THE working class saw the Tories, and the Scottish Tories of the SNP, off in Thursday’s by-election in Glasgow North East.
On a miniscule 33 per cent turn out, Labour’s Willie Bain got 12,231 votes, a majority of 8,111 – while the SNP’s David Kerr came second with just 4,120 votes, and the Tories were third with 1,075 votes, just 42 votes more than the BNP which, with 1,013 votes, lost their deposit.
So there you have it. With a poll 12 per cent lower than the last general election, the Tories are about as popular as a dose of swine flu and were just a few votes away from losing their deposit.
Twelve years after the Major government, the Tories have still not recovered from the class hatred that was instilled north of the border and in many parts of the UK by the various Thatcher regimes and their brutal anti-working class policies.
In fact, the disgraceful alliance of Murdoch’s Sun and the Eton-Bullingham Club toffs of the Tory Party leadership, with their no-holds barred attempt to destroy Gordon Brown from the right in recent weeks, helped to reopen the wounds from the Thatcher and Major years and the determination of Glasgow North East not to have the Tories at any cost.
This, however, does not mean that the working class supports the policies of Gordon Brown, or that basic anti-Tory hostility will be enough to keep the Tories out of office at the next general election.
Workers know that Gordon Brown’s determination to preserve the banks and pauperise the working class and the middle class to do so – along with his plans to privatise and slash the NHS and the welfare state to cover the vast state debts that his save-the-banks policy has built up – is the most powerful force working in favour of a return of the Tories, along with the most vicious Thatcherite policies.
In fact, the issue amounts to whether the Brown government will be brought down from the right, by the Tories, opening up the road to a military police regime to make the working class pay for the crisis, or brought down from the left by the working class, opening up the road to the struggle to smash capitalism and go forward to socialism.
At the moment, the postal workers are fighting to defend their jobs, wages and pensions.
Their leaders have agreed to an Xmas truce to get over the most critical period for the Royal Mail, so that it and the government come January 31 can resume their war against the postal workers.
BA workers have just been told that the Iberia-BA merger will mean thousands more of them losing their jobs.
Already, the BA cabin crew are having a strike ballot which is expected to show a 90 per cent Yes vote for strike action.
Their Unite leaders have just told them that they will not be coming out on strike over Xmas, again the worst possible period for industrial action as far as BA is concerned, since they must wait for a legal verdict on whether BA’s actions towards them are illegal.
Again, this postpones the BA strike till the New Year and helps BA over its Xmas crisis.
The firefighters and the civil servants and millions of local government workers are in the same boat, as the employers and the government aim to sack them, cut their wages and rationalise their services.
There is only one way forward for the working class. It must build a new leadership inside the trade unions through organising a public sector alliance and a general strike to bring the Brown government down.
This will bar the road to a Tory return, and create the conditions for a workers government that will put an end to capitalism and go forward to socialism.