put out that you're a
>troublesome Minister, you're causing trouble; they'll go straight to your
>department in No.10 and tell the Prime Minister that the Secretary of State
>is being very difficult. And they undermine you. It's partly ambition. They
>want to get on, it's very understandable. And partly, of course, the
>so-called collective cabinet responsibility, where if you're a cabinet
>minister you're responsible for everything everyone does even if you didn't
>know about it. So you're sucked in that way. And I found ways of getting
>round this. One way of getting round collective cabinet responsibility is
>to make a speech saying, a lot of people are saying to me it's time the
>government looked again at the question of this or that. Well they can't
>complain about that because that was reported - reportage - but of course
>you were really building up support. Or: Looking further ahead beyond this
>to the fourth Labour Cabinet, we will have to consider this.... And it made
>them very, very angry. But they want you when you are there to abandon your
>responsibilities, your beliefs, your constituency, your party, and simply
>become what's now called "on-message". And if you step out of line - and
>the media particularly - they just assassinate you. The media - it's a long
>time ago now - but they used to sit in the garden and ring the front door
>bell, there were twenty film crews and when my kids went to school they
>used to swear and hope they'd swear back. And really, media harassment
>amounts almost to political assassination. Very, very unpleasant. And
>that's another factor because if you want a good press you've got to do
>what the editor of the Guardian wants, or the editor of the Independent or
>the Times. So there are a lot of pressures. And to stand up to them.... I
>mean I was radicalised by being a minister. That's when I saw how the
>system really worked. And that is not a very usual process, but it
>certainly happened to me: it gave me a lot more experience, it helped me to
>understand where power really lay, develop strategies for undermining or
>changing it, and so on. But that isn't the norm. Mr Gladstone moved to the
>left as he got older, and one or two other people have, but normally you
>swing the other way.
>CS: So why would that be? Why would they normally swing the other way when
>faced with the realities of power?
>TB: Well because the establishment rewards you, don't they? Very, very
>richly. I mean if you take the four members of the SDP - Jenkins, Owen,
>Williams and Rogers - they all became members of the House of Lords. I
>mean, that really is something isn't it? I mean if you're a trade unionist
>who goes along with the government, you become Lord Murray, Lord Chappell,
>and a lot more weighty. Patronage is a very powerful force. (Conversation
>interrupted by another phone call.)
>CS: I'm still puzzled...
>TB: About why people shift?
>TB: Well I mean it's a variety of things. First of all you start with
>ideas, and you're young, you have less experience than when you're old, you
>say, it's wrong to hunt animals, or it's wrong that people should be thrown
>out of work. Then you get there, they say, half a minute, if you try to
>tackle that you'd have this. So you face the... what you might call from
>protest to management. Now I found that very interesting and satisfying,
>because at least I had a little bit of power. Whereas if you're an ordinary
>MP and the factory workers are made redundant, there's nothing you can do
>but protest. But if you're a minister... I'd say, right, I'll do this, I'll
>do that, I'll do the other, so you could help a little bit. But of course
>all the pressures from the department, and from your colleagues, broadly
>was, oh well, that's inevitable, it's globalisation, you're causing
>trouble, there's nothing could be done, they're not very representative,
>they don't matter, we've got a lead in the polls. And then the sort of hint
>that if you're a good boy you'll get promoted and you'll end up as Lord
>So-and-so. I mean, I'm putting it very crudely, but I think that is what it
>is. And then the media say, right, marvellous article Lord Jenkins whatever
>he is, in another masterly address to the nation said... Mr Benn in a
>typical article shouted... I mean they give government health warnings to
>explain who they want you to listen to. And all these pressures become very
>great. And also I think a lot of people are a bit overawed by civil
>servants. "Come and have dinner, we'll discuss it...." The quickest way to
>get to the top in society probably is to be a Blair Babe now. And then all
>of a sudden you find you're invited to parties. I don't want to be cynical,
>because I'm not. But I've seen it happen to so many people who move from
>the left to the right so damn quickly. The number of Trots who are now
>Blairites. I mean, Aleister Darling was a Trot, I believe Steven Byers was
>a Trot, Alan Millburn was a Trot. And the Comms (Communists) shift because
>funnily enough the Comms identify in New Labour the very Democratic
>Centralism they admired in Russia. They sort of recognise it. That's an
>CS: New Labour is a Democratically Centrally organised party these days?
>TB: Absolutely the same.
>CS: Going back to the globalisation thing. There's a Zapatista slogan, "a
>thousand yeses and one no!" We know what's wrong. It's what we do about it.
>TB: Oh I agree. But then that's what you have to think about. I mean, for
>example, I was the Energy Minister when we were developing the North Sea.
>So I suddenly found myself dealing at the very top level with Esso, Amoco,
>Texaco, Conoco, with BP, the bloody lot. And I recognised they were bigger
>than Britain as companies, so I treated them like foreign powers. I'd say,
>we have a common interest in getting oil out of the North Sea. You're
>looking after your shareholders, I'm looking after my electors. If it's a
>conflict between your shareholders and my electors, I'm going to win. And
>one of them, the Esso guy, said, I can't negotiate with you. I said, why
>not? Well, he said, your political philosophy is different to mine. So I
>said, right, OK, thank you very much. And you could see his own people
>quivering 'cos they wanted the bloody oil. So they went away. And then a
>year later they asked me to lunch. So I talked him about his golf, his
>wife, but I wouldn't discuss oil with him. And of course they capitulated,
>because they wanted the oil. I'll give you another occasion when we
>discovered - at the time the Balance of Payments was a big problem - that
>by transfer pricing, you know what I mean...
>CS: I don't.
>TB: Well within a company you can arrange to make a profit in one country
>and not in another. Well I knew that Phillip's of Eindhoven were running a
>Balance of Payments deficit on Mullards and all the factories they owned
>here. So I got in a helicopter, went to Eindhoven, said to Mr. Phillips, if
>you don't change that, I'll tell you that the Minister of Defence will
>never buy another Mullard valve off you. And a year later my official came
>and said, by the way, Secretary of State, we've discovered they've now
>shifted it. So they aren't making a Balance of Payments deficit. So that
>was just bullying them. And they spend millions of pounds on publicity,
>there's a tiger in your tank, all this stuff, because they want good will
>with the host country, with the host government. So we're much more
>powerful than we think. Mind you, if you annoy them, they've got all sorts
>of ways of getting at you. But this idea that we're at the mercy of them...
>They're very powerful. I sent you that thing on the World Trade
>Organisation? They're very powerful. But we elect MPs in this system to
>protect you, not to administer the world on their behalf where you're just
>CS: But isn't this the problem, that given that Ministers tend to move to
>the right, that we can no longer depend on government, and given that the
>corporations are so closely tied in with the current administration, that
>those of us who aren't ministers, who are just blokes on the street...
>TB: If we'd have been talking about apartheid forty years ago, you'd've
>said the same to me about apartheid... The police are controlled by the
>whites, the media are controlled by the whites, the army's controlled by
>the whites, what hope is there for change? It changes from underneath.
>CS: So you would promote protest?
>TB: Well I don't like the word protest. I know what you mean of course. But
>I don't regard it as protest. I regard it as the first stage of political
>campaigning. I don't know if you've ever heard my sequence of events. When
>somebody comes up with a progressive idea, to begin with, you're mad,
>bonkers. Then if you go on, you're dangerous. Then there's a pause. Then
>you can't find anyone who can say they thought of it in the first place.
>That's how progress is made. This is why I do believe in the vote. In the
>end, all these people who've been tempted to the right realise the warning
>lights in their constituency are brighter than the bright lights from No.10
>offering them things. And then they begin listening. The Poll Tax was an
>example. And the fuel thing is interesting, because although the people who
>were running it were anti-government, the support was very general. Because
>the fuel tax is too high. And I think now, after Prague and Seattle, maybe
>Belgrade even, you're going to find a lot more of this. I mean, how did
>women get the vote? Mr. Asquith, the prime minister, said that if women got
>the vote it would undermine parliamentary democracy. How did they win? How
>did the Tolpuddle Martyrs get trade unionised? It's self-organisation.
>That's why the word protest is too negative. You've got to be in favour of
>something. Ban the Bomb, Votes for Women, Jobs for All, those are sound
>bites that mean something. They are the rallying cry, but not on a
>sectarian basis, I'm more socialist than you are, that is absolute dead
>duck sectarian politics, but issue based politics... The Miner's strike
>attracted people from the whole political spectrum.
>CS: Going back to protest. It's the same root as the word Protestant you
>TB: Yes it's very interesting isn't it.
>CS: And from Protestantism, which is protest against the Catholic Church...
>TB: The priesthood of all believers, you see. I was brought up to believe
>you don't need a bishop or a cardinal. Were you brought up in a religious
>CS: No I wasn't personally. But I've looked a lot, especially at that
>period, the Diggers and the Levellers, Gerard Winstanley...
>TB: Oh yeah. I've got a picture on the wall over there of Daniel in the
>lion's den. Have you heard that story? In the bible there's a man called
>Daniel, and he went into a lion's den. They said, you'll be eaten up. He
>wasn't. And my Dad used to say to me, dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand
>alone, dare to have a purpose firm, dare to let it known. An old testament
>story. And I found that picture in the YMCA in Nagasaki, and I took out my
>camera and I photographed it. So you see, there is, all the political
>battles we fight now were fought in the name of religion in the past.
>That's why it's so important to study religion. Martin Luther against the
>Pope was the same as the Campaign Group against New Labour (laughs). I
>didn't know that Protestantism came from protest, because that entirely
>marries in with my understanding of what you're doing. You're challenging
>CS: Of course, those of us who only have the vote, that's as far as it goes
>in terms of our political influence, have tended to take other means of
>direct action. Have you got any views on that?
>TB: I'll give you some very good examples of direct action. Monsanto. WTO.
>IMF. Brussels. All extra-parliamentary. Only they're not called that. None
>of them were elected. And when Ford closes Dagenham, that's direct action.
>So you've got to be clear in your mind, that governments are driven by
>direct action from capital. That's discussed as "the real world". So when
>they face direct action in the streets of Prague... Oh my god, this is a
>revolution. And they always try and make protest movements out to be
>violent. Just as Thatcher called Mandela a terrorist. Which he was I
>suppose. At his trial he said, we tried peacefully, then by non violent
>activity, and then we took to the gun. He was a terrorist. And then he wins
>the world peace prize and becomes president of South Africa. That's how it
>happens. It's very important not to differentiate protest from the
>democratic process. Because the ballot box is so important. There's people
>on the left who say, the ballot box is a waste of time. Forget them. When
>Mandela voted for the first time at the age of 76 there was a lot of grown
>men, including me, wept buckets. That was what it was about. It doesn't
>solve things, but it gives you the mechanism to hold to account the people
>CS: You spoke of sectarian problems on the left. There's a huge history of
>this. This is one of the problems we encounter. If we really are to
>overcome the powers of capitalism then we need some sort of unity...
>TB: Yes, but you can't actually get it on the basis of ideology. It has to
>be on the issue. On the Miner's strike, all these left groups supported it.
>On Seattle, they probably all supported it. On pensions... So I've long ago
>given up the idea that there's a better party, with Scargill's party: not
>that I ever had it, you know, I'm a Labour Party person myself. But it's a
>phenomenon, a self-weakening phenomenon, self-indulgence of a kind.
>Although what they write is very brilliant. I mean, I read all the left
>press. Far from being mindless militants, they're the most formidable
>intellectuals. I was talking to an Anarchist yesterday. He's a waiter in a
>restaurant. He's always been very friendly to me. He said, I was imprisoned
>by Franco because I was an Anarchist, and I've come here. He's a good
>lefty, and he knew of Portillo's father. We had a lovely talk. And
>Anarcho-Syndicalism is a very important strand of thought, and it's always
>dismissed as just a lot of... Like the Luddites and the Ranters. The
>Ranters were actually quite sensible people, going round, teaching people.
>And the Luddites didn't want to destroy the machines, they wanted to
>control the machines, so they destroyed the machines in order to get
>control. And all that's always done. Even the word "silly". Silly means
>religious. It's either silly or daft, I forget which....
>CS: So do you see yourself as a religious man?
>TB: I was brought up on the bible. But I'm not practicing. First of all I
>think that the moral basis of the teachings of Jesus - Love thy neighbour -
>is the basis of it all. Am I my brother's keeper? An injury to others is an
>injury to all, you do not cross a picket line; and that comes from the book
>of Genesis and not the Kremlin. And my mother brought me up on the Old
>Testament, in the conflict between the Kings and the Prophets, the Kings
>who had power, and the Prophets who preach righteousness, and I was taught
>to believe in the Prophets and not the Kings. I mean, my cultural roots of
>Dissent and Protestantism and Non-Conformity all come from there. But it
>doesn't mean I'm trying to impose my religion on anyone else, or that any
>of the mysteries - the virgin birth or the ascension - interest me in any
>way. But I think if you are going to relate to a society with arguments
>that make sense, you have to relate to your common cultural background. And
>if I say, when Cain killed Abel in the garden of Eden - am I my Brother's
>keeper? - and that's really why we don't cross a picket line, people
>register. Whereas if I say, in my particular socialist sect it makes it
>clear that it's a treachery to the working class to cross a picket line,
>they might say, oh hell, there he is, he's at it again. So it's partly
>presentational. It's a cultural, historical, traditional presentation of
>that. (We drift off into a general conversation, until....)
>CS: Talking about political parties, since the rise of New Labour I have
>felt disenfranchised. There is no longer a party that represents me and my
>views. I've heard you refer to New Labour as a coup d'etat on the Labour
>TB: Yes, it's s new political party. I'm not a member of it. It's probably
>the smallest political party in the history of British Politics, but
>they're all in the cabinet so it makes it quite powerful. They've captured
>the Millbank Tower. They would really like a coalition, I think. If you
>talk privately, they'd like Ken Clark and Charles Kennedy in the coalition
>and have a one-party state. All the guys at the top huddling together to
>see that people like you never have any influence. I think that's what
>they're really about. And then Scargill made the same mistake in setting up
>the Socialist Labour Party. When I saw Blair a few months ago I said, you
>and Scargill have made the same mistake, you've set up a new political
>party. He looked a bit sort of quizzical. But they have.
>CS: Except that Blair has power and Scargill doesn't.
>TB: Yes, but I mean, they both left the Labour Party. And yet he needs the
>Labour Party. As we get near polling day you wait and see. Even the
>Brighton Conference had a touch of old Labour about it. And the unions beat
>him on pensions: a very important victory.
>CS: And following on from that, Ken Livingstone's victory in London: it
>wasn't just because everybody liked Ken, it's because he was opposing the
>privatisation of the tube. Opposed to the PFI (Private Finance Initiative).
>TB: And also proved to people you don't have to be Tony Blair to win. That
>was the really important point. Because Blair had been saying, well drop me
>if you like, but you'll lose. And Ken said, sorry, you can throw me out,
>but I'll win. And he did.
>CS: But then you see the anti-democratic tendencies of New Labour. That
>despite the fact that this was really a referendum on PFI , they still
>continue with PFI. That is, they are ignoring the will of the people.
>TB: Yes but you have to take a moving picture in politics, not snapshots. I
>think of all the things I've campaigned on in my life, years and years ago.
>Gay rights. I introduced a bill in 1989 for an equal age of consent. It was
>laughed at. Now law. I campaigned for the end of apartheid. Everybody said
>it will never happen. I'm not saying I did it. You anticipated it. And the
>PFI will go down the pan because the unions won't have it. And the unions
>are beginning to feel their muscle again. They wanted Labour to win, quite
>rightly after the Tories, they want Labour to win again, quite rightly, and
>there are a few peerages hovering over the heads of the General
>Secretaries. I wouldn't be surprised if all the principle General
>Secretaries don't take up with Mr. Blair's reformed House of Lords. There
>are a lot of factors at work. But underneath, where people are people, it's
>not going to quite be like that.
>CS: So you remain an optimist then?
>TB: Oh yeah.
>GREEN DRAGON ENERGY
>Powys SY20 9NU
>Wales, United Kingdom
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