On the UK Elections

No need to go into great detail as the results have been analysed abley elsewhere (I nicked the delightful pie chart from there…cheers Jim!).

However there are 3 points worth reiterating

1) The Left

The Left did almost universally disastrously. Clearly something in the message and the methods is not working. No amount of optimistic spin can change this. Hopefully, these results will provide a long overdue wake up call.

2) The Far Right

Whilst some take comfort from lower than expected gains for the BNP, there should be no escaping the fact that gaining a London Assembly member is a major breakthrough that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. The BNP are getting closer to a European style permanent presence in the British political landscape.

Also even the to all intents and purposes defunct National Front managed to attract large amounts of votes in some areas.

3) The Green Party

The only comfort in these elections was the continued progress of the Greens (albeit modest). The simple lesson to be drawn from this is that the Green Party represents the most practical vehicle for success with libertarian, progressive and ecosocialist ideas, and that the Greens manage to do something the Left do not. Those of us who would self define as being  on the left of the party should be cautioned by this against jumping into bed too easily with sympathetic elements of what remains of the old left. Similarly those of our allies still clinging onto leftist praxis (as it were) would be well to take a step back and critically analyse where exactly they are.

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3 responses to “On the UK Elections

  1. As someone on the “old left” I suppose, I’m interested in what form you suggest its “wake up call” should take?

    On the one hand you say the Greens are the best vehicle for progressive politics, but I imagine if socialists joined it for this purpose, despite not on the whole identifying with the ‘eco-socialist’ perspective, significant sections of the Green party – including the Green Left – would scream bloody murder at this red invasion.

    I sympathise with the Greens. In London they were the best and sanest representatives of social justice; the focus on a living wage and affordable housing managed to combine radical demands with an attractive and ‘moderate-sounding’ image. They didn’t alienate friends of mine in the way, for instance, the SWP would have.

    But there is a difference between recognising the Greens can represent the left of the political spectrum in an election, and believing they are capable of or willing to become serious advocates of solidarity and mutual aid in anything but a theoretical capacity.

    That said, the Left’s failure is undisputed. I still can’t get over it.

  2. I’d say that the “wake up call” the Left needs is to realise that not matter how “right” they are, this message is not being received and no amount and tinkering with the wording of slogans, demands or manifestos will change this. Its ways of working no longer work…marches, meetings and union resolutions are not forming a movement capable of implementing an agenda of solidarity and mutual aid.

    Capitalism has radically changed since the 19th c. Our response to it must also…

    …course the big question is how? Of that I’m not so sure. I’d agree that the Green Party is probably not the ultimate answer, but is certainly a vehicle to take us out of the rut we’ve been in the last 20 years or so…

  3. Fair enough. I don’t mean to knock the Greens – they are a valuable and earnest voice speaking out for equality in this country. It’s just interesting to think what role they might play in the future, especially as many of them are consciously non-socialistic.

    I agree that the Left’s typical behaviour is depressingly, predictably futile. You only have to look at the constantly declining turnouts for the latest anti-war demos to understand that. Perhaps, now that the electoral impetus seems to be with the overtly rather than merely de facto reactionaries, the far-Left will be shocked into receiving the wake-up call you mentioned.

    If the initial responses to the May elections are any indication of the current mindset on much of the Left, however, I don’t think that will be happening soon.

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