Sunday, 11 May 2008

2008 London elections and a broad left alternative to New Labour and the Tories

Below is an analysis of the recent London election results and prospects for building a broad left party in Britain. Both Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett are members of Respect, a broad left party that contested the elections. Nick and Alan reaffirm in their article the strategy of building broad inclusive parties of the left in response to formerly social democratic parties (like the Labour parties of Britain and NZ) embracing neo-liberalism. It's important that those forces committed internationally to the broad left project continue to share ideas, experiences, strategies and tactics. It's for that reason UNITYblog is posting Nick and Alan's article. There's certainly plenty in it that's relevant to us here in New Zealand as we strive to build RAM into a credible broad left party. Of course it's not a case of one size fits all, each broad left formation has to understand its own political environment and what's unique to each country, but there remains much that can be learnt from each other. Particularly as we're all entering new territory, and there's no road map. Some strategies and tactics will work, others will prove to be mistakes, which will be the basis for new learning. If that process happens with an internationalist perspective then a stronger global broad left movement will emerge. As well as fostering informal ties based on a shared political perspective we must also consider how we can move towards international strategies and organisational forms that can pursue those strategies globally. We need to urgently unite the world's grassroots forces for the massive struggle that's upon us. See SW-NZ's statement Organising to build a global broad left movement (17 November 2007).
Respect and the election results by Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett from Socialist Unity 6 May 2008 The New Labour project is falling apart at the seams. Its local elections results were the worst in 40 years, with only 24% of the vote and coming third behind the Liberal Democrats. This is a disastrous result for Brown. In London, the election of Boris Johnson as Mayor and the presence of a BNP member on the Greater London Assembly will disturb and depress all who value the multi-cultural diversity of the city. The most immediate catalyst for the collapse of the Labour vote was the abolition of the 10% income tax rate (i.e. Labour attacking a large part of its core base), but looming large behind that is the economic crisis ­ the credit crunch, rising fuel and food prices set against continuing low wages for a big section of society. Added to this was Brown's inability to spin the New Labour project in the way Blair could do it. All of this raises the prospect of a further electoral disaster in the European elections in 2009 followed by a drubbing in the general election of 2010 and the possible election of a Tory Government. Against this background what are the prospects and possibilities for building a left-wing alternative to New Labour's neo-liberal policies. What is the terrain and what can be achieved? Continue

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