Thursday 6th May. Election Day. After weeks of campaigning the opinion polls suggest that the result is still too close to call. Of course, the polls could be wrong as they were in 1970 and more recently in 1992. But one thing is clear – no one is looking forward to whoever forms the next government with much optimism.
Indeed questions are already being asked as to how it was possible for the Tories to throw away the sort of poll leads they have been enjoying over the last few years. The answer is of course that many people are more than a little worried about what the Tories might do should they get into office. This is the reason for Labour closing the gap over the last period rather than any positive action on the part of the Labour leadership.
The Tories started slipping in the polls after their party conference last year when they announced just how tough they were going to be in dealing with the defecit. Much to their horror they discovered that people didn’t like the look of this one bit. Why should working people bear the brunt of paying for a crisis not of their making? Having spent billions of pounds in bailing out the banks – whose owners are now making vast sums again and paying themselves nice fat bonuses to boot – the City of London is now calling for huge cuts in public services to cover the tab.
No wonder, during the election campaign, the Tories have been very quiet about what cuts they actually intend to make. The right wing think tank the IFS has complained that all the maIn parties have not been honest about their plans for public spending and should spell them out to the voters. Needless to say this vote-losing advice has not been taken up.
Of course much has been made of the Lib Dems over the period of the campaign. Having built them up following the first leaders debate, the media has been hurriedly trying to push them down again. The original plan was that the Lib Dems would play the same roll the SDP did in 1983 and act as a trap to lure votes away from Labour, giving the election to the Tories. However Clegg came on TV and presented himself as being Not The Other Parties. With a few radical demands thrown in, this had an effect on the potential voters which was not planned at all. Whether this Lib Dem surge will actually come to anything on the day remains to be seen. Every indication is that quite a few voters are still undecided even at this late stage.
One thing should be made clear. The Lib Dems are not the so-called radical choice. They are a capitalist party committed to the maintenance of the bosses system. Clegg has spent the last year shifting the Lib Dems to the right and has hinted off the record that he will be quite happy to cut a deal with Cameron even if electoral reform is not part of the package. So much for principles! The lure of a share in government seems to be enough. Vote Clegg, get Cameron! However Clegg may, on the basis of how things pan out over the next few days, decide to try and cut a deal with Labour. They should tell him to get stuffed and stand as a minority government if need be. If they lose a vote of confidence then they should be happy to go back to the country and call on workers to back them. For this they will need a socialist programme and a leadership committed to this.
We cannot predict what the result of the election will be. In calling for a Labour vote to keep the Tories out, it is clear that the main responsibity for Labour not having what they should have, which is a good lead over the Tories, is down to the Labour leadership and their programme in office. Had they carried out socialist policies in the interests of working people then the result would not have ever been in doubt. As things stand, Labour is banking on enough people looking at the Tories and getting cold feet to hold back electoral defeat. The omens are not promising on this.
As we have previously explained, big business do not want a weak or hung parliament. They want a government with a good majority, strong enough to take action in slashing public services and taking on the organised working class. If the opinion polls are to be believed they may not get it. However capitalism will require them to push on regardless on this. So one thing is clear even now. The next government will be a government of crisis, majority or no majority. The task of the Labour and trade union movement is to organise and resist these attacks as a united force armed with a fighting programme. Their task is also to set about reclaiming the Labour Party from the Blairite/Brownite entrists and set it on the road to a programme of socialism which will take control of society for the benefit of all. Whatver the election result this must be done without delay.
Keep the Tories out!
No to the cuts!
Fight for a socialist programme!