Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1038/28990

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2019

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1038

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off

End austerity now, photo by Mary Finch

End austerity now, photo by Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

With two weeks to go before local elections in 271 councils in England, the Tories are facing the loss of many council seats. An article by journalist Harry Phibbs on the "Conservative home" blog was headlined: "'We're doomed': The mood of Conservative councillors facing the electorate varies from nervousness to despair". Phibbs wrote: "Seasoned campaigners were shocked by the level of anger they encountered on the nation's doorsteps - invariably from Brexiteers who felt betrayed".

The Tories' deep Brexit crisis is repelling much of their support base, but also they are not immune from anger at the ongoing austerity, which has meant huge cuts in services and jobs in local authorities.

Then, just three weeks after those elections, another electoral battering for the Tories looks increasingly likely. Elections for the European parliament are scheduled for 23 May if there is no EU withdrawal deal agreed before then.

Over the last week the Tories have fallen in the opinion polls with the result that Labour has opened up a significant lead. This is part of the political climate in the run-up to the above two elections, and it's a period that could also include a third election at any time, a general election, so urgently needed to sweep the rotten Tory government out of power.

"Disaster"

Both the local and the likely European elections seem certain to worsen the crisis in the Tories which is already at a colossal level. Media commentators and leading Tories are predicting that the Tories could suffer their lowest ever vote if the European election does go ahead in the UK. Coming almost a full three years after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU, it will be seen as farcical and galling by a large layer of voters.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt agreed with a BBC journalist who put it to him that fighting the European election would be a "disaster" for the Tories. Children's minister Nadhim Zahawi went so far as to say that going into the EU elections "would be the suicide note of the Conservative Party".

This prospect was one of the reasons for the scale of the rebellion by Tory MPs against Theresa May asking the EU for a delay in Brexit until the end of June. A majority of the party's MPs, 177 of them, either voted against the extension, abstained or didn't vote, so it was only agreed through the weight of opposition votes. In practise it then became an extension - if necessary - to the end of October, at the insistence of the EU.

Climate change protest, London, 15.3.19, photo Paul Mattsson

Climate change protest, London, 15.3.19, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

If there is no eleventh hour deal to prevent an election on 23 May, a layer of usual-Tory voters will look away from them in disgust, turning instead to the likes of Ukip, as happened in the 2014 European elections when Ukip topped the poll in England and Wales.

Since then, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has formed his new 'Brexit Party', to which eleven Ukip MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) have defected. Overall Ukip has lost the allegiance of nearly all its MEPs who were elected five years ago - 20 out of its 24 MEPs have left the party. But notwithstanding this degree of collapse, the depth of the Tory crisis is likely to benefit Ukip and the Brexit Party if the European election goes ahead.

On the 'Remain' side, the new Change UK party, formed by defectors from the Tories and the right of Labour, is hoping it can become registered and also pick up votes on 23 May. European elections being based on a form of proportional representation gives them added hope. But the Lib Dems are also strongly pro-Remain and this isn't helping their poll ratings. The main advantage Change UK will have over the Lib Dems will be to present themselves as something new, in the way that Macron did two years ago in France. Macron's popularity has halved since then.

Would a European election become a proxy EU referendum? It would no doubt be seized on by both right-wing Brexiters and ardent Remainers to try to turn it into one, inflaming tensions and polarisation. However, a recent YouGov poll indicated that only half of those who voted 'Leave' in 2016 would bother to vote on 23 May, so the result wouldn't reflect the balance of attitudes today towards EU membership.

Neither would it be any indication of the result of a general election; for instance Ukip received 27% of the vote in the 2014 EU election but went on to get only 1.8% in the general election in 2017.

Tory turmoil

As said above though, both the local elections and a European election can throw the Tories into even greater turmoil than they're already in. Conservative Party rules state that following the failure to remove Theresa May in a vote of confidence last December, a new attempt can't take place until 12 months later. But such is the level of infighting in the party that two former chairmen of the Tory backbench '1922 committee' recently said that these rules could be changed in order to bring forward a new move against May.

The Tories are tearing themselves to pieces and this will sooner or later bring to an end their government. This doesn't mean, however, that Jeremy Corbyn along with his hundreds of thousands of supporters in Labour, and millions more outside Labour, can simply wait for this horror story to play out.

Labour re-won its Newport West parliamentary seat in the 4 April byelection, but its reduced majority was a warning sign. In the May local elections Labour-led councils will face great anger at brutal cuts in services which they shouldn't have been making. In a European election some anger will be directed at Labour by working class people if Corbyn doesn't project out a clear, bold, pro-working class Brexit alternative.

Getting out a socialist message in those elections is vital and necessary preparation for Corbyn's Labour to not just win a general election, but to win it with a large enough majority to be able to actually deliver the socialist policies that the overwhelming majority in society so desperately need.

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 17 April 2019:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 17 April 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Tories:

triangleTesting: Tories' 5bn gift to private sector

triangleYes to self-identity

triangleTories put profit before lives

triangleTories sinking in Wales but no enthusiasm for Welsh Labour

triangleFight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care

Socialist Alternative:

triangleCapitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative

triangleSocialist change to end climate change

triangleIndia General election shows crying need for independent socialist alternative

triangleLocal elections 2019: Time to stand up and fight the cuts!

Socialist:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The collapse of stalinism

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: The socialist case for nationalisation

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Class struggle and the role of the working class in changing society

Austerity:

triangleBoris's new big deal

triangleNews in brief

Election:

triangleUCU: election victory for combative rank and file

European:

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

Elections:

triangleEquity union president elections

EU:

triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Splits in the EU

Labour:

triangleSocialist Party Wales: Starmer turns Labour right - Time for a new workers' party

UKIP:

triangleMay ends in June! Boot out the Tories!

Brexit:

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Britain after Brexit

General election:

triangleCouncil cuts could cost Labour another general election

Government:

triangleHong Kong: The fight for democratic rights

MPs:

triangleCapitalism and corruption go hand in hand

Parliament:

triangleDefend the right to strike! RMT and NSSN lobby parliament

Theresa May:

triangleTheresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

Conservative party:

triangleTV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

Councillors:

triangleCumbria: Teachers, parents and socialists fight reckless school reopening

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

8/7/20

Socialism

Fight for every job. Fight for socialism

8/7/20

Care workers

Johnson blames care workers for deaths

8/7/20

Leicester

End the scandal of sweatshop labour

8/7/20

Young people

No choice but to fight the system

8/7/20

Northern Ireland

Covid pandemic and Northern Ireland - workers must resist the bosses' offensive

8/7/20

Green

3bn green pledge: not enough for climate or jobs

8/7/20

Care Homes

No going back: Nationalise social care!

8/7/20

NHS

Tory NHS betrayal

8/7/20

Super-rich

1,600 less benefits if your job goes - while super-rich splash cash

8/7/20

Tories

Testing: Tories' 5bn gift to private sector

8/7/20

BAME

Poverty rises again - especially for BAME workers

8/7/20

Workers

Them and us

1/7/20

Coronavirus

Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives

1/7/20

Trans rights

Yes to self-identity

1/7/20

Waste

Plastic waste ignored

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


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