In a true reckoning of Tony Blair’s legacy, Labour has slipped to its lowest poll ratings since 1983. A poll in the Independent this week found support for Labour had slumped to 27 percent.
Among those who regard themselves as close Labour supporters, only 80 percent say they will vote for the party next time.
Labour’s lost votes are not going to the Conservatives. They are up by only 1 percent, and are well short of the ratings they would need to form a majority in parliament.
Fully 15 percent of voters now say they will vote for a party other than the big three.
Just 17 percent of 18 to 24 year olds were “absolutely certain” to vote, and almost twice as many, 30 percent, said they were certain not to.
Figures may vary in future polls, but what is not in doubt is that Blair’s regime of war, privatisation and favours for the rich has hollowed out Labour support.
It has never been more urgent to build a left alternative and to raise the level of struggle against Blair and Gordon Brown. When Blair goes we need a massive united push to get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and to press for policies that benefit working people.
Iraq in flames
Surging death toll
Those who oppose the war, and those sent to fight it, understand that the “surge of troops” to Iraq is causing more deaths, not less.
Over 140 Iraqis died in a series of car bombs in one day alone last week. The grim daily toll of bodies found dumped in rivers, canals and on roadsides continues to rise.
The number of troops dying is also rising.
Last year the US military could find some comfort in the fact that a “spike” in casualties was followed by “light losses”. No longer.
This year around 80 soldiers have died each month – and as the number of troops increases, this toll is rising. In the first three weeks of April, 97 soldiers have been killed, among them 11 British troops.
The “surge” was always a desperate gamble to turn the tide of defeat, but instead it has pushed more people into opposing the occupation.
A recent poll found that a clear majority in the US thinks the war has already been lost, and 51 percent want the troops home now.
The anti-war movement is now the majority on both sides of the Atlantic. That is a truth from which George Bush and Tony Blair cannot hide.
Lib Dem backs BNP
What are we to make of the Liberal Democrats when one of their leading members signs the nomination papers for a BNP council candidate? That is what Steve Jones, leader of the Lib Dems on Darlington Borough Council, did for BNP candidate Daniel Brown in his own North Road ward.
Jones said he was standing up for democracy by letting the BNP’s views be heard! The chair of Darlington Lib Dems called Jones’s move “an error of judgement” and Jones has since been suspended from the party, but not yet expelled.
Voters in North Road ward will still get a ballot paper with Jones’s name on it as a Lib Dem candidate, because, says the local party, they cannot change it at this late stage.
The BNP should be utterly shunned, not assisted to put forward their Nazi poison.