The lesson of the election is that Labour must fight Tory measures day-by-day – not wait until a few weeks before the next election. Labour has been notably absent from demonstrations against the bedroom tax and other measures during the past 5 years and has relied far too much on TV appearances.
The Labour Party I remember as a boy conducted political activity on the streets and in workplaces and was part of mass opposition to Tory policies. Today’s Labour Party has cut links to trade unions and mass political activity, relying instead on debates at Westminster and TV studio interviews.
Moreover, during the past five years, it has accepted the Tory agenda on austerity, even pledging not to reverse Tory cuts in government spending. That’s why its election campaign lacked all credibility and has not enthused its supporters. OK – Nick Thomas-Symonds has retained Torfaen for Labour. But overall its results have been grim – in particular in Scotland where it has been outflanked on the left by the SNP. I doubt that it can ever win back Scotland if it continue to back Trident and doesn’t oppose all future austerity cuts.
How did I do? Frankly, better than I feared. I received 697 votes – I think this is more than other Socialist Labour Party candidates and way above the votes for most other non-Labour ‘socialist’ candidates.
I also was within 50 votes of the Green Party candidate – who will have benefited hugely from national publicity on TV and radio for his party (by comparison, the SLP had miniscule coverage).
Our new MP is a good man but unused to grass roots campaigning. I am keen to talk with him asap to discuss what we can do together in future.