Labour voters should ignore the Morning Star’s call for a “people’s boycott” of the European elections writes Andy Stowe.
The left campaign in favour of Brexit never really took off. Lexit, as it was called, briefly pulled together the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party and individuals like George Galloway. Now Galloway is looking to stand for Nigel Farage’s far right Brexit Party alongside people who denied the attempted Serbian genocide of Bosnian Muslims.
The Communist Party instead has resurrected an old idea of Stalin’s. They are calling for an active boycott of the upcoming elections for the European Parliament. As a socialist paper its advice is aimed at Labour supporters and trade unionists rather than members of the Brexit Party and UKIP. It is effectively telling them that in an electoral trial of strength it doesn’t really matter if the Labour vote collapses.
Stalin argued that the German Social Democrats, Labour’s equivalent, were the moderate wing of fascism: “These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes, they are twins.”
The Morning Star is sufficiently reality based not to assert that Labour and UKIP are twins but it does argue that all the parties standing in this election are doing it for the wrong reasons:
“A boycott is designed to take support away from all parties including the Brexit Party and UKIP, who have jumped on the desire to exit the EU, while getting their noses in the EU expenses trough.”
The important phrase in that sentence is “from all parties”. The Morning Star is bluntly asking its readers to dissuade Labour supporters from voting. This is the politics of fantasy – and not just because the overwhelming majority of Labour supporters will ignore the advice.
If there is a significant decline in the Labour vote, no one outside the Communist Party will interpret it as a left protest against the European Union or “a message to the political and big business establishment”. It will be understood as a failure of the leadership and will actively weaken Corbyn. The right will be encouraged to move against him and the left will be demoralised.
The other fantastical aspect of the boycott call is its wilfull blindness to the anti-Brexit vote. The million people who took to the streets of London and the six million who signed the online petition for a second referendum are much more in tune with the 88% of Labour members would vote to remain if offered a chance and the 73% of the party’s voters who think Brexit is a mistake.
As the article notes “if a voter wants to send a crystal-clear signal in the EU elections that they want Brexit delivered, they are left with UKIP and the Brexit Party.” That’s been Lexit’s problem all along and that’s why the boycott is such a bad idea.
The Tories are dreading the European elections. They come hard on the heels of local government elections which saw them lose 1300 councillors. Socialists, including Morning Star readers, should see May 23rd as an opportunity to kick them when they are down, not to give them a chance to crow over Labour losses.