Socialist Party documents

British Perspectives 2008


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General election

As stated previously, it is still too early to predict the outcome of the next general election. The gap between the three establishment parties on fundamental policies is non-existent. As a result the opinion polls can swing dramatically on the basis of secondary episodic issues making election perspectives very difficult.

Nonetheless, one growing possibility is undoubtedly a Tory majority government. If the Tories do win the next election it will be on the basis of a low turnout. However, there is a section of middle-class voters and even a layer of workers, particularly in the South and the Midlands, who have bought into David Cameron's attempt to rebrand the Tory party as a 'nice' party.

In reality, Cameron's Tories remain brutally neo-liberal despite his attempts to dress up their policies in a slick 'Blairite' gloss.

Unfortunately for him, 'Blairism' is hardly popular with voters! In the sick merry-go-round of capitalist politics each generation of party leaders models themselves on what has gone before.

Just as Blair praised and imitated Thatcher, Cameron now praises and imitates Blair, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their predecessors are now hated for their vicious pro-big business policies.

It may sometimes seem difficult to imagine a government more viciously anti-working class than New Labour.

However, there is no doubt that a Tory government would markedly accelerate the destruction of the public sector, even in comparison to what New Labour is doing.

In those circumstances it would become much harder for the trade union leaders to hold back struggle as the 'bogeyman' of a return to the Tories would no longer exist.

Another possibility is some kind of coalition. Both New Labour and the Tories have been trying to woo the Liberal Democrats with their 'big-tent' politics.

Under Nick Clegg's 'orange-book' neo-liberal leadership a coalition government with either major party is perfectly possible.

Clegg has indicated he is willing to consider a Tory/Liberal coalition. This would be a Tory government by another name, and would enrage the working class in just the same way.

It would lead to a massive undermining of the Liberal Party. A Labour/Liberal coalition is also possible. In the past many of the most conscious workers opposed Labour entering coalitions. Today, however, New Labour's transformation into a capitalist party has partially negated this aspect of workers' outlook.

Few workers have objected to Brown's attempts at Lib/Lab cooperation for the good reason that it has meant no change in policy from the previous New Labour administrations.

A formal coalition, however, would still be seen as something different. There is not a tradition of coalition governments in Britain. Brown would be forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats from a position of weakness, having failed to win a majority in parliament.

To do so, especially with the Liberal Democrats having entered a new more new right-wing phase, might well sound the death knell for Brown.


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