Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hung, Drawn and Quartered

I am not going to comment much here about the General Election 2010 - Socialist Worker and Lenins Tomb have extensive rolling election news, analysis and coverage - only to say, all in all, it was not anything like as bad as I feared it would be. In fact, the election proves the British people - against all the odds (9/10 major national newspapers in Britain backed the Tories or Lib Dems) - still remain fundamentally wedded to social democractic values and the welfare state - and delivered a hung, drawn and (if you count the triumphant entry of Caroline Lucas and the Green Party) quartered parliament which gave no main party a mandate for the cuts they all agreed was necessary - a desperately disappointing blow to all three main parties.

The Lib Dems and Tories are currently trying to cosy up to do some deal as I write - which kind of vindicates my slightly moody response when I bumped into some Lib Dem students canvassing yesterday (I described Clegg as a neo-liberal privatising warmonger about whom it seemed the only difference between him and other leaders was that he was probably better at sex than the other two. The Lib Dem students protested, 'But what about PR?'. 'Yeah, Clegg's a PR man, alright - he's very good at Public Relations' - I shot back). The whiff of a possible Tory-Liberal coalition is not edifying - on Leeds city council their attacks on refuse and bin workers pay provoked a gloriously victorious 12 week long all out strike - one possible future to come. The only thing anyone could realistically 'agree with Nick' Clegg on in the election campaign was his point that if the Tories implemented cuts Britain could soon have Greek style riots - well, if the Tories and Lib Dems implement cuts then Clegg's warning will be equally valid.

Though not all the local council results are in (Barking council in particular), the Nazi BNP were humiliated in their 'target seats', above all Barking and Stoke - though they still picked up worryingly high votes generally. It is always inspiring to see the Nazis lose - and speaking again of Leeds City Council, the city is now 'Nazi free' having just lost their one councillor there. But surely - and this is my last point - the real fight starts now - whatever the ultimate outcome of this election. In places like Barking for example - its great Labour so convincingly trounced the BNP fuhrer Nick Griffin and Margaret Hodge was able to tell him to effectively 'pack your bags and go home - you are not welcome here' - but the Nazis still got 6,000 votes or so in a working class area. Surely in such places - and indeed across working class areas across Britain - the work now has to begin in earnest to regroup and unite the Left around something like TUSC in order to be able to more effectively fight the coming cuts and offer working class people a genuine socialist alternative amidst the economic and political crisis and turmoil now beginning to engulf us all.

Edited to add: further congratulations to all the anti-fascist campaigners in Barking and Dagenham: local council results - Labour 51: BNP: 0

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