A good friend of mine recently made me think by asking – “With all the terrible coalition cuts would it not be better if the left united to oppose the Tories?”
The trouble is there does not seem to be much of a left to coalesce around these days. Take a look at the political compass from the 2010 general election: http://www.politicalcompass.org/ukparties2010 . Since the last general election I don’t see any evidence of Ed Milliband re-establishing Labour with its old now forgotten socialist roots. Ed failed to back the unions defending their pensions on 30th November. After criticising the Lib Dems / Tories nearly tripling tuition fees to £9000 he then saddles Labour with a policy of only doubling tuition fees to £6000!
What about Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems? It looks like they are well and truly hitched up to the coalition cuts right through to the end of this parliament. In a question and answers session after a speech given to Demos on 19th December Nick Clegg made it clear that there were no circumstances that he would pull out of the coalition – effectively he has neutered himself and admitted to the country that he is not able or willing to make a stand against the cuts. All of the Lib Dems I have spoken to, still in the party, seem to be pleased as punch to be part of the government and have generally accepted the premise that the economic problems we now face are due to over spending on the state rather than the greed of the speculators, insufficient regulation of the banks and the unsustainable bubble of toxic debt created by sub-prime mortgages.
As can be seen in the political compass (see earlier link) the Green Party remains almost as a lone left of centre libertarian anchor to the rest of the political establishment. At the bottom of the page on said link you can see how Labour and Lib Dems have tracked to the right seemingly accepting the free market conservative policies as their own. Whilst we may not be forming a Westminster government any time soon our essential job is to go on putting the case for people before profit by creating a sustainable planet. Our task is to keep the issues alive – that means standing in every election to keep the debate anchored in our direction. We will win a few seats along the way but just as importantly we play our part in stopping the Lib Dems and Labour from drifting further to the right in British politics.
We are needed more now than ever.