Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/621/9398
What we think
Left candidates excluded from media
Seemingly endless column inches in the mainstream press are devoted to analysing meaningless sound bites from the top politicians and how they look and smile. Similarly with television and radio. Only one ideology is promoted, that of the pro-big business consensus of the main parties.
Small parties like the Greens and UKIP are given the occasional hearing. But the big business media owners prevent left-wing ideas from being heard, because they know these ideas oppose dictatorial, undemocratic ownership and control of industry and the media and are a threat to their prestige and enormous wealth, as well as that of their big business friends. This makes it very difficult for left-wing candidates to be heard, because this general election is being fought more than ever before on television and radio.
This is not democracy. A democratic election would mean opening up the media to include alternative points of view. There are hundreds of left and anti-cuts candidates standing in the general election but most people cannot hear their ideas. Some are 'independent' candidates or anti-cuts trade unionists. The Socialist Party is standing 20 candidates as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
If these candidates were given access to the media, a real debate with the inclusion of pro-working class and socialist ideas could take place. The election would then have relevance for working class people and the boredom and disengagement of a huge layer of the population could be lifted.
It is not just the media that is suppressing socialist ideas, but local councils also place huge obstacles in the way of election campaigning by smaller parties. Socialist Party branches have often been stopped from booking meeting rooms, displaying posters publicly or having street stalls in certain areas, due to local authority edicts.
Meanwhile people are supposed to get excited because the three main identikit parties have never before been so close together in the polls. But these poll results are a reflection of the lack of appeal of all three of them. There is widespread disillusionment with Labour, while the Tories are soiled by the memory of past Tory governments and their current pledge to make brutal cuts. The LibDems are posing as 'different' but are fundamentally the same.
Nine out of ten leading world investment funds surveyed by the Financial Times said they would be equally happy to see a Labour or Conservative government. That says it all about the lack of difference. The fund managers were only worried about a hung parliament, in case it finds it harder to inflict draconian public sector cuts.
A hung parliament is clearly possible, but these fat cats need not worry too much about that eventuality, given the desire to slash the public debt shared by New Labour, the Tories and the LibDems. Instead they should worry about the reaction of trade unionists to the cuts that the post-election government will try to make, whatever its composition.
This reaction needs to be as strong and unified as possible, because while the three pro-Thatcherite capitalist parties are competing in front of the television cameras for the privileges and prestige of power, working class people are crying out for measures and action in their interests. Already suffering or fearing unemployment, low pay, debt, insecurity, stress, poor housing, or lack of services, workers will have been completely horrified to hear the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development predict there will be over half a million public sector redundancies, ie 10% of the entire public sector workforce.
In the same week as this prediction, the London School of Economics revealed that the top 10% of earners are now taking home nearly a third of the UK's total wage bill. With this unprecedented chasm between the classes in society, it is almost unbelievable that working class people are so disenfranchised at present.
Following on from this undemocratic election and its unwanted result, it is extremely urgent that moves are stepped up towards forming an organised political voice for workers. In the meantime, during the election campaign, everything possible must be done to build support for the candidates standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and other genuine left and anti-cuts candidates.
In The Socialist 21 April 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party workplace news