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It’s going to be a long five years

2eqdqfkI really didn’t want to be writing this. At the very least I was hoping to have a Kremlinological geek out over possible coalition combinations. But no. The worst came to pass. Not only were the Conservatives the largest party, but contrary to everything I’ve written about them this last two-and-a-half years they scraped the thinnest of majorities. The lesson there is never think the Tories win elections from the centre ground when they can rally irrationality and fear to their standard.

So here we are. Five more years of Osborne, May, Shapps, Hunt, IBS, Hammond, Soubry, Fallon … a grotesques’ gallery if there ever was one. Yet what we do know with certainty is the one man who won’t be there is Dave, who will swan off when he feels his work is done – presumably after the referendum on EU membership.

All said, one thing doesn’t change. As one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so one Tory majority does not mean a reversal of their long-term decline. It’s cold comfort, but even after pulling out all the stops throwing money at the election, scaremongering and promising uncosted policy goodies, they could only manage a wafer thin majority. To do it again they have to gerrymander the system, which they’re bent on doing. But, again, in pursuing their short-term interests they place the entire constitutional set up – a system they want to conserve – under intolerable pressure.

That, however, is for another time. For now, it’s nice to know that the next five years are going to be excruciating for the Tories. Who knows whether they’ll survive the EU referendum as a discrete entity. Oh, and the small matter of Scotland hasn’t gone away. Nor has the effective disenfranchisement of two thirds of voters from an election system that is obviously broken (full disclosure: I’m a STV fan). Unfortunately, the most vulnerable people in Britain are going to get the pain well before the Tories are put on the rack.

Just look at this list of social security “reform”. A stricter work capability assessment. Limiting state support to families of an arbitrary size. No housing benefit or incapacity-related benefits for the under 25s. They’re even thinking about abolishing statutory maternity pay. And we know these truly awful policies are what all Tories, whether of the “nice chap” tendency of your Jo Johnsons, Edward Timpsons, and Jeremy Lefroys; or the red-in-tooth degenerates of, well, the rest of them; care about.

Regardless of how the coming fratricidal warfare plays out, not one of them will have the slightest qualms tramping through the Aye lobby over the bodies of the disabled, the jobless, and the destitute. This is why the Tories are front loading their legislative programme and ramming it through during the first 100 days. They believe, as per the Labour leadership contest in 2010, the party will be too introspective to act as a rallying point, thereby leaving it to the SNP to make the noises (and craftily undermining Labour’s remaining social justice creds).

Secondly, while Dave still has a majority he can get it through without some Commons footsie with the DUP who, despite their legion of awful faults, would have issues with the impact such policies would have in their working class constituencies. And lastly, it frees up Parliamentary time for the unnecessary EU nonsense.

As a party that is structurally myopic, by condemning people as outside mainstream society they run the risk of building a coalition against them. The okay-off relative of the cancer sufferer expected to undertake some work instead of convalesce. The parents having grown up kids at home because they’re too young for housing benefit. Knowing families whose kids go hungry because child benefit is limited to the two. And, in what would really be the death knell of the Tory party, stop paying new mums’ maternity pay.

Not only are these things morally abhorrent they’re economically illiterate, they shut down flows of money around the economy that keeps businesses as well as families afloat. There are limits to what they can get away with when it comes to social security – if they transgress them the point will come when it bites them hard.

The poorest are in for a terrible time. And the country itself will suffer as the (still ongoing) investment strike by the Tories’ big business pals continue, and is likely to deepen thanks to Dave boxing himself in over an EU referendum. As the Conservative Party slides further into collective senility, it will be you, me, and almost everyone reading this that will feel its effects.

23 Comments

  1. Barry Ewart says:

    Firstly the result for Labour was bad and of course Scotland made it look worse.
    I said in previous posts that if Scottish Labour backed Murphy for Leader then they were voting for oblivion and probably denying Labour in the UK a majority but they did not listen.
    We all have felt a sense of mourning and first their is grief at the loss then possibly anger then acceptance and then fight back!
    The grotesque Tories will try to crush working class people more and hit the professional middle class.
    The general middle class (socialised to vote Tory) may feel smug for a while (to quote a line from a Bowie song,’The people from good homes are talking this year’) but we need to fight, fight, fight!
    We need a dynamic progressive vision to win working class and progressive middle class people to our ideas – we should become a political party again and promote political education.
    Ideologically we also need to take on the general middle class to try to win them to the progressive middle class.
    We also need to try to win the millions of non-voters (tragically 35% of the electorate) and remember only about 24% of the electorate voted Tory.
    They set neighbour against neighbour and we need to unite neighbours.
    We also need to learn that the Tories mean the opposite of what they say ‘One Nation’ means ‘Rich and Powerful’, ‘National Interest’ means ‘Big business interests’.
    The mourning is over, time to fight back.
    Love & Solidarity!

  2. David Ellis says:

    It could be a long five years especially as New Labour are turning a slim Tory majority into a landslide by refusing to work with the SNP.

    On the other hand. The chaos that the EU referendum will induce particularly if the vote is to come out will be monumental and we must take advantage. Vote Out – For a Socialist EU.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Any new leader of the Labour Party must not only be prepared to work with the SNP in parliament but should invite them to fill some of their shadow cabinet posts otherwise the slim Tory majority starts to look like a landslide thanks to New Labour sectarianism and intransigence. The Left should stand a candidate for the leadership on that basis.

  3. David Ellis says:

    Labour’s collapse or Pasokification really is the end of an era. Whilst the ruling class gloat at its demise they are really looking at their own. Labour was established to funnel some of the crumbs of empire to a conservative labour aristocracy to buy off revolution. There are no more crumbs. There isn’t even a loaf. These are the objective circumstances behind Labour’s demise: the bankruptcy of British capitalism.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Yes Labour’s demise shows that British capitalism is fast on its way to becoming a third world shit pit with a ruling class that once bestrode the world reduced to a tiny parasitic and fascistic elite on the outskirts of the capitalist empire. New Labour will provide the ideological rationalisations for this transformation because for it there really is no alternative.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        In many respects this looks like the typical end game of post war American foreign policy, (“America’s mission to the world,”) in which Thatchers part will probably come to be viewed as that of willing and gullible stooge.

        We have ceased to be a politically independent nation of producers, (our industrial base is long gone,) and what few natural resources we posses are already being stripped by foreign companies for example, and have become instead a nation of consumers of American products and services unable to muster the will or the financial resources to escape the trap of the IMF and the World Bank, who will not lend money for state projects or services only for private, (American,) investment.

        The kind of poverty, brutality and inequality that characterize the ascendancy of NeoLibral economics all over the world are coming a huge shock to much of the UK, but this really just the beginning of the end, anyone looking around at other places where these policies have been inflicted on formerly sovereign and independent nation can see exactly where all this is going.

        1. David Ellis says:

          Thatcher and Reagan launched the second Cold War because it was becoming clear that treacherous Stalinist leadership notwithstanding the economically stagnant West far from containing the Soviet Union was in danger of becoming contained by it. In the process of winning and attempting to establish post-Cold War hegemony it has become pretty clear that the West merely added bankruptcy to stagnation via the thirty year City and Wall St credit bubble that spread like a cancer across the capitalist world. Since 2008 capitalism has ceased to function as a means of production in any meaningful sense and we are witnessing a mere scramble for resources as the rich call in their markers. This is the mechanism for the greatest redistribution of wealth from poor to rich in the history of the world which is now set to accelerate even further and is the reason that the real economy is being snuffed out. All talk of aspiration in these circumstances are the ramblings of a fool.

      2. John P Reid says:

        I can’t believe his, because I can’t see labour winning again for 20 years unless, someone new working class, who knows the north stands ,takes a 10 year rebuilding project, Ema Reynolds, Gloria, John Mann, or Cruddas ETC, at this rate may have to vote Yvette, with an eye to stop the others
        ,!

  4. Robert says:

    Labour messed up it wanted to be seen as being Tory with Blue labour and Pink labour and Purple labour and Disraeli one nation labour, the one thing it did not do was use the colour red.

    Now I think Chuka will get the backing of Blair and Mandy and then you will see Sugar sneaking back, and the Progress party will take power, they will tell the Unions your out but first we want the political levy, the Unions will get rid of the political levy and then labour will be hoping praying the Millionaires will help it.

    Blue labour or Blue Tory why bother with the copy when the real thing is in power.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Pretty much, and I can’t really believe that his personal and his political party’s annihilation at the election, (by a very lackluster Conservative campaign,) will have discombobulated Miliband in the least, he still a multi millionaire property speculator, living in £2.6 million North London Mansion, married to a lass on £200K pa, so I doubt he’s that bothered and that’s probably why Labor lost, (among other reasons.)

      Personally I was so appalled by them, (post Blair Labor,) that I made a point of voting UKIP; not because I support them or their policies, (I don’t,) but because I have come to so despise the whole rotten sticky fingered crew that almost anything, even 5 years of the Tories and everything that will entail was preferable to lending them slightest legitimacy.

    2. Jon says:

      And yet you voted labour

  5. David Pavett says:

    Some on the left, including a number on Left Futures, tried to convince themselves that Labour had moved to the left and represented a viable alternative (with many caveats of course).

    That was a long way from convincing. Labour is a pro-capitalist, neo-liberal thinking, internally undemocratic organisation. What could you expect?

    Labour had no economic analysis to the extent that it kept quiet even when lies where told about its period in government.

    It offered a range of absurdly reactionary solutions from education to defence which should have no place in any sort of progressive agenda.

    The problem for the left is its role in all this. In the lead up to the July NPF meeting I could not believe the inactivity from the left. Some of use tried to urge activity from the start of the discussion period but groups like CPLD responded only at the last minute and with responses which were clearly made up on the spot and took no account of preceding discussion. We cannot go on like this and expect to be taken seriously.

    1. David Ellis says:

      The Labour Left are part of the problem. They were never any more than a protest voice which always deferred to the right on policy. They have no ideas of their own and no desire to have them. The thought of any kind of power scared them. If they do not put up a challenge to the Blairite Drones in this leadership election their beloved party will soon be pasoked. I don’t think I’ll be mourning its passing any more than I will mourn the passing of British imperialism into bankruptcy and decay. I have alread suggest how they might make a serious challenge and that is by standing on the basis of creating a parliamentary alliance with the SNP including offering them shadow cabinet places that can head an anti-austerity alliance from Lands End to John O’ Groats. They will of course pass on this golden opportunity and that will be that as far as Labour is concerned. A new radical English socialist party with a programme for working class power and the transition to socialism will have to be built from the ashes.

      1. David Ellis says:

        In fact the way the somnambulant Labour left are going large swathes of former labour supporters sick of Blairite crap will be forced to look to UKIP for their `radical’ opposition.

        1. James Martin says:

          Well leave us alone then David. You have made it clear in the past you are not a member of the Party, and yet you insist on regularly boring us all with your lectures. But if we are part of the problem the question arises of why are you even here? Go away and organise your own left rather than being a parasite on one that for all our faults actually exists…

          1. David Pavett says:

            (1) Interesting that you think that someone outside the Labour Party cannot have something to say which might be of value to Party members.

            (2) I have not noticed your counter-analysis when I have made efforts to analyse Labour educational policy or encouraged Labour members to participate in Party policy debate.

            (3) You are wrong in point of fact. I am a Labour Party member. This should have been clear to you when I commented on emails sent to Party members.

            (4) I am sorry to have passed your boredom threshold but, judging by the feedback I have had, your threshold is somewhat lower than it is for many others.

          2. Matty says:

            I read James’s comment as a reply to David Ellis not Daivd Pavett but easy to see how there might be confusion.

          3. James Martin says:

            Lol, I was actually replying to Comrade Ellis. Too many Davids on here, or not a clear enough link to which comments get which replies perhaps!

  6. Barry Ewart says:

    I repeat my point that 35% of people didn’t vote and who will try to win them?
    The Tories only got I think 24% of the total electorate!
    But the danger for democratic socialists in Labour is that we stop dreaming of a possible beautiful, dynamic, progressive society (and working with sister international parties such a World).
    Should we accept the Blair/Progress Neo-Liberal model which Tariq Ali describes as, the extreme centre?
    I am in Labour because I am a democratic socialist and it has a very decent grassroots (working class and progressive middle class) and because it is where the trade unions are.
    I am also a LRC member.
    I would of course support John McDonnell (and why should just MPs have the say in nominating leadership candidates?)
    If not John then perhaps only Andy Burnham who sounds ok although I admit I don’t know enough yet about him.
    I try to fight on the side of the oppressed but admit I am getting tired of being led by people who seem to be politicians first.
    Who will speak for our dreams?
    But is it working class people who will be crushed further by the Tories and the progressive middle class will also be hit; so as well as sorting ourselves out we must always remember to try to lacerate the Tories.
    A trade unionists blogging on the CLASS website after the election made a very good point (as well as continuing to campaign politically) we should all vow to do something kind for the oppressed.
    I vow to, we all should.
    Yours in solidarity!

  7. David Ellis says:

    If the left, and I by no means include David Lammey or Diane Abbot in that description, cannot get a candidate nominated for the leadership election then the Left MPs need to bloc with the SNP in an anti-austerity alliance against the Tories and whatever drone New Labour elects.

    1. neu75 says:

      An alliance with the SNP really would be in the words of Jim Callaghan like turkeys voting for an early Christmas…

      1. David Ellis says:

        No it would be more like an Ostrich removing its head from its arse.

  8. Martin Snell says:

    What few seem to be talking about is the imminent collapse of the British economy, courtesy of George Osborne.
    Removing £12bn directly from aggregate demand through welfare cuts at a time when every statistic beyond the financial services sector looks moribund ( productivity -down, manufacturing – down, current account – down, real wages -down) will only be the first nail.
    A further £12bn demanded of police and fire services, local government and the armed forces will have a (very slightly) less pronounced effect on demand, but almost as profound. Add to that the £22bn of ‘efficiencies’ (read jobs) demanded by the Stevens plan for NHS England and the cumulative effect cannot be (as it was 2010 -12) anything but catastrophic.
    Only this time it will be so much worse.
    The tissue thin walls of the housing bubble artificially manufactured by Osborne to create the impression of a recovery are close to bursting.
    And as we look increasingly like a Nation bound not only for Brexit, but likely to divide internally (the election having made Scotland’s departure a matt matter of when not if) expect the cost of borrowing to the British government from the international money markets to start to rise way beyond the current, historically low, rates.
    And in Oxford, Washington, and Derby, car company executives are already leafing through their maps of Europe…

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