Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 June 2021

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1139

Chesham and Amersham by-election

Urgent need to build alternative to pro-capitalist politicians

Labour Leader Keir Starmer UK ParliamentCC

Labour Leader Keir Starmer UK ParliamentCC   (Click to enlarge)

The myth of Johnson's electoral golden touch has been shattered by the Chesham and Amersham by-election. The Tory vote slumped to 36% - having previously never dropped below 50%. The local issues which drove the revolt appear to have been the building of the HS2 high-speed rail link through their local area, and the government's ripping up of already minimal planning regulations. It is estimated that costs of HS2 could reach a massive 106 billion, almost double the original estimate, and that it is unlikely to reach Leeds and Manchester until 2040! It is a honeypot for private construction companies, while the needs of ordinary commuters, transport workers and communities are ignored.

The government's approach to democratic control of planning and building regulations is also summed up by recent events in Ledbury, Hertfordshire. In March, against the opposition of the local town council, the government gave permission for a housing development. Why? Well just 48 hours earlier John Bloor, the billionaire property developer responsible, had bunged 150,000 into the Tory party coffers.

No wonder voters in Chesham voiced their disgust, picking up the half-dead Liberal Democrats, who don't even oppose HS2, as a means to protest against the Tory government. This will not be the last electoral disaster for Johnson. As post-Covid austerity kicks in, and 'levelling up' fails to materialise, he will face further blows at the ballot box, including in the North and Midlands, which in turn will accelerate the widening of the already deep splits in the Tory party.

For working-class people, however, there is an urgent need to an alternative to the pro-capitalist politicians. That isn't the Liberal Democrats, who have been punished for their participation in the vicious cutting Tory-LibDem coalition government from 2010-15. But nor is it Labour.

The by-election also illustrated the total lack of appeal of Starmer's pro-capitalist Labour. They got their worst ever by-election result of 622 votes, 1.6%. Starmer's primary purpose has been the systematic obliteration of Corbynism, in order to once again make Labour a reliable party from the point of view of the capitalist class. This is now a party that suspends from membership a representative on its national executive committee from Unite - its biggest union affiliate - while welcoming with open arms the previous Tory speaker, John Bercow. These moves have been justified, however, on the grounds of electability! Nothing could be further from the truth. In Chesham and Amersham under Corbyn, Labour got 11,734 votes in 2017 and over 7,000 in 2019.

This by-election is yet another illustration of the need for the workers' movement to create its own political voice, representing the interests, not of the spivs and speculators, but of the working-class majority. We would argue for such a party to put forward a clear socialist programme - based on the nationalisation of the major corporations and banks - so that all their resources could be harnessed to meet need rather than being squandered on the profits of a few. And decisions on housing, transport, and every aspect of our lives could be decided democratically rather than behind closed doors by the bosses and the politicians who represent them.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 23 June 2021:

What we think

Chesham and Amersham by-election


NHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'

Outsourced London hospital workers fight for better pay

Leicester private healthcare tragedy

Exeter Trades Council backs NHS protests


Northern Ireland and Brexit

Sacking non-vaccinated care workers will not save lives

Furlough reduction risks job losses

Building back better? Fight for a socialist recovery

Anti-protest bill breaches human rights

Tories deliberately underfund childcare

Unite election

Unite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham

NSSN conference 2021

NSSN conference 2021: When given a lead workers will fight


Women and the criminal 'injustice' system

Tory review won't deliver justice for rape victims


Iran's presidential election

Are Biden's immigration policies a break with Trump's?

Workplace news

Interview with newly elected Unison NEC member and hospital worker

Gateshead: Bosses sack sparks protesting for safety measures

Oaks Park school strike against bully bosses

Leicestershire engineers' fifth week of strikes against fire and rehire

DVLA dispute: Escalation needed

Warehouse workers fight 50% cut in redundancy pay

Carmarthenshire: Fighting for trade union recognition at council-owned company


TUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns

Youth Fight For Jobs: more urgent than ever

London Socialist Party young members' day school

'Socialism is the hope of the world'

Fighting Fund target smashed!

Readers' Opinion

Book review: Shuggie Bain

Response to Observer article on China


Home   |   The Socialist 23 June 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleStrategy needed to bring members together to take national action

triangleFighting the cuts at the ballot box in Liverpool

triangleAustria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption

triangleNational Education Union deputy general secretary election

triangleGerman election: A change of capitalist government, but disaster for Die Linke


triangleUSA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted - capitalist courts will not defend the working class!

triangleChina: Bureaucracy grapples with new crises

triangleSunak's climate finance agenda typifies capitalism's COP26 failure

triangleTen years on - where has Podemos's radicalism gone?

The Socialist:

triangleSelling the Socialist

triangleObituary: Ted Austin (1940-2021) - working-class socialist stalwart

triangleSocialism 2021: A steely determination to change society


triangleWhat did you think of Socialism 2021?

triangleNorthampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts


triangleTory sleaze scandal continues, an ex-workers' MP responds


triangleSlough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless


triangleNewham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

Liberal Democrats:

triangleWorkers' movement must launch a campaign for a general election

Tory party:

trianglePandora leaks put capitalism in the dock

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Workers' action can defeat weak and divided Tories


Violence against women

End sexism and violence against women



The struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society



Cricket's history of racism and elitism



Working class strangled by price rises and pay cuts



HS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport



Tories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin



Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages



Tory sleaze scandal continues, an ex-workers' MP responds


Climate change

Youth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change



Cuts drag NHS to brink



NHS workers must take action now to save our NHS



Outsourced Barts health workers in strike ballot for a pay rise



Health and care staff shortages worsened by Tory vaccine sacking threat



London MPs' second home swindle while workers and students struggle

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021