The general election of 2010 has been called. To no-one’s surprise, on
Thursday 6th May, voters will go to the polls to decide who will form
the next UK government. For a very long time now, the Tories – the
party of big business – have enjoyed a sizeable poll lead, backed up by
good results in local and Euro elections. Yet the gap between the Tories
and Labour has closed sharply in recent months. Why is this?
Well it has nothing to do with the performance of Not-So-New Labour in office, with their pandering to the bankers and the CBI, but rather with the growing realisation of what the Tories are and what they will do to public services and the working class should they win.
Over the next month we will be carrying reports on the election campaign, taking up the issues raised by the parties, their manifestos and what the leaders say. But we will also be explaining the alternative and the need for socialism to solve the problems faced by the masses.
In calling for a Labour vote to keep the Tories out, we will also be outlining what workers and youth need to do in order to break the grip of big business and the City of London on our lives. Simply voting is not enough, you needto get involved in the struggle for a better tommorow.
To kick off our election coverage, we publish below the article by Mick Brooks from the front page of the new issue of Socialist Appeal.
The Tories have always been the party of big business. For the last hundred years they have opposed
every step forward for the working class and every reform.
In 1926 they took on the workers in the general strike and,
having provoked a confrontation with the whole trade union movement to drive
down wages and victimise militants, starved the miners back to work.
In the hungry decade of the 1930s they were the hard faced
people administering the means test – in effect blaming the unemployed for
unemployment, and cutting desperate people off from their scanty entitlements.
In 1948 they voted against the formation of the National
In 1984 they took on the miners once again. Thatcher
infamously branded workers fighting to defend their jobs as “the enemy within.”
They opposed the minimum wage. Their leader Michael Howard
called it a proposal of “staggering economic illiteracy” and predicted two
million extra unemployed. He was only two million out!
All their policies have had one aim – to bolster the rich
and big business at the expense of the working class. Their tarnished image has
kept them out of office since 1997, despite the failures of New Labour. They
have tried to soften their appearance and shed the perception of the Tories as
‘the nasty party.’ Their leader David Cameron speaks softly and tries to sound
like sweet reason. They would like to persuade us that they have changed.
Don’t believe them. Here is Cameron praising Thatcher’s
government and glorying in the chance to take on the unions: “Margaret
Thatcher’s government was defined by taking the side of the people against the
powerful…She broke the stranglehold of the union barons and gave every worker
an equal right and equal say. Vested interests broken – people empowered.”
This is the exact opposite of the truth. Thatcher used mass
unemployment, in part created by her own government, as a whip against employed
workers to try to smash the unions and drive up profits for big business. Workers
now have very few real rights at work and what they have is only kept alive
through resistance and struggle.
Cameron also repeats Thatcher’s homilies about ‘cutting your
coat according to your cloth’ to show that he supports savage cuts in public
spending. No wonder his chancellor in waiting, George Osborne promised, "We will be the most
unpopular government in memory by the end of our first six months." Are we really supposed to vote for this? Don’t
let it happen!
The Tories say cuts are necessary because the government has
borrowed so much money. But New Labour has borrowed the money to bail out the
Tories’ rich chums in the City, not to give to the poor. On the contrary, under
Blair and Brown, Britain has become more unequal than ever. Don’t forget –
however bad New Labour has been, the Tories would be worse
What else are the Tories promising? They want to raise the
threshold on inheritance tax to £1 million. This will overwhelmingly benefit
the rich. It will hand over £1.2bn to the top 2%. Giving tax relief on pensions gives the most
to those who are supposed to pay the most tax – the wealthy. That would donate
another £3.2bn to the top 1.5%. Abolishing Labour’s popular 50% top rate of tax
would grant the richest 1% another £2.4bn.
The Tory programme is austerity for the masses, cuts in
services that are vital for working class people with profligate tax cuts for
the rich at the same time. Even by their own terms it doesn’t add up.
We understand how workers have been demoralised by thirteen
years of New Labour crawling to big business. It is understandable that
millions of people, with no recent memory of the Tories in government, sigh
that ‘they’re all the same’ and may stay at home on polling day. But the Tories
want to build on this mood of demoralisation to put the boot in further. Their
big business backers need them to do this because of the crisis.
Don’t let the Tories get away with it. Vote Labour. But also
help rearm the working class movement with socialist policies and sweep away
the Tory menace and the system they represent.