Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/387/4378
What we think
General election - main parties ignore real issues
SO THEY'RE off and running in the general election stakes. But for ordinary voters looking for a party to back there appear to be more and bigger obstacles than anything in the Grand National course.
All the main establishment parties seem to be in a race to the bottom in terms of the policy options they are presenting to voters. Rather than asking us how we would like to see our lives improved, we are being asked how far we want to see public services privatised and how many jobs should be cut.
Fundamental issues like the increasing wealth gap in British society; the continuing deterioration of public services; the attacks on pensions and the continuing cost of the occupation of Iraq will be painstakingly avoided by Labour, Liberal and Tories.
Blair had the cheek, when calling the election, to say that "the British people are the boss" and the ones who will make the choice. But if this were true then why hasn't Blair listened to the majority who opposed the war and occupation of Iraq or the majority who want the rail industry to be renationalised and privatisation of public services to stop?
Blair wants your votes in this election but his real bosses after the election, as now, will be President Bush and international big business.
Most voters will increasingly see this as the 'no choice' election with all main parties the same. For many of those who do eventually vote, they are likely to see it as a choice over which authoritarian liar you least want elected.
That is not to say that there are not big issues that people want addressed. It's just that none of the main parties are addressing them. To reinterpret the Tories' election slogan, none of the main parties are thinking what the voters are thinking; instead they tell us what the politicians feel we should be thinking.
In some areas voters will have a real choice where there will be Socialist Party and other socialist and anti-privatisation candidates. The Socialist Party is standing 16 candidates and will be fighting on issues that really matter to working people.
But even if you think this election gives you no choice in terms of which vote to cast, there is the choice of fighting against the capitalist system the establishment capitalist parties uphold.
After the election working-class people and the trade unions will increasingly come into collision with the pro-business agenda of whichever party wins.
The election campaign gives socialists a chance to promote the idea, in working-class communities and amongst trade unionists in particular, that the alternative of a new mass workers' party, initiated by the trade unions, is urgently needed and can be built.
In The Socialist 7 April 2005: