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Saturday, 8 May 2010

The next government of Britain ?

Whichever party or coalition forms the next government of Britain, the ruling class will be in power.

A Labour-led government based on progressive policies would be the best outcome in current circumstances. But big battles lie ahead to defend public services, jobs, wages, pensions and benefits - and to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan.

Enormous pressure is being exerted by the bankers, speculators and City spivs to force the new government - whatever its composition - to slash public spending or face savage attacks on sterling and that government's ability to borrow money.

A Tory government would enthusiastically collaborate with the ruling class offensive against the working class and peoples of Britain.

That is why we need a government based on the anti-Tory majority.

For the LibDems to support the installation of a minority Tory regime would indicate how shallow and insincere their proclamations in favour of progressive policies really are.

For New Labourites to yield to LibDem and City pressure to support some kind of 'national consensus' for massive cuts would be the final betrayal of millions of working class Labour voters.

A Tory-LibDem government would not represent the broadly progressive majority which still exists among the peoples of Britain.

Yet it is tempting to contemplate such a development with some relish.

Let the Tories provide the butt of mass popular opposition to reactionary policies. Turf them out at the first opportunity and force another General Election.

The problem is that a Tory-LibDem coalition could inflict massive damage in a very short space of time, backed by most of the mass media.

The danger is that many Labour voters would become demoralised rather than reinvigorated, while a fresh General Election could be engineered to consolidate the Tory and LibDem vote against a near-bankrupt Labour Party.

Only a Labour-led government supported by the LibDems, Plaid Cymru, SNP and progressive MPs - and under pressure from the trade union, pensioners and peace movements - would be remotely likely to resist any aspect of the ruling class offensive.

But it would have to tax the rich and big business rather than slash public services. A Windfall Tax on energy, banking, retail, armaments and pharmaceutical monopoly profits would raise billions of pounds immediately.

The government budget deficit would be reduced still further by abandoning ID cards, withdrawing from Afghanistan, terminating PFI schemes, taking the subsidised railways back into public ownership and scrapping plans for new weapons systems.

Together with a genuine commitment to introducing proportional representation - preferably the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies - this kind of progressive programme would win majority support inside and outside Parliament.

Whoever would head such a Labour-led government is far less important than its policies.

It is clear, however, that the New Labourites have brought the Labour Party to the brink of disaster, losing millions of voters, two important trade union affiliations and half the party's individual members.

The remaining affiliated trade unions must take the earliest opportunity to impose progressive policies on the Labour Party and clear these wreckers out of Labour's ranks.

What is even clearer is that Britain's bourgeois political system - designed to ensure that the interests of the majority of the people are not expressed, represented or acted upon - is creaking at the joints.

The power of the monopoly-controlled mass media has limited, distorted and, on some issues, poisoned much of the campaign and debate. The corrupting influence of big business in the three main political parties is seen at their conferences, among their MPs and in their policies. When allowed to become a full-time 'profession', politics attracts some of the worst kind of corruptible careerists who know nothing - and care even less - about many of the people they profess to represent.

And to top it all, we have a voting system which favours the biggest and wealthiest parties, while utterly failing to represent the views or the votes of millions of electors.

Advantage must be taken of the current crisis in Britain's political system to put forward alternatives that embody the real essence of democracy - namely, rule by the people.

However this governmental crisis is resolved, the labour movement will have to focus on mobilising the widest alliance of popular, anti-monopoly forces against reactionary policies from any quarter.

Projecting the People's Charter as the positive alternative will be an essential weapon in the huge battles to come.

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