‘Radical political party’: The new face of the Left launches in the UK

A political party styling itself as the “new radical force on the left” has launched in the UK. The Left Unity seeks to revive the working class ideal of the Labour party which, it claims, is failing Britain’s poorest communities in the “class war”.

Around 400 people gathered at the new party’s launch conference in Bloomsbury, London on Friday. It was decided at the meeting that the party would represent the “broad left” and be a viable alternative to the Labour Party.

“The Conservatives and their Lib Dem stooges are launching an all-out class war on the poorest people in this country and Labour is doing nothing about it,” Salman Shaheen, Left Unity National Coordinating Group, told RT correspondent, Tesa Arcilla.

In addition, Ken Loach, one of the party’s co-founders, told RT that Britain needed a party to represent the values and interests of the Left.  

“Britain is different to Europe in that most European countries have a party on the left. If that’s the best they can do then we can think of a better way,”
said Loach.

Left Unity believes that in the light of the financial crisis, drastic action is required to defend the interests of the working classes in the UK. Citing the appearance of new political formations in “Greece, France, Germany and elsewhere,” the party’s founders say a political force needs to challenge the “capitulation of social democracy to neo-liberalism”.

Left Unity has called on its 1,000-odd followers to reject the “rightwards move of Labour” and reject austerity and war.

“Europe is plunging deeper and deeper into crisis. Its governments are continuing with their failed austerity policies which are destroying the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades,”
writes the party in its mission statement.

The UK’s coalition government, headed by the Conservative party, has implemented massive austerity measures on public services in the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the success of the austerity measures and said that they should be a permanent measure rather than a way out of the financial crisis.

“It also means something more profound, it means building a leaner, more efficient state.  We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently,” the Prime Minister said at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London’s Guildhall.

Cameron’s austerity measures have made him unpopular among the British working classes who have accused the
Conservative government of being out of touch with the majority.

The 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey revealed that support for the government has plummeted, with around 75 percent saying they do not believe in the British political system. Additionally, the amount of people who approve of the UK’s coalition government has plummeted from 40 percent in 2010 to 28 percent.

The launch of the Left Unity party goes against the recent European trend, where right-wing parties are turning the tide on the continent. The euro skeptical UK Independence Party (UKIP) is currently considered the legitimate third party in Britain.

The Alternative for Germany party nearly made it to the country’s parliament, the Bundestag, this September. In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party gained over one-fifth of the votes in September’s general election.

Norway's current conservative government came to power with tough immigration promises and there have also been far-right gains in Sweden and Finland.