I have a choice of candidates here in the Perry Barr constituency of Birmingham. Khalid Mahmood is the sitting Labour MP and no one is questioning that he will continue. At the last General election I was a candidate myself, but not for the Labour Party. This time there is no candidate for the Socialist Labour Party for parliament, although there is one for the City Council Election. Paulette Hamilton is the candidate, nearly deselected by efforts of her two comrades, and she again is expected to hold onto her seat.
My first thought is for the great need for a fairer system than first past the post which reproduces the same old same old so Austerity is going to continue in one form or another. Austerity is a measure determined by a Westminster elite controlled by big business and huge unaccountable corporations who have been successful in maintaining their power through the status quo. Politicians from all parties in Westminster become part of the revolving door culture very quickly. A few individuals hold out. Dave Nellist, standing on the left in a Coventry constituency and winning his parliamentary seat, would only take a working person’s salary. He mentions how on the first day in parliament he was offered directorships from lobbyists. That’s the culture and that’s how it works. Today’s poll won’t alter that. Unless.
The Socialist Labour Party is fielding 8 candidates in Wales. That means it achieved a party political broadcast. Ken Capstick speaks about the dire situation many families and individuals find themselves in exacerbated by 5 years of Tory/LibDem rule. Arthur Scargill presents the SLP manifesto.
Clearly the Socialist Labour Party hasn’t the support or the money to challenge the status quo. However many detected a breath of fresh air when three other parties were introduced into the televised election debate. I exclude UKIP and Farrage because the air around that party in not only stale, it is poisonous in the way that surrounded the growth of the Nationals Socialists in Germany in the thirties. Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and the Green Parties, all with women leaders, articulated sentiments which more than a few people understood. Nicola Sturgeon’s assertion that many of the things the Scottish people want – freedom from the Westminster system currently in place – is shared wider. In the she’s right. The problem is that as Socialists we want to see a cohesive force across the currently United Kingdom which does away with austerity, privatisation and run down of what we used to call “essential services”. If Sturgeon is still heading for a separate Scotland but still wedded to other bastions of elitism like Europe, no I don’t want to go there.
Today I know I have a choice between Labour, Conservative, LibDem, and then Green Party, UKIP and TUSC. While UKIP supports withdrawal from Europe as does the SLP the reasoning is fundamentally different. Placing the blame on and fanning hatred of migrants is not the reason for the plight of the most vulnerable. It is a Capitalist system of greed that needs to be displaced. There is no cosy, cuddly form, wished for by many of the other parties. It is vicious and exploitative as has been shown in the 5 years of Austerity we have just lived with. Its press has shown just how it is with the Sun, Mail, Telegraph screaming at people to ensure their Capitalist paymasters maintain their power and influence. It is clear at the moment that with the prospect of a hung parliament that public opinion doesn’t continue to follow to the degree it once did when Neil Kinnock was denied victory.