Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/751/16089

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013

Editorial of the Socialist

Cracks in the coalition - we must take advantage of the divided enemy

Back when the Con-Dem coalition government was young, and Nick Clegg and David Cameron were singing each other's praises in a rose garden, Cameron did show some foresight of the open warfare that is now rocking the coalition.

The Con-Dem coalition put in place grossly undemocratic arrangements for fixed five-year parliamentary terms, which mean that a vote of no confidence in the Commons no longer automatically triggers a general election.

A general election can still be triggered if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government can be found; or if the motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two thirds of the house or without a division.

These arrangements were clearly designed to keep the vicious austerity coalition in power for five years, irrespective of the mass opposition increasingly demanding that they depart.

It would be wrong, however, for the workers' movement to conclude that these constitutional 'iron bands' will necessarily hold the coalition together until 2015.

Senior Lib Dem minister, millionaire Chris Huhne, pleaded guilty to the charge of perverting the course of justice and resigned from parliament. "Never in British political history has a minor traffic offence produced such spectacular consequences" was how the Telegraph's Peter Oborne summed it up.

He warned of "what looks certain to become this century's most savage and bitter byelection. It comes at the worst imaginable moment, with the Coalition in partial meltdown, and party activists straining at the leash to get at each other's throats."

The trade union and anti-cuts movement needs to take heart from the divided, weak state of its enemy, and launch a massive campaign to defeat it.

This government is implementing the most brutal austerity in 80 years, but it is clear that a mass campaign could defeat it.

The need for a 24-hour general strike, as the next step in that campaign, has never been clearer.

The divisions in the government have not spilled into the open on the issue of austerity or cuts. However, they reflect the extremely shallow social base of both governing parties.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds now has more members than all of Britain's political parties combined!

Crisis of British capitalism

The Tory Party, which was a mass party with more than three million members at its peak in the 1950s, has been in decline ever since.

Since Cameron became Tory leader in 2005, its membership has halved to 130,000. The Lib Dems have also lost at least 5,000 members since they entered the coalition government, while their electoral base has been severely eroded.

Ultimately, the capitalist parties' shrinking membership reflects the long-term crisis of British capitalism.

These parties act in the interests of a system which, even before the start of the 'great recession', meant stagnating wages and increasing hours for the majority.

Over the last five years British capitalism has delivered an average 15% fall in real wages, with no prospect of a return to healthy growth.

The capitalist parties are rightly associated in the minds of the majority with economic crisis, cuts, sleaze and corruption. The MPs' expenses scandal still hangs like a stink over Westminster.

The current splits in the coalition are coming to the surface as the different forces within it scramble to try and secure their future careers. There is more than a hint of rats and sinking ships!

The Lib Dems came into open opposition to the Tories by voting against the boundary changes because, if implemented, it would have increased the number of their MPs that will be culled at the next election.

It sums them up that they are not showing equal determination when it comes to stopping further cuts against the poorest, however.

It now appears that, despite claiming they would not do so, the Lib Dems will be prepared to accept the coalition proposing new benefits cuts, on top of the misery that has already been planned.

Clearly, only building mass opposition to cuts will force home reality to the Lib Dems - that their careers are on the line not primarily because of boundary changes - but because they are part of a government that has made millions of people's lives a misery.

And the more cuts the Lib Dems sign up to, the harder the electorate will take its revenge at the ballot box.

Tory splits

The Tory Party itself is also riven with open splits. Cameron had hoped that, by promising an in/out referendum on Europe after the next election, he would be able to temporarily quiet the 'little Englander Tories'.

However, as recent events have shown, the most reactionary section of the Tory Party have been given confidence by Cameron's concessions to them and are continuing to threaten the current Tory leadership's rule, and could, at a certain stage, lead to a split in the Tory party.

Cameron had hoped that, by agreeing gay marriage rights, he could recreate the illusion he first conjured back in 2005, that the Tories were no longer the 'nasty party'.

Instead he has once again split his party down the middle and revealed to the world how little the Tory party has changed on social issues.

When the general election is called, which could be this year, many workers will vote Labour, hoping a Labour government would be 'less bad' than the current lot.

However, New Labour is not exempt from the distrust the majority feel for capitalist politicians.

According to polls, all three major political parties have negative trust ratings, with 46% not trusting Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Labour's policy of 'cuts, but more slowly' does not create enthusiasm, as the low turnout in recent byelections has shown.

New Labour's membership increased in the wake of the 2010 general election from an all-time low of 150,000 to around 190,000, but is still at historically low levels.

The Tories make every effort to divide us - workers from unemployed, young from old, etc. But the best way to defeat this divided government is to be united.

The workers' movement needs a new mass party, which opposes cuts and puts forward a socialist programme, standing in the interests of the working class and not the capitalists.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is important preparation for such a mass party.

Dave Nellist, Socialist Party member and registered leader of TUSC, was an MP for nine years and only took a worker's wage, a model for the kind of MPs the workers' movement needs in the future.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 6 February 2013:


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Fight to save NHS

Revolt against pay cuts strengthened at Mid-Yorkshire NHS

Lewisham hospital protests continue

Whipps Cross workers prepare for fight against jobs and pay cuts

Scrap PFI, not our hospitals


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cracks in the coalition - we must take advantage of the divided enemy

As Gove attacks teachers: NUT leaders - delay no longer

Childcare plans spell disaster

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Organised fightback needed to save council services


Socialist Party reviews and comments

Cut tax dodging not benefits

Film review: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Brutal cuts announced in Cardiff

Derby Labour councillors 'oppose' cuts - then vote for them

Tamil Solidarity looks at 65 years of 'independence' in Sri Lanka

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting

Socialist Party regional conferences


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers tell Bromley council: We won't sign up to your plans

Labour cuts better than Tory ones?

Attempts to force Unison branches to affiliate to Labour

London mayor pressing ahead with fire service cuts

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Battle for control of mining sector


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 February 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Cuts:

triangleDover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

triangleCovid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

triangleNottingham City Council: The (mis)adventures of Robin Hood Energy

triangleLincoln: Save Drill Hall

triangleDon't blame asylum seekers for Tory cuts

Government:

triangleU-turn Tories' splits are growing

triangleUnder the microscope

triangleCovid testing the TUC

triangleMass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

Election:

triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary

triangleUCU: election victory for combative rank and file

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The US presidential election

Labour:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

Tory party:

triangleCapitalism and corruption go hand in hand

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/9/20

Britain

Britain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end

16/9/20

NHS

NHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

16/9/20

Covid

Capitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine

16/9/20

Covid

Covid and the third sector: for public planning, not charity stopgaps

16/9/20

Profit

Under the microscope

16/9/20

Covid

'Covid marshalls' must be accountable to communities

16/9/20

Covid

Blame politicians, not workers and young people

16/9/20

Brexit

Johnson's brinkmanship over EU deal deepens capitalist splits

16/9/20

Coronavirus

Sketch: The rule of six - some guidance from your government

16/9/20

Covid

Our lives and livelihoods at stake

9/9/20

Coronavirus

Safety overridden in drive to bolster the economy

9/9/20

Tories

U-turn Tories' splits are growing

9/9/20

Unison

A critical election for Unison general secretary

9/9/20

Minimum wage

Callous Tories threaten not to uprate the minimum wage

9/9/20

Covid

Under the microscope

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999