Sunday, May 01, 2005

New Statesman May 2nd 2005

The pre-election of the New Statesman comes with a yellow colour and the stark message 'ARE YOU VOTING WHAT WE'RE VOTING? as an introduction to their readers' poll results. Out of 1004 responses the Lib Dems came out in the lead with 34.3% of the vote, Labour in second place with 28.4%, Greens on 13.6%. A similar poll in 2001 had Labour on 50.5%, Lib Dems 17.9% and Greens way back on 5.4%. These results are, of course, completely un-scientific, but I'm going to take them as indicative of the further fragmenting of the left, with swathes of people taking the Lib Dem route recommended by Tariq Ali. The New Statesman's editorial points out that 'The Lib Dems do not truly favour social justice, though, oddly, some of their policies are now more solidaristic than Labour's'. Comrades on the left who are insisting that the Lib Dems are just 'yellow Tories' make a good point, but they are fighting against a strong tide.

Interestingly Respect gets into the poll with 4.8% (48 people), while the Socialist Alliance got 1.8% (18 people) in 2001. As Respect is standing in far fewer seats than the parties ahead of it this is quite impressive, unless they were interpreting the question in terms of who they would vote for if they could vote Respect. However we still lack evidence for Respect emerging as a 'hegemonic force', except in a few very localised examples (although a radio feature from Birmingham on The World This Weekend included an interview with a local journalist who spoke of the numbers saying they are going to vote Respect - but again localised, specific features).

The New Statesman also features an article by Shiv Malik on the BNP surge in Barking, which sounds serious. The BNP are expecting to come to come second to Margaret Hodge (and they won a council seat here last year), with strong white working class support, but also claims of Afro-Caribbean second generation support (which I've seen in reference to Bradford as well) over hostility to immigrants and asylum-seekers. There is an anti-BNP campaign (mobilising Michael Foot yesterday, see the April Searchlight for a report of the start of the 'Dagenham Together' campaign).

John Kampfner brings word from inside the Labour Party ('The reckoning') about what do after the election. Of course it all depends on the outcome, but the mood is one of hostility to Blair, basically because his un popularity is causing local campaigns all sorts of grief. Anti-war Labour MPs are also suffering. 'The moment he returns to Downing Street, the only question will be when he will vacate it.' There is talk of greater independence, even challenges, but, of course, 'All eyes are on Brown.'


Post a Comment

<< Home