Labour Party

The contours of class

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The huge TUC organised demonstration in March has shown that the working class is still a force to be reckoned with. Mark L Thomas looks at the reality of class in Britain today, while Jack Farmer unpicks the debate within the Labour Party over how to relate to the cuts

After the huge TUC-organised anti-cuts demonstration at the end of March, one thing should be clear: the contours of British society remain profoundly shaped by class.

It wasn't just that the 26 March protest was huge, though it was. With at least 500,000 demonstrating - perhaps even as many as 750,000 - it was the second biggest demonstration in British history, after the February 2003 anti-war march.

Labour's Pains

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The shock resignation of Alan Johnson as Labour's shadow chancellor and the appointment of Ed Balls to the post has brought to the fore Labour's internal tensions over its direction and strategy.

Such tensions centre on how the Labour Party should deal with the budget deficit and respond to the Con-Dem cuts.

Ed Miliband has sought to balance different pressures. Despite trade union support enabling him to clinch victory over his brother, and his apparent distancing of himself from New Labour when he described himself as part of a "new generation" of leaders, he quickly shunned the label of "Red Ed".

Labour's "Red" Ed?

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At times the Labour Party leadership contest seemed to go on forever.

At the beginning it also seemed as if it would be profoundly dull, with four men - of roughly the same age, background and politics - in the running alongside a token "left" candidate in the form of Diane Abbott (token in the sense that she was only there because David Miliband instructed supporters to put her on the ticket).

There is an alternative

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With massive cuts looming debates are beginning about the best way to respond. Should Labour councils refuse to implement Tory cuts?

A debate is opening up about how best to respond to the attacks on the welfare state. I was invited to speak at an anti-cuts meeting in Lambeth recently and a lively argument broke out between members of the Labour Party which took me back to the 1980s - what should a Labour council do when faced with budget cuts?

Labour: Things didn't get better

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After 13 years in office New Labour has been beaten. Pat Stack surveys the wreckage of a party that attacked its own voters.

As the Tories and Lib Dems scrabbled together their unsightly coalition it seemed a lifetime ago that Tony Blair was being greeted with anthemic pop songs and cheering crowds bathing in the optimism and hope for a new dawn. This time the optimism was replaced by cynicism and bewilderment at the haggling that finally allowed David Cameron to sidle into 10 Downing Street, while Gordon Brown slouched out in just about as dignified a manner as was possible at the end of a wretched campaign.

The making of a cutters' coalition

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To their dismay, the Tories failed to win a majority in the election, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. Labour was not wiped out, and, despite losing seats, Nick Clegg led the Lib Dems into government with Cameron's Tories. Dan Mayer analyses the coalition that no one voted for.

The general election will be remembered as the election nobody won.

It was supposed to be the Conservative Party's triumphant return to power. Backed by Rupert Murdoch and the City of London, facing the tired and unpopular Gordon Brown, David Cameron was supposed to fulfil his Etonian destiny by effortlessly sweeping into Number 10.

The Labour debate

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Working class people are angry at Labour, but at the same time they are fearful of the prospect of a Tory government. Judith Orr responds to the arguments about Labour and the election

The debate we are having on the pages of Socialist Review about whether socialists should call for a vote for Labour where there isn't a left alternative reflects a very real debate happening across the wider working class movement. After 13 years of Labour in government the bitterness against it among workers is intense.

Should socialists argue for a vote for Labour?

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Against: "A waste of time"

Ask me to vote Labour? Never again!

When the editor of Socialist Review rang and asked me for an article on why I believe we shouldn't vote Labour at the next general election, I jumped at the chance.

I recently heard SWP national secretary Martin Smith say that he was meeting more and more young people who vowed they would never vote Labour again. I can well see why.

Should socialists argue for a vote for Labour?

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In favour: "Hold your nose"

The looming general election and the possibility of a Tory government have reignited debates about the nature of the Labour Party and whether or not socialists should call for people to "hold their nose" and vote for it. From privatisation and the MPs' expenses scandal to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, New Labour has betrayed the hopes of millions of voters. But do these betrayals mean that Labour is now just the same as the Tories?

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