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.
By Nicky Dempsey
David Cameron’s long-delayed speech on Europe does not mark a decisive turning-point for Britain’s economic relations with the EU. But it may signal a breach by the Tory Party with the vital interests of the British ruling class. If so, this will severely damage its electoral prospects and will mark a new stage in the long-term decline of the Tory Party and the recomposition of British politics.
Across Europe, governments of right and left are implementing ‘austerity’ policies. The claim that excessive government debt and ‘unaffordable’ welfare and services require extraordinary cuts in public spending is being used to legitimise the biggest post-1945 assault on the living standards and hard-won rights of the working class in Europe.
Resistance to this assault – through mass actions and by presenting a political and economic alternative – is the most mass task of the class struggle in the continent today.
The Financial Times has reported that the government’s plans to boost spending on infrastructure have effectively been blocked by the leading banks and investment funds (Infrastructure hopes hit by City stand-off, November 18).
The media consensus on the assessment of both the Labour and Tory conferences indicates a growing acceptance of the political consequences of what the polls are showing – that Labour looks set to win the next General Election or at worst be the largest party, and this will occur under Ed Miliband’s leadership.
After the elections in Western Europe in the first half of this year it is a good moment to take stock of the overall state of the class struggle in the region.
Countdown toEnd of Cameron's political career
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