British politics and the present crisis.

Author:Davies, Mike
Position:Thinking Politically

Britain faces the same grave and inter-related crises as the USA and the "western" world in general. As in the USA, the major British political parties offer no solution.

We face a "technical" crisis in the way our economy has been run. This kind of crisis was familiar to Marx and other economic writers 150 years ago and has been happening ever since. Capitalists and their governments pursue profit at the expense of stability and the economy ceases to function properly. The current credit crunch crisis is an unusually serious consequence of the unusually blatant means adopted by finance capitalists to get very rich very quickly.

More seriously we face the resource crisis long predicted by environmentalists--indeed, predictable by anyone who could count. Fossil fuel energy supplies have peaked while worldwide demand continues to rise. There is a severe shortage of staple foods, partly because of the effects of global warming, partly as a consequence of diversion for bio-fuels, and increasingly because of the vulnerability of our intensive agriculture to rising energy prices.

Most seriously of all, global warming is already creating short-term chaos--floods, drought, storms--and in the longer term will literally transform the face of the globe. It will change hugely both our planet and the way we live on that planet.

Britain's big parties

Britain has three electorally credible parties:

* the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories (and not in the least conservationist!)

* the Labor Party, now often referred to as New Labor

* the Liberal Democrats

These parties have differing histories and traditions. The Conservative Party was the old landowners' party and remains solidly right wing. The Labor Party, just over a hundred years old, was created with trade union support as a party of the working man (sic) and used to include socialists. The Liberal Democrats, although having links to the old Whig party, have for most of the last century been a smaller and opportunist third party.

All of the three parties are right-wing neo-liberals. In government for the last dozen years, New Labor has relentlessly pursued Conservative policies, doing things that even the notorious Mrs. Thatcher dared not attempt. When in power locally, the Lib Dems have been even further to the right than New Labor.

British multi-party democracy has become a charade. While the media are full of stories about which party is on the rise and which in trouble, the truth is...

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