THE Liberal Democrats have won the Eastleigh by-election, with the UK Independence Party pushing the Conservatives into third place, with Labour as also-rans.
Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) got 13,342 votes, with Diane James (UKIP) on 11,571, Maria Hutchings (Conservative) on 10,559, and John O’Farrell (Labour) on 4,088. This was in a 53% turnout, down from 69.3% at the 2010 general election.
The by-election was called after former LibDem cabinet minister Chris Huhne resigned as an MP following his admission he had perverted the course of justice.
The LibDems took Eastleigh from the Tories in a by-election in 1994.
What is clear is that while the mass of LibDem voters refused to turn to the Tories and stuck with Clegg, despite the Huhne scandal, Tory voters were not prepared to stick with their party, and switched to the alternative Tory party, the anti-EU UKIP.
Just days after the UK lost its Triple-A status, the retention of which was the key policy of the Cameron-Osborne leadership, the ruling party in the coalition has now been hit by another hammer blow.
They had tried to maintain that its Triple-A status turned the UK into a safe haven from which they could borrow money at low interest rates for years ahead while they waged their austerity war against the working class.
Now the world’s speculators, heartened by the crisis of the ruling party in the coalition, will proceed to try to make their fortunes by driving sterling down, as they did with great success when they collapsed sterling to drive the UK out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 – all done while Chancellor Norman Lamont was whistling in his bath.
A large number of Tory MPs are now absolutely convinced that they cannot win the next general election with Cameron and Osborne at the helm and will begin an operation to remove them in order to try and move closer to UKIP, on the basis that if you cannot beat them, try joining them.
Meanwhile, Cameron and Osborne have no alternative but to proceed with their savage austerity war and their privatisation of the NHS and the fire service, in a frenzied attempt to try and show the world’s bourgeoisie that they are still running the country.
This effort is now going to meet a mounting and massive resistance from the working class, who have had enough of them.
The essence of the current political situation is that the main party of the coalition is now in a desperate crisis, and is beginning to break apart. It is only a matter of time before it is brought crashing down.
Labour, meanwhile, at Eastleigh showed that it cannot win the middle class. It could not make any gains out of the crisis of the LibDems and the Tories.
Labour policy now is to do nothing, stress that it is also for cuts, and prepared to do anything and everything that is necessary to save British capitalism. They are readying themselves to replace the Tory-LibDem coalition with a Labour-LibDem coalition, that will continue with the present coalition’s policies as the economic crisis worsens.
The working class and the trade unions must now take advantage of the desperate crisis of the coalition by taking decisive action to defend the NHS and the Welfare State.
There is only one way that this can be done, and that is through a policy of opposing all closures of hospitals, fire stations and factories with trade union-led occupations, and mass strike actions leading to an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government.
The workers’ government must expropriate the banks and the major industries and put them under workers management to re-build the economy, providing jobs for millions through the application of socialist planning.
There is no alternative to this socialist revolution and establishing a workers government, since capitalism has come to the end of the road and cannot be allowed to drag humanity into the abyss with it.