We published New Year Delusions on 8th January 2023. It concluded: “Both Sunak and Starmer offer us New Year Delusions. Our hopes and expectations will be sacrificed to ensure that capitalism can carry on. It is no good putting our faith in a change of government. Only socialism has the answer.”
Little has changed, except for the worse. Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine is getting logistic support from the UK, and escalations like the military attacks on Yemen threaten to lead to a wider conflagration. Starmer has placed unconditional support for Israel at the heart of his foreign policy, effectively giving Israel the power of veto over the next Labour government.
Labour continues to woo the Tory media in hope of getting their endorsement, even if it means ignoring the massive public support for bringing energy, water, Royal Mail, and rail and bus transport back into public ownership. Instead they intend to incentivise the rich and punish the poor. Expect more backdoor privatisation of the NHS.
A party that is clearly institutionally racist will have no problems pandering to anti-migrant sentiment. Starmer’s authoritarian streak will see him build on Tory restrictions on the right to protest, just as the Blair government adopted the Thatcherite legacy of anti-union legislation.
In this election year the Tories are pursuing a threefold strategy: play the race card over small boats and hope it plays as well in the red wall as it does in the Tory shires; magic up some money for tax cuts to persuade disillusioned Tory voters to come out and vote; continue with headlong economic deregulation to enrich themselves and their backers while they can.
This will probably be enough to deny Labour a landslide. Some on the left are even hoping for a hung parliament to curb Starmer’s rightward trajectory by handing the balance of power to the handful of socialist MPs who remain. This is wishful thinking. The Socialist Campaign Group has caved in to Starmer on nearly every issue. Do they even have the moral fibre and political will to challenge a Starmer government? A more likely scenario is that they will toe the line. And, even if they did turn, Starmer would ignore them and rely on coalition partners like the LibDems. He might even follow Ramsay MacDonald’s example and lead a government of national unity with the Conservative Party.
Behind all this it seems that all the political parties have forgotten about climate change and the need for urgent action to prevent climate catastrophe.
Instead of fostering our own new year delusions it is not enough to counter by saying that socialism is the answer. Regardless of who wins the election, and Creating Socialism will not affect the outcome of the election whatever we say or do, we need to address two fundamental questions:
- How do we build a movement that is serious about creating socialism?
- What is our vision of the future socialist society we want to create?
Labour offers no hope. Instead of electoral fantasies we should be thinking about how to fight and how to win and what are we fighting for.
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.