UK Election Analysis: The Left Needs a Coalition

Chris James Newlove

Summary: On the limited character of Labour Party as an alternative and prospects for a real left in the UK — Editors

Relief, anger, and indifference were the predominant responses to the electoral ‘landslide’ of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. After 14 years of Conservative (Tory) rule, characterised by cuts to public services, the declining living standards of the majority, and ever-increasing racist rhetoric and policies against migrants and Refugees, the near wipe-out of the Tory party comes as a welcome relief for some. The feeling of relief is best summarised by DJ and producer FatBoy Slim projecting pictures of the major conservative politicians who’d lost their seats during the election to loud cheers from festival goers. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party took 411 seats out of a possible 649, that is a massive 64% of the seats available. The reality is there was no dramatic rise in support for Starmer’s Labour, just the implosion of the Tory party.

Reform, Nigel Farage’s racist far-right party managed to get 14% of the vote, significantly eating into the Tory voting base. Despite very favourable media coverage of Farage during the election, Reform’s worryingly large vote translated into four new MPs, less than the fourteen predicted before the election. Starmer’s Labour managed to get 9.67 million votes, lower than when the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn was Labour Party leader. Corbyn’s Labour was considered a ‘failure’ by Starmer and the right-wing press but it got 12.9 million in 2017 and 10.3 million in 2019. Starmer’s slogan was ‘time for change,’ but he did everything he could to show nothing much would change. The perception that Starmer was like any other mainstream politician and the predicted Labour landslide led some people to simply not vote, the election turnout was 59.4% the lowest since 2001. Starmer’s policies included encouraging asset management firms like BlackRock to buy up infrastructure, courting support from the right-wing Sun newspaper, a reduction in immigration, and notoriously, his blanket support for Israel.

Starmer is a wholehearted supporter of the genocide of the Palestinian people. Starmer said he ‘stands with Israel’ and refused to condemn the war crime of cutting off water supplies to Palestinians in a radio Times interview. Many activists correctly declared they would never vote for someone who supports the genocide and oppression of the Palestinian people. The Palestine solidarity movement was reflected in the elections, as five pro-Gaza MPs were elected as independents. Sensationally this includes Jeremy Corbyn who got 49.2%, beating the Labour candidate by 7,000 votes. The Green party also got four MPs and 7% of the vote nationally, partly due to their support for Palestine. Other pro-Gaza independent candidates pushed the mainstream parties into close battles. Andrew Feinstein, a former member of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, came second against Keir Starmer, while frustratingly, Leane Mohammed was 500 votes from winning against Labour.

The Left Needs a Coalition

A disappointing Labour government and the rise of Nigel Farage’s Reform provide the perfect terrain for the growth of fascism in the UK, both electorally and on the street. A left-wing, pro-Palestine, and pro-worker pole of attraction is desperately needed in the UK. Young left-wing activists coalesced around Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Feinstein, and other campaigns. Corbyn held regular rallies of hundreds in his constituency, and thousands of people knocked on doors for him. Many more people would have gotten involved if they knew how to do so. Left-wing candidates standing as independents was a necessity this time around, though this does not tap into the massive potential that a left-wing coalition provides. Having a unifying name and demands could provide a pole of attraction for activists within the massive Palestine solidarity movement and begin to provide an anti-establishment voice to counter the appeal of Reform in communities across the country. Despite its weaknesses, the specific level of class struggle, and the real danger of a fascist government in France, the New Popular Front has shown that a coalition can begin to raise confidence, particularly in anti-racist and anti-fascist struggles. Any potential coalition would have to be struggle-orientated and radical in rhetoric and policy to be a success. Jean-Luc Melachon’s France Unbowed, the best-known radical section of the New Popular Front, remains the most popular element of the coalition for a reason.

The current fragmentary nature of the revolutionary left in the UK makes this type of coalition difficult to construct. Some revolutionary lefts stood as independents or supported left-wing independents. Michael Lavette gained an impressive 22% of the vote in Preston, coming in second. The newly formed Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) organised a lively and explicitly Marxist campaign on the slogan of ‘we are revolutionaries, not politicians.’ Particularly important was the RCP’s focus on countering Starmer’s comment in the Sun newspaper that not enough people arriving from Bangladesh were being removed from the UK. They gained 4.1% of the vote. The fact that another left-wing candidate, Steve Hedley of the train driver’s union (RMT), stood in the same constituency highlights the fragmentary nature of much of the British left.  Some left-wing activists have joined the Green Party which are a rising force in UK politics. There is not much to disagree with in the Green’s manifesto for a liberal electoral party, however, they tend to lose many new members due to their almost exclusive focus on elections over struggle and their still rather narrow activist base within the middle class. George Galloway of the Workers Party GB lost his short-lived seat in Parliament. Workers Party GB stood in many places and provided a pro-Palestine voice for voters; however, they combined an adherence to ‘socialism’ with anti-immigration, ‘anti-woke’ rhetoric. They attempted to capture left-wing and far-right audiences making them an unreliable focal point for any future left coalitions. In comparison, Jeremy Corbyn’s principled stand in support of migrants and refugees in this election highlights his continued importance as a unifying household name on the left. If a future left-wing coalition were to be formed, Corbyn would most likely be a central figure in its launch.


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  1. Lydia

    Criminal misogynist violent chauvinist gangs; virtual homelessness while paying rent; hate mail, hate speech eg “get out we don’t want you here” from new younger muscularly fit tenants; stalking, criminality, greed, gang collusion, corruption by housing staff & contractors; physical & verbal threats & intimidation; break-ins; theft; fetishists’ useful idiot; Rightist-Nationalists; fascistic-stalinists ruling unofficially-officially corporate x-social housing by force without any words; total objectification of women spat on – the local Labour MP refers me to the police who bang on the front door unannounced while the targeted communal hatred escalates unchallenged with impunity for twenty years without relief, forced to try & get sleep in tents, hostels where sleep imposible; blamed its my own fault; abandoned by so-called friends I thought were true. It’s a lawless jungle. A criminal narco state in which any dissent is silenced through relentless violent in ever new morphing forms. No one cares as in the last chapter of Marc Bloch’s “Strange Defeat”. Careerism instead of a true alternative philosophic logic that clearly, succinctly describes what we’re up against – unworded violence. You’ve no idea just how bad it is