‘While Tory losses in the local elections were bigger than expected, many millions of electors did not trust Labour with their protest vote against the cost of living crisis and Boris Johnson’s disastrous priorities during the Covid epidemic’, Robert Griffiths told the Communist Party’s executive committee at the weekend.
‘The LibDems and Greens were the biggest winners, but Labour under Keir Starmer’s lacklustre leadership failed to make headway across large parts of northern England and the south-west and Cornwall’, he commented, pointing out that two-thirds of electors had not voted at all on May 5.
The CP general secretary identified two key factors in Labour’s failure in much of England outside London and parts of the south.
Firstly, he argued, millions of former Labour supporters in Lancashire, Yorkshire and parts of the Midlands had not forgotten nor forgiven Labour’s attempts to dismiss the democratic vote to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Secondly, Starmer’s purge of the left in the Labour Party effectively sabotaged the party’s campaigning capacity, provoking more than 150,000 members – many of them activists – to resign and take their membership dues with them.
Mr Griffiths warned that the pressure would now intensify for Labour to enter into a formal or informal pact with the LibDems, Greens and possibly Plaid Cymru and the SNP at the next General Election.
‘Instead of fighting everywhere on a manifesto of bold left policies and progressive federalism, Labour would be invisible in more than a hundred constituencies and lumbered with policies straight out of the LibDems infamous pro-big business, pro-market Orange Book’, he warned.
Furthermore, the CP leader added, ‘this electoral alliance would be a Trojan Horse for pro-EU fanatics to bind Britain to EU single market rules instead of utilising Brexit to abolish VAT, direct private capital investment, support local enterprise and reverse privatisation’.
Congratulating the Communist Party’s own candidates on their vigorous local campaigning, the CP executive decided to place its election commission on a permanent footing and tasked it with increasing participation in next year’s council contests.
Britain’s Communists welcomed the recent statement on the Ukraine War by Lula da Silva, former Brazil president and favourite to defeat Bolsinaro next time.
Lula holds Ukraine president Zelensky, US president Biden and the European Union equally to blame with Putin for the conflict. He has criticised Western powers for inciting and escalating the war instead of working for peace and ruling out Ukrainian membership of NATO.
‘Lula’s position underlines the need to re-establish the Non-Aligned Movement, which challenged imperialist domination and aggression during the first Cold War’, Robert Griffiths remarked.
The CP executive also condemned the threat to abortion rights from the US Supreme Court and warned that the hard-right Christian lobby would seek to extend their offensive to women and LGBT people generally.