10 July 2024

Never Before Has A Party Won An Election with Less Than 34% of the Vote – Starmer’s Government Lacks All Political Legitimacy

The Question is Whether Or Not We Can Unite to Defeat Britain’s Macron & Learn From the French Left How to Defeat ‘Centrist’ Warmongers

This coming Friday at 6.30 the Socialist Labour Network has invited a range of different speakers to give their views on the election that has just gone by and the prospects, as they see them for the Left during the Starmer government.

Register here:


Never before has a government been elected with a huge majority to almost universal public indifference if not hostility. The voting turnout, 59.8%, speaks for itself. The second lowest since the war. This says everything about the decay of bourgeois democracy. Anyone who remembers the 1964 election of Harold Wilson’s government with a nail biting majority of 4, after 13 long years of Tory government, cannot help but notice the difference.

1964 was a time of the Beatles and optimism. Change was in the air. It was no mere slogan. With Starmer Change is a PR slogan signifying nothing more than a change in the Board of Directors of UK Ltd. It is the kind of change that Big Brother would have approved of in 1984.

In 1966 Wilson achieved a majority of 98. The Labour government abolished capital punishment, outlawed racial discrimination, introduced equal pay for women, homosexual law reform as a result of the Wolfenden Report and the 1967 Abortion Act.

Unlike Starmer’s toadying to the USA, Wilson refused the request from US President Lyndon Johnson for British soldiers to fight in Vietnam. In a curious reversal of US policy, which up till then had been to eliminate British influence in the Middle East, the Americans argued against Dennis Healey’s decision to retreat from East of Suez. See The Fall and Rise of Britain’s ‘East of Suez’ Basing Strategy

In 1951, 1955, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1992 and 2017 (under Corbyn!) Labour had a higher % of the vote but didn’t win the election. Under Corbyn in 2017 Labour won 40% compared to Starmer’s 33.8% and yet it won 150 fewer seats.

Starmer Labour went out of its way to dampen expectations. His main selling point was that he would be no different from the Tories. Whatever else you can say about Blair people were excited by his victory. Starmer by way of contrast is a personality free zone. A man entirely devoid of charm or charisma. He is the personification of the Coercive State. He is the face of corporate capital.

Nowhere was this more evident than in his own constituency Holborn and St Pancras. In 2017, under Corbyn, Starmer received 41,343 votes, (70.1%). In 2019 he gained 36,641 votes (64.5%). In 2024 his vote halved to 18,884 (48.9%). Socialist Independent Andrew Feinstein came from nowhere to pick up 7,312 votes (18.9%). Starmer repels even his own constituents.

Putting it another way, in 2024 Labour received 600,000 fewer votes than in the ‘disaster’ of 2019. Whichever way you look at it, Starmer’s Labour Party did not receive a vote of confidence.

Starmer’s support for genocide in Gaza has cost it dearly. Four right-wing Labour MPs lost their seats to candidates opposing Starmer's support for Israel's Nazi behaviour.

Despite predictions from the pollsters, Jeremy Corbyn sailed home winning by over 7,200 votes.  Even the BBC found it hard to find critical voices in his constituency. George Galloway unfortunately lost his seat in Rochdale but by less than 1,500 votes.

The Green Party had their best ever general election performance and gained 3 seats compared to their previous one, including a 10,000 vote victory over obnoxious war monger Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol West. However as I have previously warned, the Green Party is not a left-wing party although they make radical noises. They support staying in NATO and want to green capitalism.

The other highlight of the night was the defeat of Jonathan Ashworth, shadow Paymaster General. Ashworth lost his Leicester South seat by nearly 1,000 votes to Shockat Adam, who said: “This is for Gaza.”

Craig Murray - stabbed in the back by Muslim communalists

In Blackburn, the constituency once held by Barbara Castle and Jack Straw, Labour’s Kate Hollern lost by 132 votes to Adnan Hussain. Craig Murray for the Workers Party got over 7,000 votes too.

Ayoub Khan - the new independent MP for Birmingham Perry Barr

In Dewsbury and Batley, Labour’s Heather Iqbal, lost by nearly 7,000 votes to Iqbal Mohamed. In Birmingham Perry Barr the corrupt former Labour MP and Henry Jackson Society member Khalid Mahmood lost to Ayoub Khan causing the Jewish Chronicle’s David  Rose to froth at the mouth over his having questioned Israel’s fictitious rape narrative and stories of beheaded babies.

In Birmingham Hodge Hill, former cabinet minister Liam Byrne won by 1,566 votes over James Giles, the Worker’s Party candidate. In Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips won by 693 votes against the Workers’ Party Jody McIntyre.

 In Birmingham Ladywood Labour’s Shabana Mahmood defeated Akhmed Yakoob of the Workers’ Party by 3,421. In 2019 Mahmood won by 28,582 votes. Mahmood was the shadow justice secretary before the election. Birmingham Ladywood is another area with a high proportion of Muslim voters.

This produced a backlash by far-right ex-Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard who described them as “the rise of sectarian voting”, while Telegraph columnist Sam Ashworth-Hayes condemned their victories as: “Total, utter failures of integration.” It is a bit rich of Pollard to call Muslim voters ‘sectarian’ given the campaign he waged amongst Jewish voters not to vote Labour under Corbyn!

In Bethnal Green and Bow, where many were also angered by Starmer’s talk about deporting Bangladeshi people, Labour’s Rushanara Ali won by less than 1700 votes against independent Ajmal Masroor .

This election saw a determined challenge to Starmer and his most loyal sycophants by two main groups. One was by the Workers Party which fielded 150 candidates and which aimed to build itself through its opposition to genocide in Gaza, aiming at the Muslim vote.

The other was a determined campaign by left and Muslim campaigners that saw Ashworth defeated and Wes Streeting very nearly defeated by Leanne Mohamad in Ilford North. Just 500 votes separated them.  If the Green Party hadn’t stood, Streeting might now be out in the cold.

The example of the French where a united left campaign has squashed the fascist National Renewal’s hopes of winning control of the government, should be a lesson to us. A united left in Britain could also do this but this means burying the tradition of sectarianism which means that one’s differences over who said what in 1917 are more important than today’s struggles.

There is a very useful compilation of all of the left’s candidates that has been compiled by the very public sociologist blog. It includes all the left groups that stood. I have compiled a table of how many candidates each group stood and their average results.

The list is effectively divided into two: on the one hand the socialist and Muslim independents did relatively well.  The Workers Party candidates also did well but not on the scale of the above.

On the other a kaleidoscope of left sects did very badly, making no impression. It is to be hoped that some of the latter might eventually realise that standing candidates who receive only a fraction of 1% achieves nothing other than a lost deposit.

1.           The Socialist Independents

There were 65 candidates and in total they gained just under a quarter of a million votes with an average of 8.9%. This is clearly a promising start.

They included Corbyn. People were primarily campaigning over one issue, Gaza. It included Muslims and the thousands of socialist exiles from the Labour Party that was.

What distinguished many of the campaigns was a wide community involvement. I can only speak from personal experience in Hove where British Palestinian, Tanushka Marah, was elected at an all-Brighton meeting of 150 people. The campaign came primarily out of the wider Palestine solidarity campaign in Brighton & Hove against genocide in Gaza.

Socialists, feminists and environmental campaigners participated in an energetic campaign. We chose Hove because the current Labour MP, Peter ‘Killer’ Kyle, is an ardent supporter of genocide in Gaza and Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Hove is not a naturally left constituency. When I came to Brighton 50 years ago it was one of the safest Tory seats in the country. All three Brighton & Hove seats were Tory. Brighton Pavilion was represented by Monday Club MP Sir Julian ‘gunboats’ Amery. Kemptown’s MP was Andrew Bowden, who finally got caught up in a corruption scandal and was ousted in 1997. Only Kemptown had ever been Labour, during the Wilson era when it was won in 1964 by Dennis Hobden by 7 votes.

Hove was won in the Blair landslide of 1997. Before this year left candidates usually got derisory votes, usually under 500.  So the achievement by Tanuksha of 3,048 votes (5.9%) marked a real triumph. She also saved her deposit.

Overall 27 of the 65 independent candidates got over 5% and thereby saved their deposits. The total vote for the independents was nearly a quarter of a million

2.           Workers’ Party [WP]

The Workers Party is very much the creation of George Galloway whose profile has never been far from the limelight. When George won a by-election in Rochdale in February and slimy Sunak slithered out of 10 Downing Street to condemn the election result (one wonders whether he or Paul Mason had considering making it a criminal offence to vote for George) his reputation was established nationally.

Soon after George announced an intention by the WP to contest 500 seats but that proved too difficult and the final tally was 152. The 152 candidates gained a total of 210, 000 votes with an average of 3.48%. Although some candidates did well, a lot got derisory votes. 26 WP candidates (17.1%) saved their deposit compared to 41.5% of the Independents.

It obviously makes sense for the Independents and the Workers’ Party to join forces in future elections but there are formidable political obstacles to this. The targeting by Galloway of migrants and refugees as a threat to British workers’ standard of living, pay and conditions is unacceptable.

Galloway fails to recognise why it is that the boat people crossing the Channel are scapegoated despite being a fraction of overall migration. Our rulers only rule because they are able to divide and rule, setting one section of the poor against another. Galloway plays into this and thinks he’s being smart by being seen to be tough on law and order and refugees.

Patriotic socialism’ has a long and inglorious history. It resulted in social democratic parties supporting their own ruling classes in World War I. It has been tried, not least by Henry Hyndman of the Socialist Federation, who was an anti-Semite and a supporter of imperialism and the Boers. It has always been a disaster. Patriotism is how the ruling class fools the working class into supporting their imperialist ventures and dying in their wars.

3.      People Before Profit

People Before Profit stood 3 candidates in one of Britain’s remaining colonies, Northern Ireland. They gained an average of 2,80l votes and 7.1%, saving two of their deposits.

4.      The Left Sects

One must not forget the 84 candidates that a variety of the left sects stood. Without fail they gained derisory votes and lost their deposits. One wonders what is the point of such an exercise in futility but to some like Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party what matters is keeping the flag flying. Scargill has spent nearly 40 years since the Miner’s Strike trashing his own political reputation.  It is rather sad.

The main group is the Trade union and Socialist Coalition  [TUSC]. At one time it was sponsored by the RMT under Bob Crowe but since then it has distanced itself from it. TUSC was the creation of the Socialist Party.

TUSC stood 40 candidates and without exception they did abysmally. Not one of them saved their deposit or gained over 1000 votes. The highest vote was by Dave Nellist, the former Coventry MP, who secured 2.2% in Coventry East. They secured an average of 0.79%.

Given the success of the socialist independents it’s time that TUSC called it a day and threw its lot in with other socialists. It is clear that their project has failed.

The Communist Party of Britain, which prints the Morning Star, stood 14 candidates. They did even worse than TUSC.  They secured an average of 0.46% which is less than 1 in 200. My advice to them is to join with other socialists, ditch your resident Zionist Mary Davis and stop plugging the two-state apartheid solution for Palestine.

Scargill’s  Socialist Labour Party was formed after Labour ditched Clause 4. It stood 12 candidates who got an average of 0.7%. Scargill once turned up at a party AGM with more votes in his back pocket than the rest of the delegates put together, representing the previously unknown Lancashire Miners Welfare Organisation! The SLP today is the living dead and is unlikely to survive Arthur’s passing.

The grandly titled Workers Revolutionary Party stood 5 candidates obtaining an average of 0.52%. The WRP has been around a long time and it was led by Gerry Healey before he was expelled for raping women comrades. This did not stop Corin Redgrave extolling his ‘achievements’ and proclaiming that “If this is the work of a rapist, let’s recruit more rapists.”

Other left fragment which stood candidates included the Alliance for Green Socialism (in 2005 I was a candidate for them!) which stood 2 candidates who gained an average of 0.3%.

There is Communist Future, of which I know nothing, which stood one candidate who obtained 0.3%.

Communist League stood 2 candidates who obtained an average of 0.4%. It is one of the splinters of the old International Marxist Group and supports the American Socialist Workers Party, which is no longer on the left, supporting as it does Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

Socialist Equality Party is another Trotskyist sect, an offspring of the WRP, led by David North. It publishes the World Socialist Web Site which often has well informed articles. It also stood 2 candidates, obtaining an average of 0.3%, one of whom stood against Starmer, thus splitting the socialist opposition, or rather they would have done if Tom Scripps had obtained more than 0.2%!

The Socialist Party of Great Britain was founded in 1904. They are the Jehovah Witnesses of the left. They stood 2 candidates obtaining an average of 0.25%.

The newly inaugurated Transform also stood 2 candidates obtaining an average of 0.75%. Clearly they haven’t transformed anything.

One would hope that all these groups would either disappear or join with other socialists but I suspect life would have no meaning for them if they were to make an acquaintance with reality.

Tony Greenstein

4 July 2024

Whatever You Do Don’t Vote For Starmer – Vote Socialist Independent or Failing That the Green or Workers Party

Whatever the Results We Have to Build a Socialist Alternative not Resort to Racist Dog Whistles Like Galloway

Four and a half years ago, I wrote an eve of poll blog after campaigning for Chris Williamson in Derby North Labour’s Election Campaign - Expect the Worst – Hope for the Best. I summed up

How then will Labour fare in the election?  This is probably the most difficult election to call. I fear a Tory majority but there may well be a hung parliament though if the Lib Dems continue to slide in the polls that may be less likely. What is clear is that there is no surge to Labour. I cannot see a Labour victory or an increase in the present number of seats. By failing to see that the British Establishment would do all they could, in conjunction with the United States and Israel, to ensure that an anti-imperialist would not become Prime Minister the Left has to face the future with a Labour Party minus Jeremy Corbyn.

In previous elections I had little difficulty in predicting the outcome. In 2015 I wrote a blog Miliband’s Labour Seeks the Safety of Consensus Politics in which I said:

In last week’s Brighton Independent I had an article which suggested that Miliband was determined to lose.  Of course he’d like to win but he refuses to break from the consensus behind austerity.... Labour is going to face a wipe-out in its Scottish bastion because they are perceived as the ‘red Tories’. ...

My prediction?  The Tories will be the largest party.  Labour plus the SNP should be within spitting distance of the magical 324 need for an overall majority.  Hopefully the Lib-Dems, the most disgusting and unprincipled party of all will suffer heavy losses.  UKIP is unlikely to gain more than 2-3 seats and the Greens will keep their one seat.  Who forms a government?  Miliband might unless he proves particularly stupid.

Like most people I was taken by surprise by Cameron’s narrow majority.

In 2017 contrary to all those who believed that Labour’s election campaign would be a rerun of 1983 under Michael Foot, I foresaw that the Tory campaign under ‘strong and stable’ Theresa May would crash, which it did. 

Sir Kid Starver was the first person to welcome my expulsion. the first Jewish person, from the Labour Party in February 2016

On April 20, when May had a 21% lead in the polls I wrote in Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth that:

It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics.  Seven weeks is a political eternity.  Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.

There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.

No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.

On June 3 in General Election - Is Labour on the threshold of victory? I foresaw a hung parliament, or even a Labour victory, was possible.

I do not have a crystal ball.  My initial predictions, that there would or could be a hung parliament was based on my assessment of the situation.  This is still quite possible as the Tories are widely detested for  their attacks on the working poor, people on benefits and the continuous privatisation of the NHS.  They are seen as the party of a vicious class rule, which is what austerity is about.

That does not, however, mean that the Tories will necessarily be defeated.  People do not vote in line with their class interests.  The whole purpose of the patriotic card, used by a succession of ruling class scoundrels from Pitt to May, is to blind people to their real interests.  It is saying that British workers and the poor have more in common with the rich and the ruling class than they do with each other.  The Tory press of course is doing its best to foster illusions in Strong and Stable.

David Lammy Meeting his Constituents

Labour could still become the largest party but I also sense a vigorous fightback by the Right.  It seems that one part of the prediction I made will not come true.  The Lib-Dems are not going to gain enough seats to prop up another Tory coalition  At the moment they are tipped to win just one extra seat.  By ruling out any form of pact with Labour under Corbyn, the Lib-Dems have guaranteed their own irrelevance.

We could be in for a period of political instability such as we have not known for 40 years.  This is one of the hardest elections to call.  A Tory government is still possible if it cobbles together a coalition of the Lib-Dems & the Ulster Unionists-DUP.  Even a majority Tory government cannot be ruled out.

What then will be the result tomorrow? Again I have to confess that predicting the results of any election is not easy. It is clear that Starmer’s rebranded Tory Party will win the election, although I have a feeling that the majority will not be as large as predicted.

Tanushka Mara, Socialist Independent Hove

What is clear is that this has been the dullest election in decades with no real differences between Tory and Starmer Labour. I expect the turnout to be down.

The Lib Dems should pick up disaffected Tories though I doubt that it will be above 50 as has been predicted.

I also expect the Green Party to keep Brighton Pavilion and possible gain one or two more. We are told the Reform party will win up to 5 seats. That is possible though I hope not. Farage certainly annoyed the imperialists with his perfectly reasonable explanation that NATO and the United States provoked Russia into invading.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was provoked by the US placing nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey which were then matched by Soviet nuclear missiles in CubaSo it is obvious why Russia didn’t want a nuclear alliance on their borders.  Farage was savaged, called a Putin lover etc. so that may have an effect on their election chances. 

Picket of 'Killer' Kyle MP for Hove

My concerns are different. Which of the bourgeois and pro-capitalist parties comes out on top is to all intents and purposes irrelevant. Whether it is Sunak or Starmer who becomes Prime Minister, racism, imperialism, poverty, exploitation and war will continue. They are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Starmer has been ruthless in purging the Labour Party of socialists and left-wingers. Would that Jeremy Corbyn had had half as much bottle he wouldn’t have been fighting as an independent today.

Will Corbyn win in Islington North?  He should do but the polls say otherwise. Let us hope so. However Corbyn has mishandled the withdrawal of the Labour Whip like everything else. When it was clear he would not have the Whip reinstated he should have resigned from the Labour Party and stood in a by–election for the seat. As it is he has an uphill fight. I wish him well against his corrupt opponent

Why I’m against mass immigration

I also hope that George Galloway holds Rochdale but I fear he won’t. I hope he wins because of genocide in Gaza not because I agree with him on much else. His attempt to compete with Farage and the Tories on immigration is despicable.  I have come in for some criticism from my comrades for supporting him but in my view genocide in Palestine outweighs virtually any other consideration, witness Sunak’s ill-judged attack on him when he won the by-election.

A message I sent to George Galloway today

Galloway’s comments in the video above are a disgrace. Immigration doesn’t lower wage levels nor does it prevent people getting doctors’ appointments or children getting places in schools. This is racist scapegoatism at its worst.

What prevents people getting GP appointments is the lack of doctors we train plus the reduction in what we pay them.  Funding for GP practices has been slashed by £350 million in real terms since 2019, House of Commons Library research shows. It was 6.9% lower in 2022/23 compared to 2018/19, once inflation is taken into account. The average funding per patient was £165 in 2022/23, a real terms cut of £12 per patient over the past four years. In other words nothing to do with immigrants.

The same is true of nurses, whose bursaries the Tories stole in order to enrich their cronies. The NHS has been defunded, part privatised and the money transferred to military expenditure.  Indeed but for overseas doctors and nurses the NHS would be in a worse state than it already is.

The same reactionary arguments were used when Jewish refugees came to Britain in the 19 and 20 centuries. The answer to low wages was trade union organisation not immigration controls. Three times in the 1880s the TUC called for ‘anti-alienist’ immigration controls because they preferred not to fight. Jewish workers however formed their own trade unions and launched strike after strike – including two mass tailors strikes in 1889 and 1912 alongside dockers strikes in the same years. That is how wages are raised.

However much you control immigration it won’t affect the export of capital, which is why it is such a bankrupt argument. Unless members of the Workers Party reign Galloway in it is destined to become a pariah on the left.

 ‘Patriotism’ and immigration controls sit uneasily with socialism. Patriotism means the working class doffing their cap to their rulers and dying in their wars. National socialism is a contradiction in terms.

In this video Galloway is compared, quite rightly to Farage, Jenrick and Braverman. This appeal to racism with all the dog whistles about fighting age men and 3 star hostels and ‘illegal migrants’ rather than refugees suggests that Galloway inhabits a very dark place.

“We have already, and its only February, 65,000 people unchartered, undocumented, unvetted. We have no idea who they are, we know most of  them are men, and most of them are fighting age men at that, who are now being put up in three star hotels sometimes a little better even than that at the expense of the public potentially for ever more when our forces cannot interdict a single one of the boats bringing illegal migrants or Refugee claimants for asylum - we can’t know which until their cases are heard and their cases have a backlog of hundreds of thousands.”

However there is a brighter side to this election and that is the number of anti-racist, socialist candidates.

Andrew Feinstein in Starmer’s constituency, Leanne Mohamad against Wes Streeting, Pamela Fitzpatrick in Harrow West, Sam Gorst in Liverpool Garston, Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Wood Green and our own wonderful Tanushka Mara in Hove amongst many others I haven’t named.

I was initially despondent about their chances but having taken note of the vibrancy of the campaigns I am hopeful that they will garner a very sizeable vote even if they don’t win. From these campaigns we have the opportunity to rebuild the left but if Galloway continues as he is and the Workers Party doesn’t reject this scapegoating, racist appeal to the most backward section of the working class then Galloway will play no part in rebuilding the left.

I hope that Chris Williamson, who is standing in Derby North, as Deputy Leader of the WP, will make his own position clear on the question of our opposition to demonising asylum seekers, racist dog whistling and attempting to blame our social ills on migrants rather than the tax dodging rich, the Tories’ COVID  cronies and privatisation.

Below is a list of independent candidates and I would also add Samar Ammar in Birmingham Bromsgrove, see here. There are also others including Craig Murray in Blackburn, Chris Williamson in Derby North and Jody McIntyre in Birmingham Yardley. See Pink Floyd star flying in to back Workers Party's Craig Murray.

There are also 40 TUSC candidates standing, which is the Socialist Party’s electoral front, including ex-MP Dave Nellist, who I support. The full list can be found here.

A full list of Workers Party candidates is here but I wouldn’t endorse all of them, eg. I support Sammar Amar in Bromsgrove not Aheesha Zahir who has also made anti-refugee remarks. I support critically the WP candidates, in so far as its Manifesto doesn’t include the racist nonsense that Galloway has been spouting about refugees.

Let’s hope for a  better tomorrow.

Tony Greenstein