Daniel Roantree argues that the Labour Party’s recent loss in England hurts everyone on Britain’s road to socialism.
We Communists do not rejoice when we see Labour being dragged down by the right wing of the party. The left wing movement in Britain is inextricably linked to the Labour Party, and as socialists it’s not good practice for us to celebrate the demise or defeat of continues to be the mass party of the labour and trade union movement.
Such an attitude is an ultra-leftist tendency that we must avoid. Were the Labour Party to collapse, left wing politics would be wiped from the view of the British public; we would have minimal socialist representation in the mainstream media. If Labour is to save itself, it must return to its working class roots, and we outside the Labour Party must be vocal in our support for such a return. Our criticism must address the heart of the issue; the reactionary elements of Labour.
A recent poll has revealed that when asked whether Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer could better tackle the pandemic, only 25% of people answered Starmer. Such a damning statistic emphasises the extreme failures of Starmer’s leadership. The Conservative party has overseen more than 130,000 preventable deaths (primarily working class), by prioritising profit over human life.
This is a time when the need for a strong left wing leadership could not be more essential. During the COVID-19 pandemic, socialist countries have protected their people whereas capitalist countries have protected their property. It shouldn’t be hard to crush the Tories in elections in light of such a horrifically handled pandemic – yet the Tories have made gains in England.
Starmer’s reaction to this defeat was in keeping with his character. His words tell us that he accepts responsibility, but his reshuffle reveals that he blames everyone but himself. As Dennis Skinner once said, “when posh boys are in trouble, they sack the servants.”
Starmer can reshuffle his cabinet all he wants, but as long as he’s leader, the Party will not have a meaningful direction. Change your socks all you want; you’ll still be shite at football.
However, while Starmer is truly a paper tiger, this defeat cannot simply be pinned on his personality. It ultimately comes down to the opposition that he failed to offer, and that will always be the case with anybody who holds such politics. You cannot have a capitalist opposition to a capitalist government. Such “opposition” is a liberal façade, a theatre that distracts the working class from their own fight.
As Communists, our fight is that of the whole working class. We must strive to see socialist leadership in the Labour Party, which can keep left-wing politics in the mainstream media, empower the trade union movement, and represent the working class in parliament.
Daniel Roantree, is a member of the YCL’s Edinburgh branch