It is often said that nothing is certain in politics. However one thing is certain for 2010 – there will be a general election. Election results are difficult to predict but, based on the opinion polls and election results over the past year, all the indicators point to the return of a Conservative government by the summer.
This threat should not be taken lightly. A new Tory administration will be charged with taking revenge on the working class for the humiliation of three successive election defeats and with the task of promoting privilege and the power of capital. Despite all the attempts to pretend that they are no longer “the nasty party,” once in office they will show their true face.
An indication of what this means has been seen in the line being presented by the Tory front bench over public sector cuts. In response to the budget deficit of £178 billion, which has been built up by the government in order to prop up capitalism and its banks in the aftermath of the credit crunch crisis, the Tories have complained that not enough cutting has been done. They have already indicated that they will bring forward an emergency budget as soon as they have got the keys to Number 10. We can now get some idea of what they might consider by noting the favourable response given by Tory commentators to the extreme measures pushed through last month in Ireland, which the right wing Sunday Times summarised under the cheerful heading ‘Dublin shows how to do it.’ This included cuts in pay for low-paid public sector workers, cuts in benefits including the dole and disability payments and the shutting down of essential capital projects. The Irish working class has well and truly been presented with the bill for the madness of the speculators.
So we can see what could be in store for us under the Tories. No wonder they have been slipping in the polls over the last few months. It is increasingly clear that a number of working class people especially are starting to see the danger that the Tories could present should they win the next election. Some Labour MPs have even risen from the dark mood of pessimism they have immersed themselves in over the last year to start to believe that the election can be saved after all. However, we should be clear that it cannot just be left to the Tories to shoot themselves in the foot and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The reason the Tories have been able to enjoy such poll leads over the last year or so is entirely down to the failure of the New Labour leadership. By pursuing right wing policies and acting against the interests of the people who voted them in, they have alienated millions of working class voters, many of whom intend to abstain at the next election. As a result the Tories have been able to return from the political wilderness they were flung into as a consequence of public hatred against the Thatcher and Major governments, and once again look like winners. This is a disgrace and the blame must be firmly placed at the feet of Blair and Brown.
We do not believe that a Tory victory is inevitable in 2010. We do say that the way to defeat the Conservatives is for Labour to change course and start carrying out socialist policies that will benefit working class people rather than big business and the City of London. This would bring millions of ex-Labour voters back to the fold and turn a Tory lead into a Labour one. This is the only way that we can ensure that the Tories do not return to restart their attacks on the working class and the Labour and trade union movement.