Tommy McKearney – socialist republican and organiser with the Independent Workers Union – warns of grim times ahead as another term of Tory rule beckons.
So the Posh Boys are back for another five years with all that means for the working class. Let’s remind ourselves that austerity is not a euphemism for financial prudence but is instead a weasel word to disguise the sovereignty of neo-liberal economics and the immiseration that inevitably follows.
A significant portion of the blame must be laid at the feet of a British Labour party that has failed dismally to promote the interests of the working class it claims to represent. With a million British people dependent on food banks, little more need be said about the condition of the working class in England. What a pity that all the Labour Party had to offer was to provide a risible list of ephemeral, anodyne promises chiselled on what might be its own tombstone.
The time has surely come for British trade unionists to review their relationship with the Labour Party. A strong and confident working class depends on having trade unions able to protect employment rights and defend the social wage. A Labour Party reluctant to aggressively promote these issues is simply a ‘beaten docket’, something that should be discarded and replaced with a party fit for purpose.
Scotland has understandably rejected the bogus promises of right of centre social democracy. Whether the rampant lion of the SNP can deliver a better package is open to doubt. Nevertheless, if the nationalist’s success allows working people there to realise that they can decide their own conditions and future, it is a positive development. At any rate it appears fairly obvious that the SNP victory means the United Kingdom’s constitutional structures will sooner rather than later undergo radical change.
Undoubtedly this will impact on the 6-Counties, where to the outside observer little appears to have changed. There is some evidence, however, that the Sinn Fein momentum has somewhat stalled. While the party remains a significant force in northern politics, its results were mildly disappointing. It’s too early to say if this is an aberration or a trend but Sinn Fein was unable to remove completely the SDLP while its vote slipped in West Belfast with a remarkable performance by the socialist Gerry Carroll. One small crumb of comfort, though. The Tory majority removes the threat of formal participation by the toxic DUP in a Westminster cabinet.
Overall and in spite of the clear Conservative Party majority, this election has left us with more questions than answers. How much longer can the Scottish question remain unresolved? If its denouement leads to an independent Scotland or even a federal Britain, what will be the impact of this on the North? Will Cameron be able to contain anti-European sentiment in Britain when he calls an in-out referendum on EU membership and can the Tories remain intact thereafter? Finally, will the British Labour movement, including obviously the trade unions, make serious steps to rebuild a meaningful and purposeful entity or will they send a fact-finding mission to Greece to ask Pasok how best to deal with obsolescence.