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General election is chance to smash Brexit deadlock

This article is over 4 years, 1 months old
Issue 2678
Thousands at a march against Boris Johnson in July
At a march against Boris Johnson in July (Pic: Guy Smallman)

MPs backed an early general election by 438 to 20 votes on Tuesday night. 

The decision for an election on 12 December is expected to be waved through by the House of Lords this week. 

Socialist Worker calls for a vote for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour across Britain. This is an opportunity to break from the two years of official politics being consumed by a seemingly endless Brexit crisis and Westminster game-playing.

It’s a chance to remove Boris Johnson and the Tories and demonstrate that we want real change in society. 

Brexit is the deepest political crisis in Britain for 150 years. At times the natural party of the ruling class—the Tory party—has looked as if it would tear itself apart.

Yet for most people it’s been immensely boring. The ins and outs of arcane parliamentary procedure are designed to be incomprehensible to most people.

It all bolsters the idea that politics is just for specialists—MPs, their helpers, and the media who spend their lives watching them.

It’s no wonder that trying to play this game has done nothing to help Labour in opinion polls.

As Socialist Worker went to press, polls suggested that on average Labour was 10 percentage points behind the Tories.

Labour activists rightly point out that a general election campaign could change everything. Remember that the 2017 general election was the Tories’ idea too. With Labour well behind in the polls, the Tories thought an election would be easy.

Instead Labour robbed the Tories of their majority in parliament. Labour MPs went from trying to get rid of Corbyn to—briefly—singing his name.

Pundits who had predicted that Labour would be smashed had to admit they’d got it all wrong.


General elections have the potential to transform politics.

Suddenly the focus is no longer on what politicians get up to in Westminster. Instead they have to try and talk about what matters to ordinary people.

And—in a very limited—way those ordinary people finally have an opportunity to intervene in politics and have a say over who governs us.

Labour’s 2017 campaign was so successful because it was bold and confident.

Its message was that the election wasn’t simply a chance to get rid of the Tories—but to break from all the austerity, racism and war that had dominated politics for decades.

It would be a disaster if Labour’s next election campaign focuses purely on which party has the right strategy to get different versions of the same Brexit deal.

Labour’s campaign has to be about a positive vision for tackling the climate crisis.

It has to be about ending the racism that leads to 39 people dying in the back of a lorry, and the disregard for ordinary people’s lives that turned the Grenfell Tower fire into a catastrophe.

It has to be about support for public services, and for the people fighting to defend them along with their jobs and working conditions.

Crucially, it has to have a sense that the people outside parliament and what they do is what really matters.

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