Socialist Worker of 15 December carries an explanation of the electoral policy, in the oblique form of a letter from veteran SWPer Shaun Doherty.
"Our general approach is to vote left if possible and to vote Labour where there isn’t a credible alternative.
In these by-elections it would be wrong to call for a vote for Labour at a juncture when they have committed themselves to cuts and have found themselves in a cleft stick over the benefit cuts.
But it would have been wrong to endorse Respect given George Galloway’s comments on rape. In Croydon we were not able to call for support for any of the candidates.
This does not mean, however, that in future by-elections or the next general election we will adopt the same position. We have to base our electoral position on the political circumstances current at the time".
Puzzling. That Labour has committed itself to cuts and found itself "in a cleft stick" on big issues is not exceptional, but general.
In 2010, when SW backed a Labour vote in the majority of constituencies, where TUSC or others weren't standing, Labour was not only "committed to cuts" (smaller and slower than the Tories'), but already carrying them out.
We can hope and work for a big turnaround in the Labour Party and the affiliated trade unions, but by far most likely is that at the next general election Labour will have roughly the same "smaller and slower" cuts line as now. What will Socialist Worker say then?