THE general election saw the Labour Party completely routed in Scotland and humiliated in parts of England – a result that spells the complete bankruptcy and collapse of reformism.
In Scotland, the wipe-out of Labour at the hands of the nationalist SNP was almost complete. They are left with just one seat and suffered the humiliation of seeing the leader of Scottish Labour being turfed out and the Labour Party’s chief election strategist, Douglas Alexander, lose to a 20-year-old student. The biggest scalps were those of Ed Miliband who resigned as Labour leader and Ed Balls the chancellor-in-waiting who lost Bolton.
In Scotland, the working class hatred of the Tories, from Thatcher to Cameron, after all the years of austerity, from the Poll Tax to the Bedroom Tax, did not spare Labour which had refused to carry out socialist polices during the Brown-Blair governments.
The final straw was being asked to vote for Miliband’s Labour on the grounds that it had adopted an austerity programme that was allegedly more humane than the Tory version.
The end result is that Scotland is both a Tory and Labour free zone with the cock-a-hoop nationalists in control by the kind permission of a Labour Party which had dropped all socialist policies!
In the days ahead, we will no doubt see the Cameron-led Tories making deals with the Scottish nationalists to keep them quiet, while the Tories get on with the job of cutting the throat of the British working class with desperate efforts to smash its welfare state and its NHS.
Instead of sweeping Cameron from office, the reactionary policies of the Labour Party, dominated by their guiding belief that their job is to protect capitalism, especially when its historic crisis comes to the fore, have resulted in Miliband resigning, his number two, Balls, losing his seat and a Labour Party that will now break apart, as the trade unions seek to defend themselves from the vicious anti-union laws that the Tories have vowed to bring in.
The ruling class is much relieved that the crisis of the reformists resulted in it getting the government of its choice, especially when its previous LibDem coalition partners were destroyed, almost to a man, because of their association with deeply unpopular austerity policies.
The ruling class now faces the unpostponable task of trying to push through the most savage austerity cuts and anti-union laws, in order to keep bankrupt British capitalism going, using a government with a wafer-thin majority that can be rapidly destabilised by its inner contradictions, over an EU referendum for example. As well, the working class is in no doubt what is in store for it under a Tory government.
All the leaks about their plans to cut all benefit for young people and families with more than two children and an even more brutal bedroom tax, are just the tip of a very big iceberg.
Bankrupt British capitalism can only survive by the complete destruction of the welfare state – everything from benefits to the NHS and education must be cut to nothing or privatised, while trade union action must be made a criminal offence by new anti- union laws.
Reformism has just proven that it cannot defend these gains by protecting bankrupt capitalism. Defending the basic gains of the working class means getting rid of capitalism, overthrowing it and replacing it with a socialist planned economy.
The great reforms of the past can only be defended today by revolution.
The general election has not only dealt a death blow to the Labour Party leadership, it has also created a huge crisis for the trade union leaders. For years they have been holding back the anger of their members with the promise that a Labour government will solve all their problems.
Confronting a Tory government committed to making strikes illegal will require illegal political strikes and a socialist revolution.
These struggles will require a new leadership in the unions. Miliband and Balls were selected by the current trade union leaders. A revolutionary leadership must be built in the working class and the trade unions. This task is unpostponable. Only the WRP and Young Socialists are building this leadership. Join today to organise the socialist revolution.