Tories on way out: Prepare to fight for our jobs and services

Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party Executive Committee

The crises for Sunak and the Tories intensify daily. Tory MP Dan Poulter, a practising doctor, has defected to Labour, on the grounds that the party no longer cares about public services. “I have to be able to look my NHS colleagues and patients in the eye”.

As the Socialist goes to press, heavy losses are expected for the Tories in the 2 May local elections. On the eve of the election, the Tories announced they were rushing to deport people to Rwanda, in a desperate move to try to shore up support of traditional Tory voters. 21% of Tory councillors have told a new poll that they have thought of defecting.

At the same time, the SNP is in collapse in Scotland.

All this increases even further the likelihood of a Starmer government. But the fact that Poulter was welcomed with open arms by Keir Starmer says all we need to know about the character of that government. Poulter was a Tory health minister under David Cameron. The desperate state of the NHS as it went into Covid, underfunded and understaffed, while private companies sucked the lifeblood out of it through rampant privatisation, all existed under his watch.

Yet Starmer said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Dr Dan Poulter to today’s changed Labour Party.”

At the same time, protests were taking place in Hackney calling for the whip to be restored to left-wing Labour MP Diane Abbott. Jeremy Corbyn is still banned, along with several others.

Starmer’s commitments to stick to Tory spending plans, and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting’s enthusiasm for extending private sector involvement in the NHS, underline whose side a Starmer-led government would be on.

That’s why the Socialist Party has been part of a 280-strong stand in the local elections, as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), putting forward a fighting, anti-austerity, anti-war socialist stand and arguing the case for pro-worker candidates to stand in the general election.

A workers’ list of candidates, especially if a number were elected, could apply big pressure to a Starmer government. The announcement on nationalisation of the railways shows why it is so important that the trade unions mount serious campaigns, demonstrating their determination to fight for their members both industrially and politically. 

This issue of the Socialist was produced before the local election results were known. But what is clear is that working-class people need to get ready to fight for our interests, no matter what.

Read more about all these issues inside:

  • Why the socialist party stands as part of TUSC
  • SNP crisis
  • Nationalisation
  • Rwanda