The Tories and the Labour parties resemble nothing so much as a couple of shopkeepers who, anxious to attract the larger share of a spending spree of shoppers on sales-day are frantically dressing their windows with every tawdry piece of tinsel they can find. The the candidates like the sales-persons go walk-about with perpetual sunny smiles, as if the future were golden with hope. The rival politicians sell the prospect of better schools, roads, houses, hospitals; exciting progress, splendid opportunity, and a great victory. There is no point in our trying to predict who will win on 8 June but we can confidently forecast what will follow the election, whichever party forms the next government.
The working class will continue to struggle over their wages and other working conditions. The government will attempt to hold wages in check and to persuade the working class that any rise they may have should be only a small one, and one related to a more intensive productive effort. There will be more tension on the international field—more clashes in the Middle East and Africa. There will be more conferences on how to ease climate change and global warming. None of them will come to anything.
What exactly will be on offer from the main contenders? No doubt more of the same but couched in terms intended to give us confidence that this time promises will be kept, regulations will be tightened and adhered to, unemployment will be tackled and reduced (figures can be manipulated). A minor change here, a cosmetic tweak there, but the status quo will endure regardless.
The working class, afflicted by the usual struggle to live, will become dissatisfied with their new government and may express this dissatisfaction by defeating government candidates in by-elections and replacing them with those of another party pledged to carry on the capitalist social system. This dissatisfaction is an inevitable part of capitalism because the problems which give rise to unrest are all part of the private property system. The only solution to this calamitous muddle is the establishment of socialism. It is simply not possible for any leader to make glamorous promises about that because the key to socialism is the knowledge of the people who will set it up. In the election campaigns of the capitalist parties, knowledge is an alien word. At this time of election madness if you think you've been cheated over the years you're right; capitalism is nothing but a racket. The proof of the failure of the world capitalist system to meet the needs and aspirations of the majority of the population of every country of the world is there for all to see, clear and manifest if only they will open their eyes wide and acknowledge the overwhelming evidence. If we simply moan and complain what will change? A compliant, too passive electorate is repeatedly defrauded.
In this General Election, as in those of the past, the capitalist political parties encourage us to believe that fundamental issues are at stake. This is far from the truth. This is reflected in many ways. It is reflected in the fact that, although each side presents its leader as a paragon of honesty, knowledge, and strength, none of them take the fundamentally different stand of opposing leadership in principle. May or Corbyn? We voters are asked to make our choice between these two representatives of capitalism, on the assumption that leaders are necessary because without them we poor dunderheads would lose our way in the treacherous maze of the wicked world. It is not difficult to penetrate this sham. The most casual investigation of leaders past and present reveals them as hard, cynical politicians dedicated to the administration of the capitalist system. It also shows up the game of leadership as a dirty business. May called the election for whatever advantage her party can get out of it. Corbyn has shown that a leader's most valuable asset is a cold, professional determination. Since Corbyn became the leader the Labour Party he has had to keep all its splits plastered over. One thing he must have learned is that he leads a party of ruthless in-fighters and back-stabbers.
How many people, among the mass who are hypnotised by the campaign gimmicks, will stand out by knowing and understanding and voting for socialism? The reason for contempt or indifference towards politics comes from a history of being excluded, the expectation of being excluded and the acceptance of being excluded. To be heard, to be considered, to be represented honestly we need to be involved in the decision-making processes, not to be told what is in our best interest by such as those described above. We need a system that works for us all, of which we're all an integral part, a system we're prepared to work to attain. What we need is socialism. Our analysis is not based upon some narrow sectarianism—it's based upon principle. We do not, nor have we ever, supported capitalist parties. We in the Socialist Party reject the view that things will always stay the same. We can change the world. Nothing could stop a majority of socialists building a new society run for the benefit of everyone. We all have the ability to work together in each other's interests. All it takes is the right ideas and a willingness to make it happen. The challenge now is to build a world-wide movement whose job will be to break with the failures of the past. It won't be for power or money or careers. It will work for the things that matter to people everywhere – peace, material security and the enjoyment of life through cooperation. This is the challenge that could link all people in a common cause without distinction of nationality, race or culture.