Many people on the left cannot wait for a general election to get the Tories out. They think Labour has to be less corrupt, less cruel and more competent. But that is a pretty low bar. Is it enough to stop the rot or should socialists be more ambitious and seek to repair the damage the Tories have inflicted on society? Do we settle for an electoral strategy to defeat the Tories or can we use the next election to raise the bar and argue for real social change?
COLIN OAKLEY: We (socialists) must be more ambitious, stopping the ‘rot’ will not be good enough for those already harmed by capitalism.
Part of the ‘ambition’ we (socialists) should adopt is to unite the various true socialist parties. Achieving this (the uniting of socialist parties) may ‘raise the bar’ as it might give a strong voice in demanding ‘social change.’
It is not a ‘victory’ for social change if a Labour Government, under Starmer and his pro-establishment ideology wins the next election – it will be a continuation of the rot that is infecting society.
MICHAEL SCHOLES: We must resist playing the two party game at the next election. Neither the Tories nor the Labour Party will deliver social change. I would only vote and campaign very hard if there was a chance of a left leaning candidate winning, i.e. Green or one of the few socialist labour candidates. I live in a safe Labour constituency so won’t be voting. We must show our disgust for the system by staying at home. This then shows in the turnout figure.
Of course socialists should seek to repair the damage inflicted by Tories on the society. This probably should start with a proper debate about what to do and how to organise it. Civil disobedience come to mind. Focusing on the rot won’t do any good – everything the Tories destroyed has to be rebuilt, otherwise the society will simply cease functioning.
Blair’s Labour betrayed the working class. Corbyn tried to repair the damage but was thwarted by saboteurs in his own party. Starmer is a Blairite puppet. I do not think any socialist should vote either Tory or Labour.
I am unable to vote for Labour in the next election, for the same reasons as not voting Tory. Most of Starmer’s original pledges have been abandoned, and Starmer has made it very clear that he does not want the left involved in the party. The abuse I regularly receive regarding this is disgusting, tactical voting is mentioned in every election. Why is it that if I don’t vote Labour I am a Tory? I vote for who I want in, not for who I want out, and as a proud socialist I will be voting Green.
Real social change means disrupting the status quo, which no politician has the appetite for, as it may mean they can’t continue to rip the country off. Can we ever expect the power-hungry politicians to tell the truth? I don’t think so, as the benefits of being an MP far outweigh the desire for a better society. As Douglas Adams said, the only thing that should prevent someone becoming an MP is the desire to be one.
LYSANDER HARDY-PEARCE: Competence, if anything, is a drawback when Labour’s policy programme is virtually identical to the Tory agenda. It’s crucial to prove that Labour can’t forge an electoral coalition by aping the Tories & being a client party for the Golden Mile, the arms industry, private medicine, apartheid Israel & NATO neocons, so I’d strongly advise socialists to go elsewhere in 2024. Starmer winning is a tribal victory against the Tories, but a greater loss in the hegemonic war. Don’t be fobbed off with symbolism. It’ll just furnish the same Establishment neolibs & neocons with the moral cover of a ‘centre-left’ regime, a reverse ‘Nixon in China’ opportunism.
RON STOCKTON: Since 1867 in Canada we’ve elected Liberals as the lesser of two evils in order to defeat the Conservatives. We’ve now reached a point where the Liberals are very right wing, and the Conservatives are just barely shy of fascist. Defeating more evil by electing less evil leaves you with evil.
Finally SHARON wrote her own 700 word manifesto which I have summarised to read:
- The financial burden of saving the planet and restoring society should rest with the companies whose shareholders have profited from all the damage. She proposes a new fairer tax system, 1% of all Bank transactions deducted, that will make tax evasion impossible. Abolish all other taxes and hidden taxes like ULEZ and standing charges.
- Abolish the present corrupt system of government. We should vote for policies, not politicians. Wages should be high enough to live on without in work benefits.
- Education: Teach the kids real skills, fix the gaps, judge a school on other measures as well as exam results. Overhaul OFSTED.
- Fix the asylum system by opening up safe channels for people to claim and process claims more quickly.
- NHS: reintroduce nurse bursaries and give them a pay rise. Cut down on the bureaucrats, improve training and abolish private health care.
- Introduce rent caps. Build more houses, all new houses must be highly energy efficient, be it underground heating, solar or filtered rainwater systems.
- Cost benefit analysis should be done on every current and new proposal. Crack down on criminality from petty theft to Tory embezzlement. Put police back on the beat and build communities for the people.
Life long socialist. Now retired, I have been an office junior, a bookseller, a docker and a teacher. I write a lot and read a lot more. Committed member of the Society of Authors, English PEN and the National Education Union. Never voting Labour again.