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:


triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish


triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

triangleMagic money tree

Public services:

triangleLabour mayor needs to stop all cuts

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!


triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Justice for Tube cleaners demo



Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



Workplace news in brief


Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



Too much to cross the Mersey


Royal Mail

Set for national strike action



Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

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



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