An historic moment in British politics
Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader is without exaggeration historic. It represents an unprecedented situation in British politics. The Labour government of 1945 passed progressive domestic reforms but it was a supine tool of the US internationally – Ernest Bevin and Attlee played a key role in setting up NATO. At that time both the British capitalist class and the US perfectly understood that the shattering effect of World War II and its outcomes necessarily required partial concessions - acceptance of the temporary building of a welfare state which therefore the first post-war Tory governments initially made no attempt to reverse. At that time the US and West European economies were also undergoing rapid growth which gave them economic room for manoeuvre.
The outcome of the British election produced a collapse of the classic ‘centrist vote’ represented by the Liberal Democrats and a polarisation to both the right and the left of the mainstream political parties. This is a new situation as the new formations on the right and on the left are substantial and are a significant factor on the changed political scene.
The outcome of the 2015 general election was a tactical triumph for David Cameron but it was achieved by destroying his own political allies the LibDems. For Labour this was a huge missed opportunity. There is now a Tory Prime Minister with a majority in Parliament with the lowest share of the popular vote ever, who presided over the longest decline in living standards, yet Labour lost seats. The rise of the SNP, the other big winner from the election, being due to the greater distance it places between itself and Tory policies.
By Jo Mullins
The Tory party is on course to achieve its lowest-ever polling in Euro elections and will receive a drubbing in the local elections held at the same time.
By Paul Roberts and Jane West
As expected Labour conference fired the starting gun for the 2015 election. What was not so anticipated was the Miliband leadership’s announcement of a series of popular policies that are widely perceived as constituting a shift to the left.
The strategy rolled out was for Labour to position itself as the party that defends the living standards of ordinary people. This was a shift in strategy and a welcome one. It is based on a correct understanding that the mass of the population is now more animated by contracting real incomes – the ‘cost of living crisis’ – than the ideology of ‘deficit reduction’.
By Nicky Dempsey and Jane West
It is little more than a year and a half until the next general election and already the main issues in each party’s campaign are being delineated.
Labour is still virtually certain to be the largest party after the next election as the long-term decline in the Tory vote will be further depressed by five years of austerity. Electorally the main question is whether Labour wins a majority – and of what size – or whether it is forced into coalition with the Lib Dems.
By Paul Roberts
Whilst President Obama tries to tie down support this week in advance of forthcoming Congressional votes, the US military is preparing an immense assault on Syria. US imperialism does not make idle threats, so it intends that the attack will proceed. Members of Congress are being told that a ‘no-vote’ next week, against air-strikes, would catastrophically weaken the US for years to come.
By Jane West
In recent months the true character of the Miliband leadership of the Labour Party has been more clearly revealed.
The combination of its commitment to maintain austerity and implement the Tory cuts, attacks on the union role in the Party and nasty and vituperative campaigns against the employment of East European migrant labour marks out the contours of the coming Labour or Labour-led government after 2015.
By Jane West and Nicky Dempsey
The crisis in the SWP has provoked a discussion including everything from prurient gossip and snide sectarianism to serious political analysis. For those interested in advancing the cause of socialism a potentially disintegrative crisis in the numerically largest current of the British far left is a serious matter, therefore worthy of serious comment.
There are really two issues involved. First, why this crisis in the SWP has developed. Second why the capitalist media, who are implacable enemies of anything progressive, have decided to take such an interest in the matter. As will be seen the two issues are very different.
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