It is very clear that the political consensus put forward by the major parties over the last 20 years has been blown out of the water and has been shown to be a sham. And I think that will be seen to be the case far and wide. People know if they can find the money for the banks they can find it for pensioners and other social concerns. People will have questions.
It is the role of the trade unions to channel the anger, and we now have a great opportunity to do that.
We need to campaign on several areas. We will see the return of wage militancy, we’ve seen that from our members recently. We need to go back to the important issues such as the anti-union laws. People are joining unions.
Our campaigns need to focus around several areas. If taxpayers’ money is being used to bail out banks, why not to do something else, for example to stop house repossessions? This is especially important where there has been a process of mis-selling. We also need to call for building more council homes, not only so there are more homes but so there are building jobs.
If the banks want our money they need to know it is under tough conditions. Similarly if any ex-public service industry wants our money, then that industry needs to be under the control of the workers.
Is there going to be a party to replace Labour soon? I’m not convinced. But the feeling that we need an alternative is increasing.
The people who talked about the death knell of socialism were talking too early. This is an opportunity to explain what is wrong with capitalism and to put forward an alternative.