In post-election discussions we seem to be running with the line that Labour lost by not being left wing enough. I think that’s simplistic.
Partly Labour have lost their social, more than political, link with much of the working class.But also most folk right now see neoliberal capitalism as the only game in town.
Questions asked at the time of the bank bailouts were effectively deflected. The story through the election, from many voters too, was whether “we can afford” reforms. That helped the Tories.
The obvious counter-argument is the SNP win. Scotland could be different, I don’t know, but I suspect the SNP vote reflected as much their perceived confidence and competence, and ability to fight for vaguely-defined “national interests”, as a straightforwardly left vote.
We face a more difficult task than advancing slogans and waiting for people to rally round. We need to challenge the belief that neoliberal capitalism is natural, and we might not get any real traction with that till the next crash or crisis.
In the meantime I suspect we need to be ready for defensive battles rather than a broader attack on the whole system. Supporting post-election protests is right, but let’s recognise it’s a minority we’re meeting on those protests.
Of course you never know, another war or crash, all can change overnight. But just to assert most people are left of the government they’ve just elected seems to me wishful thinking.
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