By July 5th the UK will have a new conservative government. This one most likely led by Sir Keir Starmer, the man who has been resolute in only two things. Promoting his own career and defending his genocidal friends in Israel.

Many ordinary voters will be relieved that finally they can rid themselves of the disastrous reign of probably the most error prone and corrupt government in living memory. Though many of those citizens are even now failing to wake up to the catastrophic error they made in December 2019 when they believed lies about Jeremy Corbyn but failed to believe the truth about Boris Johnson.

Given the current state of opinion polls, and it would be a major catastrophe for them if they were entirely wrong, this election would appear to be a one horse race. Most polls have Labour on 40-45% with the Conservatives on 18-26%. But that assumes that it is just one contest. Which, of course, it is not. It is 650 contests and in each of them surprises are possible.

Whilst Labour will almost certainly win, they do face trouble on their left flank with a raft of independent left candidates standing. Many of these are specifically challenging Labour in areas where the pro-Palestine vote is significant.

It is, however, unlikely that the left will win many seats, if any. Some ex-Labour candidates are the best bet particularly Jeremy Corbyn in Islington North. If he stands. There is every chance, given his huge personal popularity that he will beat the hapless journalist-cum-turncoat Paul Mason. If Diane Abbott in Hackney North and South Newington is unable to run under the Labour banner she should also retain her seat as an independent. Claudia Webbe in Leicester East might find re-election as an independent more of a challenge.

More interesting still will be George Galloway in Rochdale who has yet to retain a seat won in a by-election at a subsequent general election. Could this be a breakthrough for him? And can his Workers Party deliver on its promises to stand in all 650 constituencies and shake up British politics? He has also predicted that Aroma Hassan standing against Angela Rayner in Ashton-under-Lyne will take 10-20,000 votes and remove Rayner from parliament. We will be watching that one on election night.

Whilst there are indendent candidates with a good pedigree standing, good pedigrees or principles are not prerequisites for success in modern politics.

Andrew Feinstein in Starmer’s seat of Holborn and St Pancras comes to mind as somebody who will attract lots of supporters but mostly from people unable to vote for him.  Despite the enthusiasm of many on the left Feinstein is unlikely to prevent a Starmer victory. Starmer won the seat with 65% of the vote in 2019 so it would be an absolute disaster for Labour if their leader failed this time around and would indicate that the pollsters had got things catastrophically wrong. I cannot in all honesty see a Jo Swinson moment in Holborn on July 4th.

Sam Gorst in Liverpool Garsten, a well regarded local ex-Labour councillor, should make life uncomfortable for Labour. As might community nurse Ann San in Liverpool Wavertree and Jo Bird in Birkenhead. 

That said, Labour should easily win their top 30 targets. These include Burnley (current Conservative majority 127), Wolverhampton West (934), Bury South (935) and Vale of Glamorgan (2,566). The Conservatives, on the other hand, will consider it a good night if they manage to end up with anything over 150 seats.

Elections, however, are interesting precisely because predictions have a habit of going awry. My own particular concern is that Reform (the UKIP wannabes) are polling between 10-15%. Whilst this might not win them any seats it is considerably higher than the Lib Dems who are stuck on 8-9%. The problem for Reform is that their support is spread out though those numbers ought to translate into seats. The PR advocates might note that they should end up with between 65 and 108 seats in a “fair” system. Fortunately, having to win in individual seats will mean they will be lucky if they win a handful of seats. On the other hand, it will be worth keeping an eye on exactly where they are standing as this is the first time since the 1970s that a far right party has been in such a position.

The big question now for those on the left is how to approach an election that looks a foregone conclusion. No left-of Labour party has emerged to capture the pubic imagination. It is worth reminding ourselves that in 2015 when TUSC were the main left challengers they managed just 135 votes per candidate and only 0.12% of the vote on average in the seats they stood. They will be standing in around 150 seats this time around although they have announced no candidates so far.

Whatever your view, the next six weeks will be dominated by talk of the election. What is probably most important is to keep our expectations realistic. But, equally, we must not allow talk of the election to overshadow the very real work to be done keeping the plight of the Palestinians on the agenda. Whatever the outcome on July 5th the war in Gaza shows no sign of abating, for those in poverty even the most optimistic prediction for left candidates will still leave them in poverty, for the NHS the outcome will be more privatisation, for most workers the chances of inflation-proofed wages will remain remote, the climate emergency will not be solved by a change of curtains in Number Ten, our rights to assemble, protest and take industrial action will not improve. None of these things will happen because the election agenda will not be set by the left. It will be set by an establishment which includes Labour, the Conservatives, Lib Dems and the majority of the media. 

We should not put political campaigning on hold for six weeks whilst searching for votes for an election we cannot win. Power does not lie in parliament, it lies in the collective organisation of ordinary workers and citizens, in demonstrations and in demands for a just world. Real democracy lies, not in the opportunity to vote periodically, but in our collective strength and the actions we take to exert real control over our lives.


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