The local elections on May 1 saw Labour haemorrhage support.
Why? Because New Labour has betrayed working-class people, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The lack of a credible left alternative has meant that voters have turned to the Tories, who are now staging a dramatic comeback. The fascist BNP are also gaining ground because of New Labour’s alienation of working-class voters.
The Tories are now on course to win the next General Election, and the Labour leadership will doubtless implore us to stop criticising them in order to keep the greater evil out of power. No way - it has been Blair and Brown’s imitation of Tory policies that has caused Labour’s crisis, so rallying round the copycat Tories to keep the real ones out is not the way to go!
Labour’s abandonment of the class that set it up has created a crisis in working-class political representation. Our unions have to address this crisis. We can not afford to either tail the Labour leadership while quietly moaning to ourselves - as ASLEF and TSSA do - nor to drift into a political wilderness not really knowing what to do, as RMT is in danger of doing.
Instead, the unions should convene an urgent debate about how to assert socialist politics and the right of the working class to have a voice in politics. They should set up and support local workers’ representation committees, together with other unions and socialists, which can identify and promote candidates in elections (Labour or otherwise) who deserve our support. Unless we do this, we will return to the situation in the 19th century when workers had a Hobson’s choice of one bosses’ party or another.