Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/157/7801
Labour's Running Scared At Socialist Success
LAST WEEK'S elections delivered a decisive blow against New Labour's pro-big business policies. Ken Livingstone's victory, the Socialist Party winning a third council seat in Coventry and the excellent results for socialists standing in London's elections show that working-class voters are increasingly looking for an alternative to the Left of Labour.
Particularly significant was the stunning victory of Rob Windsor becoming the third Socialist Party councillor in Coventry, polling 1,182 votes. Socialist Party candidates in Merseyside, Carlisle and other areas also achieved tremendous votes.
In London's elections, Ken Livingstone won a decisive victory with over three-quarters of a million votes. Left candidates and Socialists standing in the Assembly elections received over 80,000, including the Socialist Party's Ian Page, who received just under 4,000 votes in Greenwich and Lewisham - 4.2%.
Until now Labour basked complacently in the belief that it had the next election in the bag. The Tories were seen as discredited and Labour believed there would be no real opposition to it. Now Labour, incredibly, says it begins its " fight back" but who are they fighting back against?
Labour's fight back consists of attacking the weakest sections of society and favouring the rich. New Labour say they intend to continue privatising the tube and air traffic control, following their electoral drubbing. Chancellor Brown's response to is to offer more tax relief for big business and harder crackdowns on benefit claimants.
After this year's meltdown, Home Secretary Jack Straw breathtakingly suggested millions of Labour's voters didn't vote because the Tories were an "ineffective opposition". It's true most voters won't look to the discredited Tories for an alternative to New Labour - their humiliation in Romsey showed that. What does William Hague offer but more intolerance, more racism and more crackdowns on working-class people?
But if Labour are confident that their problems are only the "ineffective Tories" why are they running scared?
The local elections show the potential for a new mass party of the working class to be established. The Socialist Party will strive to ensure working-class people have a Left and socialist alternative to vote for in elections. But we'll also be campaigning alongside working-class people to start a fight back and win support for fighting socialist policies, to ensure that Labour's anti- working-class policies are defeated.
In The Socialist 12 May 2000: