|SocialismToday Socialist Party magazine|
The New Labour government of Tony Blair has been returned in the general election for a ‘record’ third Labour term. Margaret Thatcher also won three elections but is now so discredited that even Tory leader Michael Howard distanced himself from her regime early in the campaign. The outcome of this contest is hardly a ringing endorsement of the ‘New Labour project’, as the government’s majority collapsed from 166 to 66, with its percentage of the popular vote, 36%, the lowest of any governing party in history: the most unpopular party to form a government since the 1832 Reform Act.
New Labour celebrations after its election win were muted and short-lived. Within hours, MPs and commentators were calling for prime minister, Tony Blair, to resign. His government’s prosecution of the war in Iraq, and attacks on public services and civil liberties, have turned the tide against his neo-liberal government. PETER TAAFFE analyses the result and political developments in Britain.
China’s adoption of an anti-secession law on 14 March, threatening ‘non-peaceful’ steps should Taiwan declare formal independence, marked a sharp rise in tensions across the Taiwan Strait. In April, mass anti-Japanese protests – in which the Taiwan question played an important role – erupted in a dozen Chinese cities. These events have been followed by a furious round of cross-strait diplomacy that has raised hopes of a possible solution to one of Asia’s potentially most dangerous conflicts. LAURENCE COATES writes.
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