Inside Labour, it's not going to be easy

Submitted by martin on 12 May, 2010 - 1:58 Author: Pete Willsman

Pete Willsman is secretary of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and a member of the Labour Party National Executive. He spoke to Solidarity about his views on the election result.

On the doorstep I always thought that the talk of the Liberal surge was exaggerated. But the Liberals did even worse than I expected.

The Labour Party did slightly worse than I expected. There were definitely more people out working for Labour than the other parties. The unions turned a lot of people out to work for Labour, though after the record of the last 13 years you might expect them not to. I suppose they were scared of the prospect of a Tory government.

Overall, the result was pretty much as I expected, though I expected Labour would come a bit closer to the Tories in seats won.

By going in with the Tories, the Liberals will do themselves a lot of harm in Labour areas, though elsewhere many Lib Dems are just Tories anyway.

The Liberals have given the Tories a lot of power. The Tories may call a snap election when it suits them, and we could then have a Tory majority government.

I'm totally opposed to proportional representation. Everyone was saying that proportional representation would give power to a natural centre-left alliance, but now the Liberals have gone in with the Tories.

With PR, in my view, we'd have constant Tory-Liberal or Labour-Liberal coalition governments. Anyone on the left who supports PR is stupid.

The TV debates have also had a bad effect. In the Labour Party now everyone is obsessed with the TV debates and the need to have a "show pony" to perform in them. It demeans politics. It reduces it to something like politics in America, which is what the Blairites always wanted.

The New Labour agenda is still moving on. The Liberals and Cameron support a lot of the New Labour agenda.

Inside the Labour Party we've got to get more democracy - and find a candidate who both can win and will bring in more democracy and move away from neo-liberalism. It's not going to be easy.

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