Much of the left is in something like despair this morning, because at the time of writing it seems like the Tories could even be heading for an overall majority in the general election. This despair is easily understandable because the images of grinning, slimy, Tory bastards are made all the more horrific by the shock of it all. Every poll had declared the election too close to call, with the Tories maybe a couple of points ahead, but unlikely to be able to cobble together a coalition. It seems like people told the pollsters they’d vote Labour, but in the privacy of the ballot box, decided that actually they might as well vote Tory.
Labour lost heavily in Scotland, but this was because the electorate moved to what seemed to be the left, to the SNP. Much of the Lib Dems’ horror show is also down to left voter migration. They seemed to do particularly deposit-losingly badly in Labour safe seats, as working class voters who had considered the Lib Dems a soft alternative to austerity in 2010 (yes, that really happened) deserted them and delighted in their humiliation.
We have to face it though, in the seats which Labour were hoping to win enough from the Tories to offset their Scottish wipeout, a number of people no doubt walked past the food banks, got to the polling booth, and thought ‘you know what, I’m doing alright at the moment’. And enough of these people did the dirty on the pollsters to make a difference.
But the problem isn’t that such ‘middle class’ swing voters are selfish, the problem is that working class people aren’t consciously selfish enough. Voting for Labour isn’t in our self-interest. Labour are murderous bastards, who would have made almost exactly the same drastic cuts over the next few years as the Tories. If you’re not sure, just look at the behaviour of Labour councils, such as Liverpool’s, where the mayor is quite happy to actively starve the homeless to spare his own blushes.
But enough of that. Let’s forget elections now. If elections were the only way to change things, how did working class women and men get the vote anyway, or make any gain for that matter? Answer: by organising in workplaces and neighbourhoods, and fighting like fuck in the ways the rich told us weren’t allowed.
It’s time to get our collective war face on.