THE RESULTS of the European Parliament elections show above all a clear rejection of the European Union – the low turnout; the steep fall in the proportion of what vote there was for the pro-European Liberal Democrats and the only parties gaining anything were on the fringes with distinctly anti-EU policies.
The low turnout was not due to apathy; the people of Britain are currently very angry with all the mainstream parties over the MPs’ expenses scandal. They could have gone for mass protest votes but they chose to boycott the whole process. And this lower than usual turnout prevailed throughout Europe – the working people of Europe are disillusioned to say the least with the structure of the EU – designed and operated for the benefit of capitalism at the expense of the workers.
The saddest thing about this low turnout is that it has allowed the fascist British National Party to win two European Parliamentary seats – even though their vote was numerically down on the last European Parliamentary elections, but proportionately it was higher because the total vote was so low.
The two BNP MEPs are veterans of the 1970s National Front and have a long history of overt racism and denying the Holocaust. And if anyone voted for them in protest at the MPs’ expenses scandal they should take a close look at the accusations of fraud theft that have abounded within the BNP over the last two decades, especially against current leader Nick Griffin when he staged an internal coup against the John Tyndall-Phil Edmonds faction about 10 years ago. Based on the BNP’s record, we fully expect further internal splits now that they have some EU money to squabble over.
The media is full of the crisis facing Gordon Brown after the resignation of a number of right-wing, neo-Tory, Blairite plotters at the top of the Labour government, orchestrated to put pressure on Brown to resign. Workers in Britain should be celebrating that these anti-working class scum have purged themselves from the leadership of the party. Brown is a weak Prime Minister – he should have sent them packing long ago but he is himself too tainted with their New Labour (Tory) values.
If they succeed in pushing him to resign the plotters have no capable replacement and it would precipitate a general election within months, leading to a Tory government that no one wants.
That is another picture that emerged clearly from last Thursday’s elections: the Tories also lost votes – they only gained seats because Labour lost more heavily. There is no enthusiasm for the Tories. Workers know that a Tory government would cut jobs, cut services, cut healthcare, cut education, cut pensions and cut affordable housing. Every public sector worker would fear for their job and would be under pressure to accept big wage cuts. Private sector workers would fare no better.
Brown could so easily turn the situation around if only he would adopt pro-working class policies. John McDonnell MP, leader of the Labour Representation Committee and the Socialist Campaign Group and John Cruddas of the Compass Group have both said that faction fighting within the party will only make things worse. Now there are so many vacancies appearing round the Cabinet table Brown should be filling them with pro-working class MPs like McDonnell and Cruddas.
He should be launching a mass council house building programme that would solve the problems of homelessness in Britain and provide construction jobs at the same time. He should abandon all further privatisations, especially the Royal Mail; he should abandon the expensive and useless Trident replacement weapons system. And he should abandon the illegal and unjustified and unwinnable war against the people of Afghanistan. These are the policies that would inspire Labour voters back to the ballot boxes.
Brown is a weak man stuck in a rigid New Labour pro-capitalist mindset. But his weakness does make him susceptible to pressure – he often gives in to media pressure.
If only the organised working class can match that pressure he could be made to change and adopt the policies that would save us from another nightmare Tory future.
|This week’s Lead article||This week’s New Worker Review||Previous week’s New Worker|