Election in Britain – Tories in freefall but Starmer is no alternative 

The Conservative Party in Britain is facing a catastrophic election this year according to current polling. At the time of writing the Electoral Calculus “poll of polls” estimates the Tories keeping 90 seats out of their current 376. For context, the Liberal Democrats are set to win 50 seats. This would place the oldest and traditionally most politically dominant party of British capitalism as barely holding on to second place.

By Seán Burns

The Conservative Party in Britain is facing a catastrophic election this year according to current polling. At the time of writing the Electoral Calculus “poll of polls” estimates the Tories keeping 90 seats out of their current 376. For context, the Liberal Democrats are set to win 50 seats. This would place the oldest and traditionally most politically dominant party of British capitalism as barely holding on to second place. 

Facing a wipeout 

Such a dramatic drop in support for the Tories is no surprise. They have been the Government party in Westminster since 2010. In that time they have overseen an administration that has attacked the working class with a vicious programme of austerity, further enriching big businesses and the super-rich, and stoked racism, xenophobia and transphobia. Aware of their impending doom, Sunak has sought to drive through further attacks in recent months, determined to undermine the solidarity movement with Gaza and lay the basis for future Governments to carry out more vicious repression of protest movements and strikes.

The current beneficiary of the Tories collapse is the British Labour Party led by Keir Starmer. Starmer’s success is less that he and his party inspire any enthusiasm for real change, and more so that they are simply not the Tories. If such a wipeout of the Tories was to occur it would undoubtedly provide deep satisfaction to all who have suffered at the hands of this administration. 

However, Starmer has made clear that he will not deviate from the course charted by the Tories in any substantial way. There is barely a difference between Labour and the Tories at this point. The approach of Starmer will be to merely tweak around the edges of the policies the Tories have put in place. In a private meeting of billionaires and multi-millionaires Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves declared: “Labour is now the party of economic responsibility”; announcing a cap on corporation tax, along with further tax breaks on big business.

Starmer supports genocide 

Starmer’s party has lined up with the rest of Western imperialism in their support for Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. Early on in this genocide, he publicly stated that Israel had the right to cut off electricity and water to Gaza; he suspended MPs for describing the onslaught as genocidal’; and restated his support for Israel’s “right to self-defence”. 

While Labour may be doing well in the polls, this stance has disgusted many people, resulting in the resignation of dozens of Labour councillors and prominent figures like Owen Jones. Starmer has rightly faced protests for his disgusting stance – the Labour Party head office was recently sprayed with red paint by Palestinian solidarity protesters. 

Labour’s ‘New Deal for Working People’ manifesto is thoroughly lacklustre, vague and uninspiring. It promises minimal changes, which are a drop in the ocean when it comes to the impact of the cost of living crisis that workers face. The significant strike action and protest movements we have seen over the past years have demonstrated the power that ordinary people have. Labour has steadfastly refused to support these actions, certainly in any meaningful way. 

Break with New Labour – Mark Two 

Many trade union leaders in Britain have retreated from the scene of industrial battle, desperately banking that a Labour government will bring about change – a starkly misplaced hope. Starmer’s party is New Labour – Mark Two: unashamedly committed to the rule of capitalist status quo and the inequality and oppression that invariably goes with that. But unlike the Blair administration elected 1997, his government is taking power in the age of disorder, which will be devoid of any honeymoon period.  

The time to build a new organisation for working-class people is now – one that’s based on mass struggle and fights for a socialist alternative. 

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