ON Thursday the Labour Party suffered its worst defeat in a general election since 1935 and handed Boris Johnson’s Tory party a majority in Parliament of 78 seats.
This was a dramatic reversal of the gains made in the last election when Labour destroyed Theresa May’s majority.
The huge difference between then and now is that in 2017 Labour fought on a manifesto that pledged to uphold the result of the 2016 referendum on EU membership and honour the decisive vote by workers to Leave.
In this general election they fought on a manifesto that completely trashed the vote of millions of workers by dumping this commitment in favour of holding a second referendum which would exclude entirely the option to Leave the EU.
Labour paid a heavy price for their contemptuous betrayal of workers with seat after seat in its northern strongholds, which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, falling to the Tories on the basis of Johnson’s promise of leaving the EU on January 31 next year.
Seats that had never returned a Tory MP were lost in this rout. Immediately, the right-wing pointed the finger of blame solely on Jeremy Corbyn claiming it was down to his ‘unelectability’.
In fact, it is the right-wing of the Labour Party that bears responsibility. It was the right-wing in the leadership that campaigned relentlessly against Brexit and to turn the Labour Party into the party of Remain.
All the right-wing was concerned with was overturning Brexit through a second referendum – not the election of a Labour government.
They opposed calling a general election instead demanding another referendum to overturn Brexit before going to the country.
Now the right-wing of the Labour Party is left with nothing – no second referendum but instead a Tory government with a thumping majority which it will use to wage war on the working class. They will collaborate with the Tories, having helped them into office.
Corbyn’s failure was to refuse to fight the right-wing instead giving in to them at every stage. He compromised to the extent that he went into this election as a prisoner of the right-wing Remainers.
Instead of purging the Labour Party and fighting for a socialist Brexit to break with the capitalist EU and expropriate the bosses and bankers in Britain, Corbyn caved in to the demands of the right-wing.
Corbyn’s weakness is that, as a social-democratic reformist, he is opposed to revolution and is therefore politically incapable of standing up for the real interests of the working class.
In his speech conceding defeat, Corbyn announced he would be standing down as leader after a period of ‘reflection’ to oversee the election of a new leader.
In fact, he and McDonnell will be lucky to last the day as the right-wing move to dump them immediately.
As for the Tories, it was noticeable that Johnson in his victory speech was careful not to sound too gloating.
Standing in front of a big banner proclaiming ‘The People’s Government’ Johnson thanked Labour voters who had voted Tory for the first time, vowing to lead a ‘people’s government’ and fulfil the ‘sacred trust’ they had placed in him.
Johnson said: ‘You may intend to return to Labour next time round, and if that is the case, I am humbled that you have put your trust in me, and I will never take your support for granted.’
What a humbug! His nauseating expression of humility masks Johnson’s nervousness about the working class – even in a moment of temporary victory.
Johnson is acutely aware that the Tory government is faced with imposing the full effects of the world crisis of capitalism onto the backs of a hugely powerful working class that is already rising up in strike after strike against the austerity that capitalism is demanding.
With social democracy disintegrating and betraying, the issue today is the working class breaking with the reformist Labour Party and going forward to rapidly build up the new revolutionary leadership of the WRP that will mobilise the working class to take the power. There is not a moment to lose!