Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/316/11609

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 September 2003

Blair Hit By Anger And Disillusionment

THE LOSS of the Brent East by-election is more than a mid-term blip for New Labour. The Labour majority of 13,047 in the general election was wiped out in its first parliamentary by-election defeat in 15 years and reflects deep-seated anger and disillusionment towards Labour's policies.

With a turnout of only 36% most people, including many who used to vote Labour, realised that there was no difference between the main parties and stayed at home.

Robert Evans, who was the Labour candidate, commented that Labour's policies of investment into public services "haven't yet filtered through to voters." What has filtered through is the fact that public services have been devastated by this government.

There is widespread opposition to top-up tuition fees, foundation hospitals and the privatisation of public services. Labour also appear to have just noticed that there is rising fury at council tax rises.

However, their response is to warn councils not to increase this tax but to reduce their budgets even further, thereby making local services for people even worse.

The Hutton inquiry reminds us daily of the lies and intrigue used by this government to go to war against Iraq.

All these issues were exploited by the Liberal Democrats who won the seat. They now have their highest number of seats in parliament since 1929.

This raises the issue of whether the Liberal Democrats could challenge Labour at the next election.

By-election victories often do not translate into a general election victory. People voted tactically in Brent East seeing the Liberals as being able to defeat Labour.

In Brent East they targeted the Muslim and Hindu community (who would once have loyally voted Labour) posing as the anti-war party, while also highlighting the appalling state of council services.

Yet the Liberals are just another big-business party and so have no solution to declining public services. Nevertheless, it's not ruled out that they could take over from the Tories as Labour's main opposition.

90% of their top 100 target seats are currently held by the Tories.

Such is the scale of this defeat and growing distrust towards this government, even senior Labour ministers are now discussing the possibility of Labour losing the next general election.

Blunkett declared: "If we don't change then we die" but insists that privatisation of our services must continue.

However, the woeful state of mainstream political opposition to New Labour means that, even with mass abstentions, they could still go on to win the next election.

The fact that over 10% of voters in Brent East voted for non-establishment parties shows the potential that a new mass workers' party could have.

This election defeat has increased the possibility of Blair being replaced. But even if Labour make some small concessions in the aftermath of this result, their core policies will remain, whoever leads the party.

Brown is facing a growing budget deficit which he can only rectify with more cuts or higher taxes.

Some leaders of the trade unions and others on the left believe that Labour can be reclaimed by the Left. However working class people need an alternative now; a political voice to counter Blair's policies and to organise campaigns and protests to channel this growing anger.

Such political representatives do exist. Joe Higgins and Clare Daly - Socialist Party MP and councillor in Dublin - are serving time in jail for leading campaigns in their community against the unjust bin taxes.

We need MPs and councillors of this calibre everywhere, backed by a new workers' party which can offer a real alternative to New Labour.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 September 2003:

Iraq: Imperialism's Quagmire

Fighting The BNP In Stoke

Solidarity With The Day X Protesters

Anti-bin tax protesters Jailed for defending the poor

Blair Hit By Anger And Disillusionment

Why The Anti-War Movement Needs A New Party

Renewed Bloodshed As Palestinian State Becomes Distant Prospect


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 September 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Labour:

triangleLabour and the fight for a shorter working week

triangleCorbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

triangleBrexit theatrics continue

triangleTony Mulhearn 1939-2019

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Labour and the trade unions - a complicated relationship

Election:

triangleCutting, lying Tories - kick them out!

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: Tories out! General Election now! Socialist policies can win!

triangle40 years on: Mandatory reselection more vital for Labour than ever

triangleBattered Boris must go... and all the Tories with him!

Public services:

triangleUnions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

triangleBirmingham home care strikers close to victory!

Council:

triangleLincolnshire health visitors strike

triangleAttacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

15/10/19

Derbyshire

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

9/10/19

Caerphilly

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

9/10/19

PCS

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

9/10/19

York

York freshers success

9/10/19

Leeds

'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

9/10/19

Health

Huge opposition to Barry rehab ward closure

9/10/19

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest: mobilisation needed to defend abortion rights

9/10/19

Socialism

Socialism 2019: why I'm going... and why you should too!

9/10/19

Socialist Party

Best way to fight back? Join the Socialist Party

9/10/19

Socialism

Socialism: The alternative to capitalist austerity, low pay and crisis

9/10/19

Unison

Unison's retired members reflect growing anger

9/10/19

RMT

Vote for socialist fighter Jared Wood in RMT elections

9/10/19

Equity

Equity manifesto lays out anti-austerity model for arts

9/10/19

Birmingham

Birmingham HS2 protest against bosses' attacks on trade union organisation

9/10/19

Royal Mail

Vote yes to Royal Mail strike action to take on the bullying bosses

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999