THE defeat of the Labour Party in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election – by 7,860 votes, making a 17.6% swing to the Tories from the 2005 General Election, on a 58 per cent turnout, two per cent less than the general election – was no ordinary by-election event.
First of all the stock of the Tory party has been so low after the Thatcher years and the 1993 Black Wednesday sterling and housing crash that it had not won a by-election seat from Labour for 26 years.
In the 1990s, in the seven years before the 1997 regime change, Labour won by elections.
So the masses have not been queuing up to have the Tories back – their patience with Labour has simply been worn out and has now turned into anger.
What has turned quantity – masses of workers abstaining in elections – into quality – masses of workers abstaining and some voting Tory – is the development of the worldwide capitalist crisis that has revealed the Blairites, led by Brown, to be the servants of the banks and big business.
Workers have seen Brown rushing in to give the banks over £100bn in credit, without any collateral, and then turn on the masses to raise some of the cash by abolishing the 10% tax rate for the lower paid and bringing in three year wage cutting deals for millions of workers.
Brown fawns over the bosses and is willing to make the poorest people even poorer to placate them.
This is the new quality that has now emerged to change the situation, first of all by undermining the opportunist Parliamentary Labour Party.
However this process will not stop here.
Brown declared yesterday once again that he was listening, but revealed that nothing will change. He said: ‘My task is to steer the British economy through what have been very difficult times in every country of the world.’
His task is to save the British capitalist economy. This can only be done by an all out war on the working class and the middle class to make them pay for the crisis.
Any bourgeois government will have to do exactly the same dirty work as Brown. This is why the public school fraternity around Cameron and Osborne are not exactly desperate to take office through bringing the government down.
Cameron said yesterday ‘We have to build the biggest coalition for change. We really can change this country, remove this government and rebuild the country.’
Well of course talk of a coalition is not new. Blair wanted to form an immediate coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 1997. Brown has a government that includes non-Labour party ministers.
Cameron wants to carry on with that work, because in the days ahead the ruling class is going to be very hard pushed to carry through the draconian actions required to maintain British capitalism.
It is in this situation that the trade unions must use their enormous power.
They built the Labour Party, they finance it and now they must act to purge it of the Brown government – before it hands over power to a Tory led coalition – and bring in a workers government that will have socialist policies to resolve this crisis in the interests of workers.
The trade unions must stop financing the Brown led Labour party, and must demand and force an immediate Labour Party leadership election, and stand a trade union candidate with policies to meet the capitalist crisis.
Unions must insist on a government whose stance will be that workers and the middle class have not caused the capitalist crisis and they must not be made to pay for it.
• The repossession of homes by the banks is stopped.
• The privatisation programme is ended
• Wage claims are linked to the real inflation rate so that families can afford necessities and not go without.
• Employers who insist on mass redundancies or closures are nationalised.
• A programme of public works is organised to build the millions of council homes that are needed and millions of young people learn a trade and work for a trade union rate of pay.
This is the way to keep the Tories out.