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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 June 2004

European and local elections 2004

Blair Takes A Battering

Build A New Workers’ Party

MOST PEOPLE who went out to vote last week, mainly to punish Blair and New Labour, had no illusions that the outcome of the elections would improve their lives.

Jane James

Immediately after the election results interest rates were hiked up, hitting anyone forced to borrow money - for mortgages as well as basic essentials.

Throughout Europe a pattern emerged of people using their vote to protest at the policies of the parties in power.

In fact, the higher turnout in the elections in Britain and the battering given to Labour would indicate an even greater anger against this government than many in Europe.

Of course most people - around 60% - did not vote at-all, believing that all politicians are a waste of time and cannot be trusted. They saw no party standing that was worth going to the polling station for.

From a party originally set up to give working class people a political vote, the Labour Party has managed to dissuade millions from voting at all.

The European and local elections were an opportunity to protest against Labour's policies, including the war against Iraq, the state of the health service, the education crisis, tuition fees, the dire lack of affordable housing, low pay and ever increasing working hours and privatisation.

The TUC demonstration this weekend will highlight the great pension robbery.

While people know what they are against, none of the established parties can offer an alternative. The worsening conditions that we find ourselves in are caused by big business and their drive for profits - the capitalist system.

The socialist alternative, put forward by Socialist Party members in the elections, received a favourable response in many areas.

We achieved very good election results and strengthened our base in many communities. By speaking to thousands of people on the doors and streets we recruited new members and spread the ideas of socialism.

There is the basis in England and Wales for the creation of a new political alternative - a mass party of the working class.

There are over seven and a half million trade unionists in Britain today, with many more potential members. The majority of the unions they belong to pay millions of pounds of their members' money to a party that encourages low pay and attacks on workers' conditions.

The Socialist Party will continue our campaign for the unions to break from Labour and to begin the process of building a new party which will represent the interests of working class people and not big business and their cronies.

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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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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.
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In The Socialist 19 June 2004:

European and local elections 2004: Blair Takes A Battering

Socialist Party Election Successes

A Shadow Over Blair

European elections: 'Kicked In The Ballot Box'

Ireland: Victory For Socialist Party In Local Elections

How to Combat the Threat of the Far Right


Socialist Party features

Hands Off Our Pensions!

PCS Executive Passes First-Year Test

Political Fund Up For Debate at UNISON conference


International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: A Transition To Discontent?

Kurdish people's struggle: No Trust In Imperialist Powers

General Strike Stops Nigeria But Union Leaders Have No Answers

Venezuela: A Decisive Turn In The Crisis


 

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