British Labour set for office as purge against the left continues

Britain’s Labour Party is a near certainty to win the snap general election on 4 July. Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is trailing by 20 per cent in opinion polls, with suggestions Labour could win its largest ever majority.

The Tories have delivered 14 years of austerity, savaging services that working class people rely on while cutting jobs and social benefits. Poverty has soared, with the number of people considered destitute doubling in the last five years to four million people.

Workers have suffered a severe cost-of- living crisis, with real disposable incomes still 0.7 per cent lower in December than before the pandemic four years ago.

Inflation is finally dropping after retail price rises hit 14.2 per cent, spending more than a year above 10 per cent. But there is little sign of any economic recovery, with Britain briefly slipping back into recession at the end of last year and expected to grow just 0.4 per cent this year.

A desperate Tory Party is resorting to disgusting racism and anti-refugee scares in the hope of clawing back some support. They want to dump refugees in Rwanda, imitating Australia’s detention gulags on Manus Island and Nauru. Round-ups of refugees for possible deportation to Rwanda have already begun.

They have also launched a torrent of Islamophobia to smear the mass protest marches for Palestine, with one former Cabinet member saying the streets had been “dominated by Islamic extremists … intimidating those they disagree with, backed by the prospect of violence”.

This has opened the door to Nigel Farage’s Reform UK Party and its even fouler racism. Farage, a millionaire stock trader and Donald Trump supporter, blamed immigration under the Tories for a “population explosion” that “has devalued the life of ordinary Britons”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is involved in a race to the bottom on racism and refugees. Labour says it would scrap the Rwanda plan but only because it won’t deport enough people. It wants to speed up deportations and introduce a new border security command to stop asylum boats.

Serving the system

Starmer has dedicated himself to purging the left and burying any memory of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn himself has been refused the right to run as a Labour candidate, and will now stand against Labour as an independent.

In the days after the election was called there was a further effort to dump left-wing Labour candidates, with Faiza Sheheen deselected for liking tweets that included criticism of Israel. Veteran Labour Left MP Diane Abbott was also threatened with a ban on running as a Labour candidate.

There are significant similarities between Starmer’s approach and Albanese’s right-wing Labor government. Albanese consulted with Starmer before the Australian federal election in 2022.

Just as Albanese did, Starmer is signalling that his Labour government will be a reliable servant of the ruling class, backing imperialism and boasting about his support for business.

Starmer will be the new UK partner with Albanese in the AUKUS nuclear submarine agreement and alarmingly has already declared British Labour’s willingness to use nuclear weapons.

Starmer has lent his full support to Israel’s genocide in Gaza, openly backing its war crimes by declaring “Israel does have that right” to cut off water and power to the people of Gaza. For months he refused to support a ceasefire, and still says it can be conditional only on Hamas surrendering.

Starmer has declared that, “We have worked up our plans in partnership with business” promising “economic stability” through being “tough” on spending while keeping taxes “as low as possible”.

This goes alongside a pledge to deliver more police and harsher penalties for young people and other offenders. Starmer has told the fossil fuel industry it could continue drilling for oil in the North Sea “for decades to come”.

Meanwhile Labour is offering just a small increase in the number of teachers and vague pledges to cut health service appointment waiting times.

There is already serious discontent with Labour, particularly over Starmer’s disgraceful backing for the slaughter in Gaza.

Dozens of Labour councillors have resigned to sit as independents since October last year.

George Galloway won the recent by-election in the former Labour seat of Rochdale in February opposing Labour’s support for the Gaza genocide, although he also disgracefully combined this with right-wing anti-migrant, climate denial and anti-LGBTIQ+ politics.

Independent socialists will stand in a handful of areas.

As we have seen with the Albanese government, the main challenge is to prepare to fight what will be an even more right-wing British Labour government after the election—as it supports Israel and imperialism, and backs anti-union laws, racism and cuts.

By James Supple

Magazine

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