The politicians dashing between this week’s three by-election campaigns are looking increasingly desperate.
The government appears to be in constant crisis. The Tories know how unpopular they are, and are squabbling among themselves. They are worried about the next general election.
Some seem to think that the only way to become popular is to move further to the right. Tory party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant has been arguing for a deal with anti-immigration party Ukip.
He thinks the Tories can’t win the next general election without pandering to their most bigoted supporters. He wants to promise Ukip a referendum on leaving the European Union in return for their not standing against the Tories.
Ukip is basking in the attention, and its supporters boast that several Tory MPs are about to defect. All this means that the government looks weak and divided.
The Tories are in a desperate situation. They want to push through ever greater cuts and attacks on the welfare state and the living standards of millions of ordinary people.
But their economic strategy has failed. People are sick of them and their Lib Dem pals. They want to see an end to cuts and austerity.
Only a year ago this week, on 30 November, 2.6 million workers went on strike against attacks on their pensions. It was a fantastic show of the power of our class.
If union leaders had escalated the strikes, the Tories would have been forced into a U-turn and it would have set back their whole programme of austerity. Instead the opportunity was thrown away and the major unions retreated from the fight.
Last year now feels like a long time ago. But the anger in workplaces, communites and universities has not gone away. Nor has the prospect of fighting back. The recent TUC demonstration, that put 200,000 on the streets in spite of everything, showed that.
The size and breadth of last month’s Unite the Resistance conference showed there is a significant layer of activists who want to push for new battles against the Tories.
And there is a growing movement against attacks on the NHS—from massive demonstrations against closures to health workers organising against cuts. It’s a sign that when people have a chance to show their opposition to the Tories they grab it.
Socialists must fan the flames of this resistance, build solidarity and spread every fight. And we must keep up the pressure on union leaders to call the action that’s needed to stop this vicious government.