AS the results of Thursday’s local council elections come in and are poured over by the main political parties and the pundits in the bourgeois press, a near unanimous agreement has been reached – stunning upset caused by UKIP, collapse of LibDem vote, disaster for Tories and huge blow for Labour.
The common thread running through the propaganda in the run-up to the vote, was that the collapse of the Tory and LibDem vote was expected and that the Labour Party vote would similarly be driven down as a result of workers deserting the party in their droves to vote for the populist right-wing UKIP.
The election was thus portrayed as not being a test of the popularity of the coalition but of the Labour Party and especially its leadership. The election results proved something quite different from this scenario of a hated coalition and an unelectable Labour Party.
Despite the dire predictions of the pundits, the Labour vote saw off the challenge of UKIP in the major urban cities.
In London, Labour won the flagship Tory council of Hammersmith and Fulham and has taken control in Croydon from the Tories, along with Redbridge, Cambridge and Merton.
Across the country, Labour is up by over 172 seats, the Tories down by over 139 and the LibDems down by 152. UKIP has gained 105 seats but does not control a single council.
What was noticeable about the UKIP vote, was how its strongest support was in the Tory shires of Essex and Sussex, although it did record gains in the Midlands clearly at the expense of Labour votes.
The fact remains that the working class and middle class in the main voted for Labour in spite of the leadership of Miliband.
Workers are not stupid, they recognise that Miliband and the rest of the party leadership are totally disconnected and remote from the working class and the day-to-day struggles that workers and their families face just to feed, house and clothe themselves.
As for policies, the Labour leadership has faithfully parroted every lie pushed out by the coalition that economic recovery is ‘well under way’, that austerity works and that capitalism is set to enjoy a new lease of life as long as workers accept low pay, cuts in benefits and the destruction of the welfare state.
It fully agrees with Osborne, Cameron, Clegg and Cable that workers must pay for the mountain of debt run up by the banking collapse.
On the same day as the council elections, it was announced that the UK national debt had grown by a staggering £88 billion in the past year to a total of £1.27 trillion – the interest repayment alone on this debt is now £1 billion a week!
All the austerity cuts were supposed to have brought down the debt. What is in store from the present coalition and any future Labour government is a massive increase in attacks on working people, the unemployed and youth far beyond anything experienced so far.
While UKIP picked up votes from workers in the Midlands – undoubtedly as a protest against the coalition and the weak, timid pro-austerity policies of the Labour Party – their failure to make any dent in the Labour vote in the major cities shows just how fragile their base is, resting as it does on right-wing disaffected Tories in the shires.
The working class, despite all predictions, did not desert to UKIP but delivered a class vote against the Tories and LibDems.
For the working class and middle class, the lesson of this vote is that it is not in their class interest to wait for one year until the next general election and hope for a Labour government that will solve this crisis.
With £1.27 trillion of debt, and growing fast, the next year of Tory rule will see the biggest ever attacks on workers and the poor.
The working class interest demands that the trade union leaders immediately call a general strike to kick this government out and bring in a workers government that will advance to a socialist society.
Those leaders who refuse to wage this fight must be removed and replaced with a new leadership prepared to lead this struggle. This is the way forward!