Bourgeois parties line up to impose the attacks

When the LibDems and the Tories agreed on a coalition the French newspaper Le Monde quaintly described it as "A marriage of reason at 10 Downing Street". In reality, for all the horse-trading and manoeuvring that went on behind the scenes those involved in the negotiations were united in seeing the seriousness of their task.

Council elections: Using the BNP to strengthen democracy

The BNP makes some electoral gains. The fascist menace is made to seem a little more tangible. People must no longer be ‘apathetic’, they must take up their civic responsibilities, they must vote for anyone but the BNP. It is in this process the ruling class tries to persuade workers to forget their own class interests and fall in behind the parties of their exploiters.

UK General Election 2005: The ruling class got the result it wanted

Almost immediately after the general election Gordon Brown spoke at the Amicus union’s annual conference and made it clear that the Labour government would carry on in the way it had already established. He insisted on “wage discipline” and was blunt about the Labour government’s opposition to any attempt to impose limitations on the length of the working week.

Not apathy but antipathy

On present evidence we may only just cross the 50% threshold and deliver a narrow majority of the electorate to the polling stations.” This is how Robin Cook expressed the ruling class’ concern about low turnout at the forthcoming election (Guardian 18.3.05). While “barely a third of the population believed that they really can change the way the country is run by getting involved” the risk is “In the long term, ebbing public confidence in democracy will erode it of legitimacy” – as well as a short term loss of control of the political machine with the rise of populist parties.

Leftists respect bourgeois democracy

Before the last UK general election in 2001 the ruling class were very concerned that there would be a dramatic drop in the number of people voting. When it turned out that a record low number had bothered (and 18 million hadn’t) the various leftist groups that made up the Socialist Alliance could at least say they’d done their best to get people interested in capitalism’s electoral spectacle.

Foreign policy in the election: All parties are militarist

In their election manifestos all the political parties made grand statements about Britain’s role in the world. Labour set out its “ten-year vision for British foreign policy”; the Tories talked of Britain being “one of the world’s most respected democracies, one of its most influential leaders” while the Liberal Democrats called for an “internationalist approach”. As ever, the reality behind such words is a brutal defence of national interests.

A new government to further reduce workers’ living standards

Once the dry ice of the election spectacle has cleared, the new government can get on with its job: defending capitalism at the expense of the working class.

After every election it’s the same, regardless of which party gets in. The indications are that, this time round, the ruling class prefers Labour to provide the best team for looking after its interests.

With the world economy in crisis, Labour continues to attack the working class

Regardless of delays in the date for the election, the campaign has already started, and it’s clear what’s in store.

The Labour Party’s mock horror movie posters, ‘Economic disaster II’ and ‘Son of Satan’, picturing Hague and other Tories, show that the strategy of making the campaign personal is no idle threat. “Even if we are criticised for being personal, we will be raising the profile of the election. We have got to give people a reason for voting and we will do that by stoking fear of the Conservatives” said a senior Labour spokesman (The Times 20.3.01). This follows on from Blair’s speech in Scotland in February condemning apathy, and Tony Benn’s farewell speech to parliament in which he said “The real danger to democracy is not that people will overrun Buckingham Palace and run up the Red Flag but that people won’t vote.” Academic studies have pointed to the possibility of the lowest electoral turn-out since 1918. The Socialist Alliance is trying to get workers interested in the democratic charade.

London Mayor election: Capitalist 'democracy' is a fraud

The circus of the elections for London mayor and the Greater London Assembly has rumbled on for months. From the controversies over the choice of candidates by the Labour and Tory Party to the interventions of Malcolm McLaren as a candidate and Chris Evans with his £200,000 for Ken Livingstone, there has been a constant attempt to keep this innovation in local democracy in the news. Jeffrey Archer was originally selected because he was supposed to be some sort of ‘character’. His replacement, Stephen Norris, was more famous for his mistresses than his political standing. With the Labour Party the saga that finally lead to the election of Frank Dobson over Glenda Jackson (significantly an ex-film star) and Livingstone, and the subsequent decision of the latter to stand as an ‘independent’, was dragged out longer than even the worst soap opera would ever have dared.

Euro-elections reflect Britain's contradictory position

The results of the Euro elections have been portrayed as a sign of the importance the 'British people' give to maintaining national independence and sovereignty against a European superstate. The fact that the UK Independence Party (UKIP) rose from obscurity to take 12 seats and 16% of the vote, slightly more than the Liberal Democrats, is presented as evidence. At the same time, both Labour and Tories suffered significant losses. But this would be to ignore the reality of the way these elections were widely used as a protest vote against government parties across Europe. It would also be to ignore the statistics that show almost nowhere was there a turnout of much over 40%, except where voting is compulsory, indicating that the electorate regards these elections as just as irrelevant to government policy as local council elections. In Britain the turnout was raised to almost 38% only by instituting postal ballots in several areas, despite the risk of fraud.

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