Socialist Worker

Election round-up—Lib Dems use EU to cosy up to favourite Tories

Issue No. 2679


Jo Swinson has spent years attacking workers' rights (Pic: Liberal Democrats/Flickr)

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, has claimed her party could take hundreds of seats at the general election.

The party took only a dozen seats in 2017.

It now has 21 MPs as various remain obsessed MPs left Labour or the Tories to join them

The yellow Tories have tried to have a so?called Remain alliance to ensure pro-EU MPs are elected.

So far the Lib Dems have said they will stand aside for Anna Soubry, the former Tory and leader of the Independent Group for Change. They also will not stand a candidate against former Tory Dominic Grieve.

The Lib Dems last grew when in 2010 people had had enough of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Labour governments.

So they campaigned promising to abolish student fees—then promptly joined a coalition government that pushed through austerity and increased the fees.

In that Tory-Lib Dem government Swinson, as employment minister, backed all the government’s austerity and specifically attacked workers’ rights. She introduced charges of up to £1,200 to take out an employment tribunal case and said zero hours contracts were a “useful tool for flexibility in employment”.

The things the Lib Dems like about the EU are the things that make it a pro-rich bosses’ club.

Farage mounts challenge

The Brexit Party has unveiled more than 600 candidates to contest next month’s general election.

The right wing party said it would only stand aside in places where MPs had rejected Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

It is a threat to the Tory vote. But, as Leave voters become increasingly frustrated with mainstream parties’ dithering over Brexit, it is also a threat to Labour.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage warned on Monday, “We are going to hurt the Labour Party in the most extraordinary way.

“Labour voters have been completely betrayed by the Labour Party. They are my number one target.” Farage appealed to Johnson to drop his deal and form a “Leave pact” instead but Johnson rejected it. Farage won’t stand himself in the election, claiming he wants to campaign all over Britain.

His real motivation may be to avoid failing to be elected to parliament for an eighth time.

The Brexit Party will be nervous about putting forward policies beyond Brexit because it would puncture their fake claim to stand for ordinary people.

Farage has to be confronted over his racism and other views.

Struggle is the key to victory

Struggle outside of parliament is still crucial.

The CWU union said it has been criticised by Tories and Liberal Democrats for preparing a Royal Mail strike during an election.

But many in Labour might also balk at the prospect of serious disruption in the run-up to an election and Christmas.

Labour has said it will renationalise Royal Mail.

This will mean a big confrontation with bosses who will see this as one of the first tests of a Corbyn government.

Workers’ action will be crucial not only to defeat the bosses—but to stop a Labour government backing down or going back on its promises.

University workers in the UCU union are also planning national strikes to defend their working conditions, pay and pensions.

It’s a battle that’s symptomatic of similar attacks in many other workplaces and industries.

More strikes will be needed whatever the result of the coming election.

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