Comment June 2011

Sadly we seem to have come to a situation where all 3 major paties (the LibDems still just about qualify) are all to the right of what used to be the centre of UK politics. None of them are making a strong defence of the poor, the weak, the old and the vulnerable.

The results should be fairly predictable - though the British tradition of pretending nothing is happening will no doubt mean that the public is slower to react than some of our European neighbours. First off - an ever increasing tide of protests, strikes and direct actions - peaceful at first, but perhaps not as time goes on. Secondly, a drift of voters to the Socialist Party, the Greens and independent candidates - a trickle at first, but increasing as frustration mounts.

There is a political vacuum on the left at the moment. Unless Ed Miliband moves quickly to fill it, another party or group of parties - possibly with candidates provided by the trade unions and other protest groups will take up the role of "Champion of the Poor". The only questions are how quickly this movement gathers momentum and wheher the various groups involved can resolve their differences well enough to provide a realistic alternative to the established parties.

Neither Labour nor the LibDems hold their traditional voter base by right. They must earn the trust and respect of the electorate day by day and year by year. To a large extent, both parties have abandoned those voters and have started to lose their trust.

I predict a breakaway from the Labour Party of the few remaining socialists to join up with the Greens, Socialist parties and several of the most active unions. Labour will lose the bulk of its union funding and be forced to go begging to business to remain solvent, which means it will have to make even more concessions to the corporate sector and become irrelevant to the labour movement. The LibDems will find themselves competing with Labour and the Tories for a narrow section of the political spectrum - and at least one of them will not survive.

I doubt if the New Socialist Alliance will have enough support and unity to win the next election, but yet another coalition is not out of the question. Would it let the Tories in again? Maybe - but Labour and the current LibDem leadership have become so much a part of the establishment that they are starting to be regarded as no more than puppets of the business sector. Ed and Nick had choices, but I suspect that they both made the wrong ones - to go right when there was a clear need to defend the left. Time will tell.