Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/427/5012

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2006

Dunfermline by-election:

Labour's pro-business policies are punished

THE DUNFERMLINE and West Fife by-election on 9 February was a major defeat for New Labour. The Liberal-Democrats overturned an 11,000 Labour majority in a solidly working-class constituency - with a big ex-mining community that had formerly elected Communist Willie Gallacher as MP and in a constituency where Tony Blair's heir-apparent Gordon Brown lives.

Philip Stott, CWI Scotland

The Lib Dems won with a 16% swing from Labour whose vote fell from 47% in May 2005 to 31% this time around on a 49% turnout. New Labour ministers try to explain this debacle as a result of "local issues."

These "local issues" included a factory closure costing 700 jobs, the threatened transfer of hospital services from Dunfermline and the possible increase in the cost of tolls over the Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh.

Ironically these last two issues are devolved to the Scottish parliament where the Lib Dems are in coalition with New Labour. As part of the Scottish Executive they have overseen a wholesale attack on local health provision in Scotland. This didn't stop their candidate from cynically coming out against hospital cuts.

It was primarily intense anger at their pro-business, pro-war and anti-working class policies, and particularly the hatred of Blair, at the heart of the government's crushing defeat.

In the absence of a mass working-class alternative another big-business party, the Lib Dems, are increasingly seen as a vehicle for anti-government protest in Scotland.

This is the first time since World War Two that Labour have lost a seat to the Lib Dems in a Scottish by-election. However, at last year's general election the Lib Dems increased their support significantly in Glasgow, Edinburgh and across the central belt of Scotland.

In the past the semi-radical Scottish National Party (SNP) have been the main beneficiaries of anti-government protest in Scotland. But their move to the neo-liberal right, and particularly the softening of the mood around the national question, has set the SNP back significantly in the last few years.

As election analyst John Curtice commented: "It is the worst SNP result in a by-election since 1982 on the change in share of the votes. The SNP's potential as the natural repository for protest votes is now undermined."

'Left nationalism'

THE SCOTTISH Socialist Party (SSP) suffered a very bad result. Despite the candidate being the well-respected left-wing former Dundee Labour MP and MSP John McAllion, the SSP vote fell compared to May 2005 to 1.5% from 1.6%.

The SSP vote across Scotland last May was 1.9%, a fall from 3.1% in the 2001 general election - a 40% drop in the national vote. This result poses urgent challenges for the SSP. There are as yet no signs that the party is recovering public support from the crisis following Tommy Sheridan's resignation as party convenor in November 2004.

Even more seriously, the SSP leadership have made a turn towards left nationalism, playing down a socialist and class programme, while launching a cross-party campaign for independence with the pro-business SNP and the Greens. This move, when support for independence has fallen in the last few years, could further impede a possible recovery for the SSP.

The CWI platform in the SSP is putting forward an alternative programme that would see the party prioritising issues immediately affecting working-class people - pensions, job cuts and the bosses' offensive against the working class - while at all times linking these struggle to the need to fight for a socialist Scotland as part as the struggle for socialism internationally.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 16 February 2006:

Troops out of Iraq

Fight for your future

Hands off our schools!

ID cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

The real cost of BP mega-profits

Universities and the arms trade

Haitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

Building an alternative to the profit system

New Labour attacks the sick and disabled

Keep fighting New Labour's Education Bill

Labour's pro-business policies are punished

The housing scandal

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

Striking postal workers build support

Sick of the system

Marching for jobs and services


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 February 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Election:

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

Labour:

triangleNo fudge with the right wing

triangleBuilding support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

triangleHaringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

triangleMcDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

Scotland:

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

CWI:

triangleBrazil: Lula conviction confirmed

triangleCape Town drought

SNP:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/2/18

Haringey

No fudge with the right wing

15/2/18

TUSC

TUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

14/2/18

Haringey

Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

14/2/18

UCU

Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

14/2/18

Cardiff

Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig

14/2/18

Carlisle

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

14/2/18

Firefighters

Staines fire services saved

14/2/18

Surrey

Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

14/2/18

Woolwich

Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

14/2/18

London

Sadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

14/2/18

Mansfield

Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

8/2/18

Newham

Teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

7/2/18

Unison

Unison national women's conference

7/2/18

Royal Mail

Royal Mail forced back under threat of action

7/2/18

Walthamstow

'Occupy to save the town square'

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999