AS THE 2010 GENERAL election nears the opinion polls are becoming erratic, the latest putting the Conservatives just five points ahead of Labour, though that has ranged from 11 points to two points ahead according to different polls in the last fortnight.
Tory leader David Cameron is desperate; if he loses this his career is over. So last weekend we had his wife, in a TV interview, telling us that he is a thoroughly nice chap, if a bit messy round the home. This is such an obvious, cheesy ploy and tells us nothing about his policies that you would think it would put voters off. But no, it has helped his poll ratings a little; such is the current level of political involvement of the people interviewed by the pollsters.
Workers are facing cuts in jobs, wages, conditions and services while money is wasted abroad on brutal imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system. The workers are angry and fed up but they are also demoralised and alienated from the political system. Alas, we are not in a revolutionary situation. We cannot pass a vote of no confidence in the working class; we have to accept the one we have, not the working class of ultra-left fantasies who are just waiting for the right call to rise and sweep away the rotten system of capitalism.
And the ultra-lefts are in part responsible for the political alienation of many workers by their continued attacks on the achievements of the united working class at home and abroad. They attack existing socialism in Korea, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and other places for its alleged imperfections and the real achievements of former socialist countries in raising living standards for the working class.
At home they attack the organised working class — the unions and the Labour Party without ceasing. Now there is a lot wrong with the New Labour leadership and some union leaderships but there is a sensible way of correcting this in a positive and constructive way that builds unity and confidence among workers and exposes the opportunists, careerists and class traitors. And there is the ultra-left way that divides workers, destroys class unity and confidence and helps the ruling class to stay in power.
The choice facing working class voters is very limited; we are in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The choice is between Cameron, favoured by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and ready to set about an extreme programme of public spending cuts that will raise unemployment and destabilise the economy — or Brown, who is no socialist but who is just beginning to edge away from some of the worst of the New Labour policies.
There is no other realistic option until we do have a revolutionary situation.
Voting for fringe left parties will help Cameron, especially in marginal seats.
Such parties have no chance of winning. Even when they do get an MP, like Respect’s George Galloway, there is very little he can do, isolated in the House of Commons which he rarely attends.
But even if we could fill every seat in the House with genuine Left MPs, we would still be in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Such a government would still be forced to bail out the banks. The alternative would be to see millions of workers not getting any pay for the foreseeable future, people’s bank accounts disappearing, all services, public and private, collapsing without a cash-flow to operate. There would quickly be real hunger and terrible hardship.
Nor would such a government be able to impose conditions on the banks in return for the bail out. The banks would ignore them — as they have done with Brown’s government and in America with Obama’s government. The banks will rule until they are overthrown by a rising of the workers.
So in the meantime it’s a choice between Cameron backed by Murdoch or Brown, still backed by most of the unions. Under Cameron the working class will be further alienated and demoralised. Under Brown, the workers have a chance, through their unions and in organisations like the Labour Representation Committee, to fight back and build unity and confidence.