Tony Greenstein | 04 July 2024 | Post Views:

Four and a half years ago, I wrote an eve of poll blog after campaigning for Chris Williamson in Derby North Labour’s Election Campaign – Expect the Worst – Hope for the Best. I summed up

How then will Labour fare in the election?  This is probably the most difficult election to call. I fear a Tory majority but there may well be a hung parliament though if the Lib Dems continue to slide in the polls that may be less likely. What is clear is that there is no surge to Labour. I cannot see a Labour victory or an increase in the present number of seats. By failing to see that the British Establishment would do all they could, in conjunction with the United States and Israel, to ensure that an anti-imperialist would not become Prime Minister the Left has to face the future with a Labour Party minus Jeremy Corbyn.

In previous elections I had little difficulty in predicting the outcome. In 2015 I wrote a blog Miliband’s Labour Seeks the Safety of Consensus Politics in which I said:

In last week’s Brighton Independent I had an article which suggested that Miliband was determined to lose.  Of course he’d like to win but he refuses to break from the consensus behind austerity…. Labour is going to face a wipe-out in its Scottish bastion because they are perceived as the ‘red Tories’. …

My prediction?  The Tories will be the largest party.  Labour plus the SNP should be within spitting distance of the magical 324 need for an overall majority.  Hopefully the Lib-Dems, the most disgusting and unprincipled party of all will suffer heavy losses.  UKIP is unlikely to gain more than 2-3 seats and the Greens will keep their one seat.  Who forms a government?  Miliband might unless he proves particularly stupid.’

Like most people I was taken by surprise by Cameron’s narrow majority.

In 2017 contrary to all those who believed that Labour’s election campaign would be a rerun of 1983 under Michael Foot, I foresaw that the Tory campaign under ‘strong and stable’ Theresa May would crash, which it did. 

On April 20, when May had a 21% lead in the polls I wrote in Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth that:

It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics.  Seven weeks is a political eternity.  Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.

There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.

No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.

On June 3 in General Election – Is Labour on the threshold of victory? I foresaw a hung parliament, or even a Labour victory, was possible.

I do not have a crystal ball.  My initial predictions, that there would or could be a hung parliament was based on my assessment of the situation.  This is still quite possible as the Tories are widely detested for  their attacks on the working poor, people on benefits and the continuous privatisation of the NHS.  They are seen as the party of a vicious class rule, which is what austerity is about.

That does not, however, mean that the Tories will necessarily be defeated.  People do not vote in line with their class interests.  The whole purpose of the patriotic card, used by a succession of ruling class scoundrels from Pitt to May, is to blind people to their real interests.  It is saying that British workers and the poor have more in common with the rich and the ruling class than they do with each other.  The Tory press of course is doing its best to foster illusions in Strong and Stable.

David Lammy Meeting his Constituents

Labour could still become the largest party but I also sense a vigorous fightback by the Right.  It seems that one part of the prediction I made will not come true.  The Lib-Dems are not going to gain enough seats to prop up another Tory coalition  At the moment they are tipped to win just one extra seat.  By ruling out any form of pact with Labour under Corbyn, the Lib-Dems have guaranteed their own irrelevance.

We could be in for a period of political instability such as we have not known for 40 years.  This is one of the hardest elections to call.  A Tory government is still possible if it cobbles together a coalition of the Lib-Dems & the Ulster Unionists-DUP.  Even a majority Tory government cannot be ruled out.

What then will be the result tomorrow? Again I have to confess that predicting the results of any election is not easy. It is clear that Starmer’s rebranded Tory Party will win the election, although I have a feeling that the majority will not be as large as predicted.

Tanushka Mara, Socialist Independent Hove

What is clear is that this has been the dullest election in decades with no real differences between Tory and Starmer Labour. I expect the turnout to be down.

The Lib Dems should pick up disaffected Tories though I doubt that it will be above 50 as has been predicted.

I also expect the Green Party to keep Brighton Pavilion and possible gain one or two more. We are told the Reform party will win up to 5 seats. That is possible though I hope not. Farage certainly annoyed the imperialists with his perfectly reasonable explanation that NATO and the United States provoked Russia into invading.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was provoked by the US placing nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey which were then matched by Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. So it is obvious why Russia didn’t want a nuclear alliance on their borders.  Farage was savaged, called a Putin lover etc. so that may have an effect on their election chances. 

Picket of ‘Killer’ Kyle MP for Hove

My concerns are different. Which of the bourgeois and pro-capitalist parties comes out on top is to all intents and purposes irrelevant. Whether it is Sunak or Starmer who becomes Prime Minister, racism, imperialism, poverty, exploitation and war will continue. They are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Starmer has been ruthless in purging the Labour Party of socialists and left-wingers. Would that Jeremy Corbyn had had half as much bottle he wouldn’t have been fighting as an independent today.

Will Corbyn win in Islington North?  He should do but the polls say otherwise. Let us hope so. However Corbyn has mishandled the withdrawal of the Labour Whip like everything else. When it was clear he would not have the Whip reinstated he should have resigned from the Labour Party and stood in a by–election for the seat. As it is he has an uphill fight. I wish him well against his corrupt opponent

Why I’m against mass immigration

I also hope that George Galloway holds Rochdale but I fear he won’t. I hope he wins because of genocide in Gaza not because I agree with him on much else. His attempt to compete with Farage and the Tories on immigration is despicable.  I have come in for some criticism from my comrades for supporting him but in my view genocide in Palestine outweighs virtually any other consideration, witness Sunak’s ill-judged attack on him when he won the by-election.

Galloway’s comments in the video above are a disgrace. Immigration doesn’t lower wage levels nor does it prevent people getting doctors’ appointments or children getting places in schools. This is racist scapegoatism at its worst.

What prevents people getting GP appointments is the lack of doctors we train plus the reduction in what we pay them.  Funding for GP practices has been slashed by £350 million in real terms since 2019, House of Commons Library research shows. It was 6.9% lower in 2022/23 compared to 2018/19, once inflation is taken into account. The average funding per patient was £165 in 2022/23, a real terms cut of £12 per patient over the past four years. In other words nothing to do with immigrants.

The same is true of nurses, whose bursaries the Tories stole in order to enrich their cronies. The NHS has been defunded, part privatised and the money transferred to military expenditure.  Indeed but for overseas doctors and nurses the NHS would be in a worse state than it already is.

The same reactionary arguments were used when Jewish refugees came to Britain in the 19 and 20 centuries. The answer to low wages was trade union organisation not immigration controls. Three times in the 1880s the TUC called for ‘anti-alienist’ immigration controls because they preferred not to fight. Jewish workers however formed their own trade unions and launched strike after strike – including two mass tailors strikes in 1889 and 1912 alongside dockers strikes in the same years. That is how wages are raised.

However much you control immigration it won’t affect the export of capital, which is why it is such a bankrupt argument. Unless members of the Workers Party reign Galloway in it is destined to become a pariah on the left.

 ‘Patriotism’ and immigration controls sit uneasily with socialism. Patriotism means the working class doffing their cap to their rulers and dying in their wars. National socialism is a contradiction in terms.

In this video Galloway is compared, quite rightly to Farage, Jenrick and Braverman. This appeal to racism with all the dog whistles about fighting age men and 3 star hostels and ‘illegal migrants’ rather than refugees suggests that Galloway inhabits a very dark place.

A Side Of George Galloway You Have Never Seen?

“We have already, and its only February, 65,000 people unchartered, undocumented, unvetted. We have no idea who they are, we know most of  them are men, and most of them are fighting age men at that, who are now being put up in three star hotels sometimes a little better even than that at the expense of the public potentially for ever more when our forces cannot interdict a single one of the boats bringing illegal migrants or Refugee claimants for asylum – we can’t know which until their cases are heard and their cases have a backlog of hundreds of thousands.”

However there is a brighter side to this election and that is the number of anti-racist, socialist candidates.

Andrew Feinstein in Starmer’s constituency, Leanne Mohamad against Wes Streeting, Pamela Fitzpatrick in Harrow West, Sam Gorst in Liverpool Garston, Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Wood Green and our own wonderful Tanushka Mara in Hove amongst many others I haven’t named.

I was initially despondent about their chances but having taken note of the vibrancy of the campaigns I am hopeful that they will garner a very sizeable vote even if they don’t win. From these campaigns we have the opportunity to rebuild the left but if Galloway continues as he is and the Workers Party doesn’t reject this scapegoating, racist appeal to the most backward section of the working class then Galloway will play no part in rebuilding the left.

I hope that Chris Williamson, as Deputy Leader of the WP, will make his own position clear on the question of our opposition to demonising asylum seekers, racist dog whistling and attempting to blame our social ills on migrants rather than the tax dodging rich, the Tories’ COVID  cronies and privatisation.

Below is a list of independent candidates and I would also add Samar Ammar in Birmingham Bromsgrove, see here. There are also others including Craig Murray in Blackburn, Chris Williamson in Derby North and Jody McIntyre in Birmingham Yardley. See Pink Floyd star flying in to back Workers Party’s Craig Murray.

There are also 40 TUSC candidates standing, which is the Socialist Party’s electoral front, including ex-MP Dave Nellist, who I support. The full list can be found here.

A full list of Workers Party candidates is here but I wouldn’t endorse all of them, eg. I support Sammar Amar in Bromsgrove not Aheesha Zahir who has also made anti-refugee remarks. I support critically the WP candidates, in so far as its Manifesto doesn’t include the racist nonsense that Galloway has been spouting about refugees.

Let’s hope for a  better tomorrow.

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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