Thanks to our team of trained psephologists armed with the predictive powers of Marxism, Facing Reality can once again bring you the news before anyone else. We can confidently predict that TUSC, Left Unity, Anarchists, the Weakly Worker, and of course the government itself will all be trumpeting their successes.
Facing Reality will also give you a sneak preview of the results of the left parties and what they will say as soon as the election results are announced. You’ll have to judge for yourselves whether anybody is really “doing politics differently”.
We conclude with another Facing Reality “exclusive”. Newly elected MPs discuss the success of the extreme left and anarchists, as well as giving their thoughts on what the victory for the government means.
Nearly 1 in 300 vote for the Party of the 99% despite media blackout!
Everywhere TUSC candidates stood we had enthusiastic support – particularly from young people and public sector workers. TUSC election meetings were successful – with significant numbers of people coming along because they had picked up a leaflet and wanted to find out about a socialist alternative.
Although TUSC candidates got some creditable votes – TUSC’s support was not generally reflected in the votes it received. In part this was because of the capitalist media’s virtual blackout of TUSC. This made it difficult to establish a national profile.
Building a positive, political alternative: The struggle to create an independent political voice for the working class – which stands for a socialist alternative to the profit system – is a crucial part of our tasks. TUSC is a modest, but very important, step towards such a goal.
While still only early beginnings, the number of trade union organisations that backed TUSC is significant.
It is important that we continue to develop TUSC beyond the general election. To do this successfully means recognising the early stage of development of this formation, which still has a limited number of activists.
However, it also means understanding that the most significant aspect of TUSC is that it has involved sections of militant trade unionists, and is therefore a real step towards independent working class representation.
It is the federal, inclusive approach adopted by TUSC that has made this possible. All future developments will need to build on this method.
What is clear from the results so far, however, is that ‘the party that doesn’t exist’ for the national media (TUSC still doesn’t appear in the BBC’s website’s guide …….. ) has made its mark and prepared the ground for broader and deeper electoral challenges in the future.
Doing Politics Differently Gets Results
Left Unity did even better than TUSC, with candidates securing an average of an eye-watering 1 in 200 potential voters. Like other parties, Left Unity’s giant PR machine went into overdrive once the results were known, focusing of course on the candidates that came within a mere 3% of saving their deposits. At Left Unity’s post-election party, one member who wished to remain anonymous declared “at least we did better than them tuskers”, before being ordered to “do politics differently”.
Facing Reality wasn’t able to
hack leak much of Left Unity’s post election analysis due to the group not existing at the previous election. All we have is these snippets.
If we had gone out and canvassed we’d have probably bumped that up three times — but we didn’t have the manpower
Judging Left Unity by the election results doesn’t show what’s going on, where the main project is to do much more campaigning.
Left Unity are in it for the long haul, not just popping up at election time. We’ve been quite open about this result as a modest beginning.
Facing Reality’s Jo Bloggs, a Left Unity member, is currently working on a piece “Where Next For Left Unity?”
Anarchists claim to be the real winners despite the media blackout
“We won! We got over 40%” explained an anarchist reveler at their post-election party. “The media blackout meant that there was no coverage of the biggest group in this election. Why was there no empty seat at the leadership debate”, she stated.Despite a higher turnout than in some recent election, the 40% of eligible electors who didn’t vote did better than any of the main parties. “And we did better than those Class War sell outs”, my anarchist friend reminded me. However, another declared that “A “don’t vote” campaign on its own is …a waste of time. So,anarchists say, vote, or don’t vote. It won’t make any difference”
The Communist Party of Great Britain also announced success after it “urge[d] voters to spoil their ballot papers with some suitable message: eg, ‘For socialism’.” in the majority of constituencies. The CPGB also decried the media blackout of this option, and then went on to boast of their 0.3% spolit papers being “better than those neo-Keynsians in TUSK and LU”
New MP boasts “The Government Always Gets In”
Facing Reality spoke to Thomas Riddle, New MP for Little Whinging in Surrey, at his extravagant victory party . “Thanks for voting”, he laughed, “it really encouraged us”, before going on to explain that he thought it was fantastic that millions of people had taken part in such a fantastic exercise in democracy. He then smiled and said “whoever they vote for, the government gets in”.
When we could drag him away from the coke,we asked him what he thought about TUSC, Left Unity and the other revolutionary candidates who did so badly their results were buried away on left blogs and facebook. “I must thank them”, he told us. “They say we are for the 1% and they are for the 99%. It’s great for us that these people who say they are the only 100% anti-austerity party get less than 1%, while the rest of us get 99% of the vote”. When asked why he even gave a shit about what the left got, he explained “many of our friends are having to stop these lefties causing trouble by resisting austerity in their workplaces and communities. It helps us in any local dispute if we can just point to how few people actually voted against cuts.”
Facing Reality’s Failure to Win Seats – Interview with Jo Bloggs
FR: So how many votes did you get Jo?
JB: None – I’m more unpopular than the Socialist Party of Great Britain!
FR: So did you bother to vote?
JB: Yep. Green, to keep the Tories out where I live, and TUSC because despite his SWP membership, I’ve known and trusted the candidate for 30 years.
FR: What do you think of the new government?
JB: Well, even with a 70% turnout with 85% of the potential electorate registered, a government party with only 30% of the vote got less than 1 in 5 people to vote for them. That is not a mandate.
FR: So do think the government will be weak and unpopular?
JB: Do yo think the left needs to rethink that phrase?
FR: OK, er, what about TUSC and Left Unity? Surely it’s better that they stood at all than not have any socialist candidates? Afterall, you voted for them.
JB: Only because I lost the argument (for the second election running) that the left’s resources would have been better spent working with the hundreds of anti-cuts, left activists working to get decent radical and socialist voices like Dennis Skinner, Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas re-elected as MPs. Their parties would have welcomed non-members, and we could have been part of a live debate with many activists about how to really win change while doing something that could have helped keep more radical voices in the media and in all political debate.
FR: Is that why you take the piss out of TUSC and Left Unity?
JB: I don’t mean to cause offence, though I can’t help laughing and despairing when I see the same statements rolled out after every election explaining how fantastic their result was. That’s as daft as the other main parties. I thought we were supposed to be different.
FR: So you’re saying that all their hard work in the last 3 months has been a waste of time?
JB: Not at all, I just think it could have been better spent in a few constituencies. I fear the tiny votes could demoralise some on our side. A few right wing Labour people in the unions will use our low vote when arguing against resistance. But where there have been some kind of campaign, new contacts will have been made, networks extended and perhaps a few more people open to what socialism really is.
FR: But shouldn’t that kind of activity be done all year round
JB: Precisely. There is no reason why having public open air rallies and stalls, mass leafletting and door knocking etc cannot be done anytime. Around any issue. In fact the left needs to learn how to get involved in more small scale local issues like bus fare increases or traffic speeds, or whatever local people feel strongly about, as well as industrial disputes and national issues
I sincerely hope that the left really does move to more collaborative work to build a base for a united left party in all areas across every city, all year round and not just at election time
FB: Well, don’t hold your breath! And get on with the promised “Where Next For Left Unity?” piece.
POSTSCRIPT : What I got wrong, what I got right, an what I learnt
Perhaps it was rather foolish posting up election results within an hour of the polls closing. But my main point was to try and prevent my fellow socialists making themselves look foolish and making the same post-election statements as last time by posting last time’s post election statements.
Firstly however, my main mistake was to ignore the local elections and not have any idea how much better tusc would do in a few local areas.I don’t think the results are great, and reports of votes of 100 being cheered at local counts is, in my view, asking people to laugh at us. However, tusc in my area at least did a lot better than the 1 in 300 votes I predicted. So in Brighton and Hove, while the parliamentary candidate got less than 200 votes (0.167%), the council candidates (covering 3 constituencies) got over 3,000.The average percentage of eligible electors voting Tusc or Left Unity was 1.55% (range:046% to 3.21%). Or ignoring those who chose not to or couldn’t register, though surely these are people we seek to engage with too, the average percentage of electors voting Tusc/Left Unity is 1.86% (range 0.56-3.38%).
These methods of calculation is important because it includes everybody who could have voted for us.It is also important because as The Socialist points out, the Tories only won”24.4% of the total electorate. This is very far from being a ‘clear mandate’ for the savage cuts that will come.” We must set the same standards for ourselves as our rulers. In fact the percentage of eligible electors voting Tory is almost exactly as I predicted – around one in five, or 20.74%.
I was also slightly wrong about the Tusc candidates for parliament. According to this ex-Socialist Party member’s report,Tusc’s average share of the vote was 6%, or 3.77%of the eligible electorate. In fact that’s such a tiny difference to my 033% prediction that I think my point about the small result potentially harming us still stands.However, I was definitely wrong to think Left Unity would do slightly better by concentrating their resources – in fact they got less, with less than 1 in 500 of eligible electors voting for them. And both Tusc and Left Unity were beaten by the Socialist Labour Party, despite rumours about their existence being just that, rumours.
As for getting some sensible post-election statements out of the left, I completely failed.If anything, the statement below is triumphantly worse than in previous years. Of course, this years local election votes were double the normal amount, due to a general election turnout for local elections.Perhaps that’s partly why Tusc seemed overjoyed due to getting thousands of votes. While in a few places, this was good, I would take issue with those claiming these were votes for a “Marxist/Socialist” platform. What’s more, 1.55% is still only 3 votes per 500 people. It’s a continuation of the decline of the Left vote since the 1980s, when even the RCP could get this kind of vote on a maximum programme. This certainly doesn’t warrant statements such as
“Let the sceptics and the fainthearts dismiss our election results, ! TUSC managed to assemble a serious national challenge with a splendid election broadcast, which attracted the attention and support of broad layers of workers…..TUSC has now ‘arrived’ as a recognised factor on the labour movement’s national and local electoral map. What conclusions will trade unionists and particularly the leadership of the unions draw from this?…….No doubt some on the right will seek to undermine TUSC, to play down the achievement of putting together a coalition of trade unionists and socialists to fight the election. Some national trade unions may seek to distance themselves from TUSC”
So, what have I learnt?
That I can look forward to Tusc’s components, the SP and the SWP continuing to work well together and build Tusc in all the areas where they’ve made an impact. I expect to see Tusc vans and stalls taking the anti-cuts and socialist message out into the communities regularly, involving all the new members who’ve joined. Now that tusc is rooted itself in local communities across every city, I expect that every cut will be met with a group of determined local activists under the tusc banner. And perhaps most important of all, with the SWP and SP working together, there will be united action within every union to resist austerity, privatisation and the new Tory anti-union laws. Afterall, the SWP are about to send us all another Open Letter……….