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Syriza’s shows Labour how to prevent vote haemorrhage to Greens, SNP & UKIP

10381881_sIt would be idle to pretend that Britain’s economic problems resemble those of Greece when the latter has suffered a 25% reduction in its national income and where three out of every five young adults are now out of work. But there is one parallel between them which is shared by both countries, as well as several others in the EU, and that is increasing resistance to endless austerity.

Osbornomics has not produced a genuine or sustainable recovery, but rather an elongated austerity which offers not the faintest hope of escape within the foreseeable future. Promises of clearing the structural budget deficit by 2019-20 are pure moonshine when the deficit is still hovering around a monstrous £100bn and actually starting to rise again this year. If Osborne got his way with the £25bn further cuts, including £12bn in social benefits, which he has promised for the next Parliament, the one certainty is that the deficit problem won’t remotely be solved, but the anger will finally blow the roof off the whole of Osborne’s ‘back to the 1930s’ project.

But one might well ask, why has he got away with it for so long? There are basically two reasons which interact between themselves. One is the sheer power of the Thatcherite ideology by which the (Tory) political and economic elite have for the last three decades enriched themselves massively at the expense of the rest of the nation and through networking with the controllers of the finance sector, the media and the multinational corporates have established a dominance which until recently seemed impregnable. Opposition to it was either ignored, vilified or laughed out of court. But the dam burst with the momentous victory of Syriza, the ripples of which will play out across the whole of the EU, including the UK, over the next few years.

The second reason is the poverty of challenge from the Labour party which remains the one single force in the country which can stop the Tory marauding in its tracks. Ed Miliband has bravely championed the fight against predatory capitalism, and Ed Balls has carefully excluded capital expenditure from Labour’s spending cuts. But sadly, so far at least, this has been for the cognoscenti who read the small print, it’s not the message that’s getting across on the streets of Britain.

That’s why Labour is now at risk of haemorrhaging votes to the leftish-seeming SNP in Scotland, to the Greens increasingly voicing the Left’s message, to LibDem deserters from the coalition who may now be drifting further leftwards to the Greens, and even (impossible as it may sound) to UKIP for whom a sense of insecurity and abandonment is a major driving force. There has never been a time when a radical Left message from Labour was more needed.

Image copyright: aaronamat / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. Rod says:

    “the poverty of challenge from the Labour party which remains the one single force in the country which can stop the Tory marauding in its tracks.”

    Why on earth should the Labour Party choose to stop the Tories? I understand that Labour MPs will want their turn in ministerial limousines, but a change of policy? That’s just too far-fetched.

    The Labour Party is pro-austerity and pro-TTIP. If there is a UK politcal party that will stop Tory marauding in its tracks it ain’t the Labour Party.

    1. Robert says:

      Totally agree well said.

      1. David Melvin says:

        Totally right – the left in Labour deep down know it’s a lost cause – austerity, Trident, fracking, TTIP. Go for the Greens, Plaid or the SNP – the anti-austerity alliance.

        1. Jon Lansman says:

          Labour may be a hard-to-win cause for the Left, but it’s not a lost cause.The next UK governmentwill be led either by Labour or by the Tories. If the Greens, Plaid and SNP do hold the balance, they will have to reach an agreement with Labour to have any influence but Labour’s leaders may prefer a deal wit the Lib Dems. The best chance of forcing Labour to turn against austerity is through pressure from an anti-austerity movement combined with the pressure within the party from the trade unions and the membership. The Greens and Plaid may have better policy in theory (the SNP don’t – their leadership are closer to business interests than Ed Miliband) but are less able to put their policies into practice than the Labour Left.

          1. David Melvin says:

            A good point Jon. If only the Labour party leadership agreed with you. Please keep up the fight!

          2. Rod says:

            Jon: “less able to put their policies into practice than the Labour Left.”

            How did you work that out?

            Labour’s conference, with backing from trade unions, voted to take the Royal Mail back into public ownership (if the LP is elected in 2015).

            Yet the vote was slapped-down point blank by the Labour elite. “It will not happen” they said.

            And how about Labour’s other policies: pro-austerity, support for fracking, pro-TTIP, support for military intervention in Libya, and support for a punitive strike against Assad (until Cameron threw the towel in).

            Even Burnham, the Left’s great leadership hope (by ‘eck!), admitted on Newsnight that there’s a role for the private sector with the NHS.

            Please Jon, don’t keep up the fight within Labour. You’re old enough to know better.

          3. Jon Lansman says:

            Rod: “less able to put their policies into practice than the Labour Left.”
            Because they won’t form a UK government in the forseeable future except with Labour as the major partner.

          4. Rod says:

            Jon: “they won’t form a UK government”

            Yet UKIP has exerted considerable influence, even before it had a single MP in the Commons.

            And according to today’s press even the Labour Party is responding with UKIP-like policies. It seems that UKIP supporters/voters don’t even have to join the LP to influence LP policy. A new Labour Party election leaflet has a section titled: “Labour’s tough new approach to immigration”.

            So much for the Left’s influence.

            The reality is that because Labour’s elite know they can rely on your vote they know they can ignore you.

  2. Robert says:

    Plaid for god sake they are as dead as the dodo or the Liberals they have backed labour once to often.

    Greens maybe.

  3. James Martin says:

    I can see Green support falling rather than rising as the election gets closer and their muddled (and often highly reactionary) thinking gets exposure. If anyone saw the awful cringe-worthy performance of Natalie Bennett at the hands of some pretty mild probing by Andrew Neil on the last Sunday Politics you’ll know what I mean. My jaw is still on the floor after she failed to come up with a coherent answer to their policy that supports UK citizens having active membership of death-cult fascist organisations like ISIS and al qaeda…

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