Britain's shift to the right must be countered by a united labor movement

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Britain's shift to the right must be countered by a united labor movement
As the dust begins to settle in the aftermath of the UK general election, the British people have many questions to ponder. The prospect of five more years of Tory rule under a conservative government holding albeit a small majority raises many concerns.

Billions of pounds of further cuts to the welfare state spells disaster for those already living on the breadline. And for minority communities who have faced unrelenting racism as a direct result of anti-immigrant rhetoric peddled from the top down, things stand to go from bad to worse. Who can forget the Home Office's totalitarian tactics last year, in siding with the undeniable shift to the right which Britain has undergone along with the rest of Europe, when they introduced the 'Go home' vans? And we might be talking about the UK election here; but let's not forget that the Conservatives lined up happily along with other European leaders when the decision was made to axe Mare Nostrum, the search and rescue operation which existed to rescue drowning migrants. Countless migrants, fleeing countries like Libya, itself destroyed by NATO's bombs, have died as a direct result. For all of their talk, Conservative policies towards immigrants at home, have certainly matched their policies abroad-a policy of disregard and contempt to say the least.

But at least the Tories have been consistent in their universal contempt, hatred, and scaremongering of 'foreigners' at home and abroad, Scotland included. Indeed, it was interesting watching ISIS lose the top spot of public enemy number 1 to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in a matter of days.

And no sooner was David Cameron announced as having won the election, than Theresa May immediately sought to reaffirm her commitment and desire, to pursue her ‘Snoopers Charter’, which will further entrench the grip of the surveillance state.

Ah the surveillance state, that thing we're told exists to protect our freedoms, which was recently shown to be abusing our freedoms, by spying on us, and storing all personal information on a central database.

Evidence has shown that such powers are already used to disproportionally criminalize and spy on certain communities, despite those communities being no more likely to commit crime than any other.

Muslim communities being targeted with surveillance programs like in Birmingham is one such example.

The revelation that Stephen Lawrence's family were spied on, while investigations into the racially motivated murder of their son Stephen were still on-going, will be fresh in people's minds. While the latter example may well have taken place many years ago, it nonetheless provides a telling insight into the extent to which these powers are already being abused.

And as a side-note, Michael Gove just became 'Justice' Minister. That's the same Michael Gove who like his Tory counterpart Boris Johnson, believed that the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry had turned into an unjustified liberal vendetta against the police and state-even though it’s clear that the state conspired against the Lawrences.

Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

It's also the same Michael Gove who has said that there should be no public inquiry into the Westminster child abuse scandal, and that it’s essentially a private matter. The same Michael Gove who has advocated bringing back hanging as a way of reforming the criminal justice system. Michael Gove, Justice Minster. Let's just think about that for a moment. I'm no particular fan of Orwell, but doesn't it all read a bit 1984 right now?

Minority communities did not trust the government, or the police before the election, due to years of failed promises to reform the police and the criminal justice system. Far from this happening, we've seen the opposite take place. The abuse of power from those who on paper at least exist to serve all of Britain's communities has increased and not lessened.

Black men are still being gunned down and murdered on our streets and in police cells. The so-called justice system still fails to jail any policeofficers despite overwhelming evidence of criminality in many of the landmark cases.

Black people are still being stopped and searched despite being no more likely to commit crime than anyone else, and treated as criminals, a culture permeated by the media.

Muslims are still being treated as the enemy within, with schoolchildren being viewed as criminals and with young people being criminalized. Hate crimes against Muslims go largely unreported. And God forbid a brown person calling themselves Muslim commits a crime, because it’s then usually held up as vindication that all the hate directed at Muslims and illegal wars waged in Muslim lands have been justified.

Anyone who calls themselves Muslim, and who commits a crime is immediately presented by right wing media types who support the Conservatives as being representative of all Muslims, and as such a de facto spokesperson for the entire Muslim world.

And mainstream politicians of all stripes feed into this hype in the language and policies they evoke. Because, due to the last two governments, the current mob included, and thanks to Rupert Murdoch's crusade against all Muslims, the word 'terrorist' has become synonymous with the word 'Muslim'. So when leaders talk about the threat of terrorism, it’s now obvious what they mean. They are referring to Muslims. They seem to have an inability to describe anything as terrorism unless of course its crimes perceived to have been committed by Muslims.

In fact, it was the government's refusal to make this distinction, and to condemn the actions of Israel as acts of terrorism when Israel bombed Muslims in Gaza last year, which prompted one of the government's own ministers, Sayeeda Warsi a Muslim woman to step down.

In short hand, the government refused to condemn a rich white colonial settler state in the middle of the Middle East called Israel, which at the time was busy bombing poor Muslims with brown skin in the Gaza strip. Sayeeda Warsi could stand with her own government no longer. It was under Cameron's government and policies that she resigned.

The same Tory government cries crocodile tears for political capital about European or American journalists killed at the hands of ISIS in the deserts, and in Paris, but says nothing about the murder of dark skinned peoples at the hands of NATO and its proxies elsewhere.

With no Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems, the Conservative party in the UK now has a mandate, however weak, to push through all Tory policy at home and abroad.

Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Britain has lurched to the right and so has her politics. David Cameron has played every card in this election including nationalism. So which way is it going to go now?

What is Britain going to look like over the course of the next ten or twenty years? Will Britain further embrace the right, or will this election somehow serve as a wake-up call to the left?

UKIP are far from finished. They received a large share of the national vote, and are not going anywhere any time soon. But they are like and ugly scar or a boil, a symptom of Britain's shift to the right, not the cause of it.

Perhaps Labour might have resurgence at the next election in 5 years time. Perhaps, in 1997, Tony Blair won a landslide in large part due to many diverse communities voting for him, and supporting him however misguidedly.

Labour party key figures, including the now ex-leader Ed Miliband, and some of those now in contention for the leadership have all in the aftermath of the election talked about the Labour party 'rebuilding' and 'restoring faith' in 'ordinary' working people as they usually do, or arguing fashionably for a more 'modern' or 'responsible' version of capitalism. And we wonder why the Labour Party has lost their appeal.

But there isn't some secret formula Labour's forgotten about which they couldn't have just wheeled out at this election. They've simply stopped speaking the language of the people they say they represent. They are pro-austerity and pro-privatization, and pro-war however you slice it.

This could have changed before or during the election. But there are no Labour front-benchers willing to say the right things, presumably because they don't believe in them. Anyone who does does not become a frontbencher.

On that basis it’s strange to see people still talking in terms of the Labour party rebuilding and not in terms of the actual labor movement, and organizations which still support trade unions.

Poor communities, minorities, and the disenfranchised already had a raw deal before the election. Until the left begins to make sense of itself in a meaningful sense which can speak and relate to all working people, the right will continue to dominate the picture and the debate in politics.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.