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Why so surprised? The British electoral process has always been fixed

Far from an unprecedented defeat, the election was a historic endorsement of socialism by millions — so of course it was thwarted by a rigged system, argues NICOLAS LALAGUNA

SO the 2019 general election is done, and the neoliberals have won, again. But before we join in with the chorus being led by the 1 per cent attacking Corbyn, let’s take a moment to step back and look at the wider context.

It is at times like these that those new to the struggle for a better society may find their faith wavering. And it is important to remember that what we have just witnessed was simply the most recent step in a very long journey.

My own journey has borne witness to anti-apartheid activism, CND, the miners’ strike, environmentalism, the poll tax revolt, the anti-globalisation movement, Stop The War, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Keep the NHS Public, Syriza, Podemos, #metoo, Extinction Rebellion, Corbyn winning the leadership of the Labour Party, openly socialist blocs in the US Democratic Party, and then over 10 million people voting for a radical socialist manifesto in a British general election. It is worth remembering just how far we have come.

I don’t believe that the failure to win the general election is due to the actions or strategies of the socialists within the Labour Party. If there is a failure, then it is more likely to be with those who believed that the 1 per cent would hand back the country if we only ticked the right box on a piece of paper. The system was designed and then modified over 150 years specifically to stop socialism from taking hold in this country.

The truth is that we are not living in a democracy as the term is commonly understood. Last Thursday, the Conservative party received just under 14 million votes. That equates to 43.6 per cent of the share of total votes. For this the British electoral system assigned them 365 seats in the House of Commons, or 56.15 per cent of the seats.

The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party combined received 14.8 million votes, which equates to 46.5 per cent of the total votes cast. Based on this share those three parties have been allocated 215 seats, which is 33 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons.

The reality is that the British electoral process weighs votes unequally. Some peoples votes are worth more than other peoples votes. For example the Scottish National Party (SNP) had to average 25,883 votes to win each of their 48 constituencies, however the Green Party with 865,697 votes nationwide won only 1 constituency.

That is the mathematical equivalent of saying that each SNP vote has the same political value in Parliament as 33 Green party votes. To understand the basic difference between “first past the post” and “proportional representation” one need look no further than this. However, it is slightly more complicated than that.

Just look at two constituencies on the south coast of England separated by just over 60 miles. Affluent Hove, cynically referred to as Kensington-on-Sea and the Isle of Wight, which one Eton-educated chair of Ofsted described as a ghetto of inbreeding.

The Isle of Wight has a population of 141,000 while Hove has only 103,000. Of these two populations the Isle of Wight has 108,125 registered voters, while Hove has 71,145. Because both can elect one member of Parliament, the vote of a person living in Hove carries the same political power as the votes of nearly 1½ people living in the Isle of Wight.

But that is only one aspect of the democratic fraud. In the last four weeks of the election campaign the Conservative Party received £3.2 million in donations from 29 people and eight companies. £1 million of that was given by one company, Bridgemere UK Plc, while £0.5 million was given by Sir Peter J Wood. Nearly half of the donations to the Conservative Party in the last month of the campaign came from one company and one man alone.

Of course there were the more subtle gifts, like the £300,000 that was donated by the wife of a major arms dealer, but let us not digress.

The fact is that the adverts, the billboards, the private jets, the PR and marketing all has to be paid for somehow. And who better to pay for it, than those members of the 1 per cent who are most likely to profit from a neoliberal government with both hands firmly around the neck of the 99 per cent. However condescending we are about the money floating around the US system, the truth is that the UK system is just as flawed.

But simply having sacks filled with money isn’t enough. From the very first week of a socialist being elected leader of the Labour Party four years earlier, the mainstream media began the project to influence the electorate. And it wasn’t just the op-ed pieces either, the news itself was presenting the newly socialist Labour Party in negative terms from the off.

And it is not just the privately owned “for-profit” media that has got all guns trained on socialism. Even the state broadcaster, the BBC, has been forced to apologise on multiple occasions for “errors” that benefited the Conservative campaign in this general election.

Accusations of bias have gone so far that on one occasion the corporation was even accused of breaking electoral law. But can anyone really be that surprised? After all we know that they did exactly the same thing in the 2017 general election, and for that matter the 2015 Labour leadership election.

No, Thursday wasn’t a failure or even a setback. It was one of the most widespread endorsements of socialism in Britain in decades. It was over 10 million people standing up to the 1 per cent. For those of us that have stood on cold wet picket lines and protests with only a handful of other people for years we must put this into its wider context for those new to the struggle. This was huge.

The election has to be seen for what it was, the next step towards revolutionising an exploitative and oppressive social model that threatens our civilisation. And we have a responsibility to those that hoped that their votes would be enough, to reassure them that not only are we still moving in the right direction.

Whatever the critics tell us over the months and years to come, we must not forget that 10 million people went to the ballot box on a cold, wet and miserable December day to send a clear message to the country and the world, that not only is another world possible but in ever greater numbers, and on every battlefield that it takes place, we are going to fight for that world together.

The biggest mistake we can now make is to let those counter-revolutionaries who walk among us deter us from our objective.


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