The Age of Political Upsets

I joined Labour activists outside Croydon College today in a last ditch attempt to get students at the college to register to vote before the deadline at midnight tonight. While 1.5 million young people have registered to vote in the forthcoming general election since it was called, this still leaves, according to the Electoral Commission, 7 million people unregistered, a large proportion of whom will be young, first-time voters. But why was this last ditch and modest effort left to a few, idealistic political activists?

The truth is that the government is quite happy to see young people disenfranchised. Most of them face a working life in insecure employment, loaded with debt for college fees and unable to afford to rent, let alone buy a flat. They are not going to vote Tory. Even Tories understand that Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas!

It’s worth taking a moment out from electioneering to reflect on what it would be like to participate in a truly democratic election. The government would, of course, have a legal responsibility to encourage young people to register, but it would feel very different in many other ways. There would be vibrant debate on every street corner; fly posters would be everywhere; the law requiring the BBC to be impartial would actually be enforced; there would be no election deposits to restrict voter choice; every vote would mean something; election spending would be drastically capped; and the mass media would reflect the views and interests of their readers, viewers and listeners, not those of a bunch of tax dodging billionaires. Finally, the parliament we would be electing would be drawn from ordinary workers, not a wealthy, privately educated elite, many already in the pay of big business or willing to join up once elected.

But enough of daydreaming! Back to the unequal struggle to get Labour elected in a flawed process. As the Tory wobbles this week demonstrate, including opinion polls published today in Wales, and contrary to what we are reading in the mass media, it’s not yet all done and dusted. We can win this unfair and undemocratic election. As the American and French elections demonstrate, this is the age of political upsets.


About drmartingraham

Branch Secretary Croydon CP Convenor Communist University in South London

2 thoughts on “The Age of Political Upsets

  1. Comrades of the CPB – I was surprised to read recently that during the 1945 General Election in the UK – Winston Churchill was polled as expecting an easy victory – but in the event, Clement Attlee’s Labour Party won by a landslide. Both my grandfathers fought against fascism in WWII, with both sides of the family being Staunchly Socialist. Churchill was generally hated throughout the British working class, and known to have sympathised with Hitler in the 1930’s. He was also adamantly opposed to the principles of a comprehensive Welfare State, and National Health Service. In other words, he was a typical Tory, and the Bourgeois media did its best (through bias coverage) to get him elected as prime minister. Whereas Jeremy Corbyn represents the ‘Socialism’ that inspired the Welfare State and the NHS – Theresa May definitely represents the rightwing agenda of Churchill – although suffering from the impediments that she is an unelected prime minister, and has not fought a war against the forces of internationalist fascism. Let’s not forget also, the 10,000 (plus) disabled people that have died between 2010 – 2015 due to the Tory and LibDem ‘Austerity’ cuts in benefit payments, social services and NHS treatment – an atrocity so heinous that the United Nations (UN) found the UK Tory-LibDem government ‘Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity’ in 2016 – a fact barely mentioned in the mainstream British press. Recently released UN papers from WWII reveal that both Churchill and Roosevelt conspired to bring down the Soviet Union even as it was engaged in pushing the Nazi Germans out of its territory. After liberating the Ukraine, the Red Army came across heavily armed Nazi-sympathisers led by non-surrendered German officers throughout Western Ukraine – many armed with British and American Weapons. Today, following in the footsteps of Churchill, Theresa May openly supports the neo-Nazi regime currently operating out of Western Ukraine. The British working class has no alternative but to vote ‘Labour’ – despite all the problems dogging the party in recent times. The point is that the Labour Party can be reformed by a triumphant Jeremy Corbyn, and be placed back on a sound ‘Socialist’ footing that will benefit the workers and steer the UK through a ‘Left Exit’ out of the European Union (EU). An upset might well be upon the cards, but ordinary people must understand the power of the ‘vote’ and what is at stake. The NHS (and Welfare State) can be saved now – but not in five years’ time after another Tory stint in power. As Tony Benn once said, even an old lady sat in her kitchen can put an ‘X’ in the voting box – and bring down an entire government with no violence whatsoever! Comrades – battles are there to be fought – and we (the working class vanguard) must never miss an opportunity to carry the Red Flag bravely forward!

  2. Reblogged this on The Sangha Kommune. and commented:
    An interesting insight into the British General Election (2017) from the Croydon Branch of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB).

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