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Why many class fighters won't vote Labour
A Leicester council tenant
In the Guardian on 22 April, Owen Jones said: "If you want to look in the eyes of those people pummelled by callous Tory policies, vote Labour - and be prepared to fight." He also said "Those who say there is no difference whatsoever are surely not being pummelled by the bedroom tax."
Well I am 'pummelled' by the bedroom tax, brought in by the Con-Dem government but policed by a Labour council. The Labour council has also slashed my council tax benefit in order to pass on government cuts. In neither of these cases did the council have to apply the national attacks. They could have opposed them - so why are my children still suffering the consequences? What about the cuts in benefits - including to people with disabilities - made under the last Labour government?
No wonder millions are sceptical that Labour will be different this time. Ask yourself - why, given that people are most definitely being "pummelled by callous Tory policies", are they not flocking to vote Labour? Surely if they trusted Labour to fight for them there would be no question about Labour winning with a sizeable majority. Of course millions will vote Labour, feeling they have no choice, and I can perfectly understand that.
But the truth is that, despite some policy differences, Labour advocates 'austerity-lite.' Labour is now a party that in its fundamentals supports big business in the same way that the Tories, Liberals and Ukip do. You say there is a £50 billion difference between the cuts the Tories would make and Labour. This is at best naive of you, and an out of date claim anyhow.
Did Miliband not promise to cut services every year until they eliminated the current deficit in government spending? Is this not written into the manifesto? Their cuts include welfare - again hitting the poorest. And shadow minister Rachael Reeves says Labour doesn't represent those on benefits!
Your main point is that Labour can be pushed by campaigning and concessions extracted - undoubtedly true. You think that those who say there is little difference between Labour and the Tories "do down every single person who has protested and campaigned over the last few years." Well that would include me then! I was on the protests against the bedroom tax, and the cuts in services being made by the local Labour council as well as on many other issues.
But you go on to say "Under the Tories? No chance." One of the most successful campaigns I was involved in was against the Poll Tax in the 1990s - which we won against Thatcher. And she was no less callous or determined that this lot of Tories! There are plenty of other examples too - the concession made by Thatcher to the Liverpool city council in the 1980s for one.
More recently, with the massive public sector strikes on pensions a few years ago we could have won against the current government, if the leaders of some of the big unions (predominantly Labour affiliated) had not pulled the plug.
You suggest that the "lesson of the 1980s" is that if the Tories stay in power people will get so desperate that they would even vote for someone like Tony Blair. Surely the real lesson of the period since then is that unless we create a working class alternative, we will always end up with anti-working class politicians. That's why I am voting TUSC - because we need to break the cycle and start the process of creating that alternative.
You say the establishment is desperate for Labour to lose and ask "Do we wish to defeat it or not?" Yes we do, but Labour is part of that establishment!
In The Socialist 30 April 2015:
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