Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 September 2003

Blair Hit By Anger And Disillusionment

THE LOSS of the Brent East by-election is more than a mid-term blip for New Labour. The Labour majority of 13,047 in the general election was wiped out in its first parliamentary by-election defeat in 15 years and reflects deep-seated anger and disillusionment towards Labour's policies.

With a turnout of only 36% most people, including many who used to vote Labour, realised that there was no difference between the main parties and stayed at home.

Robert Evans, who was the Labour candidate, commented that Labour's policies of investment into public services "haven't yet filtered through to voters." What has filtered through is the fact that public services have been devastated by this government.

There is widespread opposition to top-up tuition fees, foundation hospitals and the privatisation of public services. Labour also appear to have just noticed that there is rising fury at council tax rises.

However, their response is to warn councils not to increase this tax but to reduce their budgets even further, thereby making local services for people even worse.

The Hutton inquiry reminds us daily of the lies and intrigue used by this government to go to war against Iraq.

All these issues were exploited by the Liberal Democrats who won the seat. They now have their highest number of seats in parliament since 1929.

This raises the issue of whether the Liberal Democrats could challenge Labour at the next election.

By-election victories often do not translate into a general election victory. People voted tactically in Brent East seeing the Liberals as being able to defeat Labour.

In Brent East they targeted the Muslim and Hindu community (who would once have loyally voted Labour) posing as the anti-war party, while also highlighting the appalling state of council services.

Yet the Liberals are just another big-business party and so have no solution to declining public services. Nevertheless, it's not ruled out that they could take over from the Tories as Labour's main opposition.

90% of their top 100 target seats are currently held by the Tories.

Such is the scale of this defeat and growing distrust towards this government, even senior Labour ministers are now discussing the possibility of Labour losing the next general election.

Blunkett declared: "If we don't change then we die" but insists that privatisation of our services must continue.

However, the woeful state of mainstream political opposition to New Labour means that, even with mass abstentions, they could still go on to win the next election.

The fact that over 10% of voters in Brent East voted for non-establishment parties shows the potential that a new mass workers' party could have.

This election defeat has increased the possibility of Blair being replaced. But even if Labour make some small concessions in the aftermath of this result, their core policies will remain, whoever leads the party.

Brown is facing a growing budget deficit which he can only rectify with more cuts or higher taxes.

Some leaders of the trade unions and others on the left believe that Labour can be reclaimed by the Left. However working class people need an alternative now; a political voice to counter Blair's policies and to organise campaigns and protests to channel this growing anger.

Such political representatives do exist. Joe Higgins and Clare Daly - Socialist Party MP and councillor in Dublin - are serving time in jail for leading campaigns in their community against the unjust bin taxes.

We need MPs and councillors of this calibre everywhere, backed by a new workers' party which can offer a real alternative to New Labour.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 27 September 2003:

Iraq: Imperialism's Quagmire

Fighting The BNP In Stoke

Solidarity With The Day X Protesters

Anti-bin tax protesters Jailed for defending the poor

Blair Hit By Anger And Disillusionment

Why The Anti-War Movement Needs A New Party

Renewed Bloodshed As Palestinian State Becomes Distant Prospect


Home   |   The Socialist 27 September 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangleBlairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy


triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleCorbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

triangleUS: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

Public services:

triangleSave our NHS

trianglePFI privateers dodge tax

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


triangleStop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers


North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise


Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice