Get The Tories Out! is a rallying cry for many people on the left – a social media slogan that reflects real world campaigning.
The author of Why NOT Trust the CONservatives? Andrew Godsell has amassed the views of 16 Labour supporters, expressed recently on Twitter, giving them a more permanent form in this book of essays. “Get The Tories Out! Our Socialist Media Campaign” Godsell analyses the reasons for Labour’s historic defeat and shows the way that a radical mass movement can regain the political initiative from the Tories.
The Conservatives won the 2019 General Election, with a majority of 80 seats, while Labour were reduced to 202 MPs, the party’s smallest total since 1935. This was largely due to the loss of support in areas that voted to leave the European Union – with people disaffected by Labour’s switch to the second referendum policy.
The scale of Labour’s defeat in 2019 is unparalleled in our lifetimes. Or is it? The significantly low level of seats masked the fact that Labour won 10,265,912 votes at the latest election, two and a half years on from 12,878,460 people voting for a radical programme, shaped by Jeremy Corbyn and our mass membership, during 2017.
The 2019 Labour vote total was higher than we received in three other elections in the current century – 2005 (Labour majority), 2010 (hung Parliament led to Con-Dem coalition), and 2015 (Tory Election Fraud proved to be the reason for their win). Labour’s vote in 2017 had been exceeded in only four previous General Elections, those of 1950, 1951 (a defeat despite winning a higher popular vote than the Tories), 1966, and 1997.
The 2017 Election brought an increase in the Labour vote compared to the previous such contest of 3,531,187. This was the second largest gain of votes in Labour’s history. The biggest leap occurred in 1945, when Labour won power with 3,982,758 more votes than in the preceding election. With elections on hold during World War Two, the poll prior to 1945 had been held a whole decade earlier, taking us back to the 1935 result.
These figures suggest that talk of an existential crisis for the Labour Party is premature. Without the concern from 2016 leave voters that Labour was abandoning them, combined with the massive mainstream media attack on us in 2019, we could have repeated our historically high vote of 2017. That vote had removed the small Tory majority in the House of Commons, when Theresa May, and her numerous Blue Tick supporters with Ipads (who masqueraded as journalists), thought she was on course to increase it.
The current crisis for Labour is largely a false construct from the opponents of our party. Sadly this narrative is being amplified by the misnamed “moderates” in Labour. Their zealous nostalgia for Blairite Neoliberalism attacked the resurgent left during 2016, with the “Chicken Coup” and “Labour Purge”, notorious failed attempts to break Corbyn and his supporters.
In the months since our 2019 defeat, I have seen an enormous amount of positive activity, reported via Twitter. There have been inspirational ideas about rebuilding support for the Labour Party and Socialism. Many of us strongly believe the Tories will fail to deliver on empty pledges they made to win the Election. The Conservative Party have little or no interest in the working people who lent them votes to “Get Brexit Done”. Months before Boris Johnson came up with his slogan, we were saying “Get The Tories Out”. Actually we were often using #GTTO, one of the popular hashtags introduced by Rachael Swindon, a woman who has been a massive influence in putting the Socialist message into British social media.
The strong advocacy of continued radical Socialism in the Labour Party, as the best way to challenge and defeat the Tories, gave me an idea. I suggested, in January 2020, that we should capture some of this excellent content, in a cheap paperback.
The response was very encouraging. Within a few hours, several people offered to contribute to the book. In the next few days, excellent pieces were sent to me. I put a summary of the developing plan on my Blog, and pointed people towards this with a Twitter thread. Over the course of a few weeks, more pieces arrived. Meanwhile exchanges with the growing group of writers, via Twitter and email, produced new ideas for content, including some great memes to illustrate the book.
Little more than a month on from the original idea, the book was published! This rapid arrival enabled the book to be part of a debate on the future of our party, during the Labour leadership election then in progress. The plan was to produce an expanded, and updated, book after the leadership contest concluded, and this has arrived in June.
Many thanks are due to all of the authors, who quickly saw the positive possibilities of this project. The pieces in the book explain the experience and views of individual campaigners, who are working with others – both online and in the real world – to build the collective strength of our movement. Amidst the dark days of Boris Johnson’s Premiership, here are strong messages of hope, as we analyse the reasons for Labour’s historic defeat, and show the way that a radical mass movement can regain the political initiative from the Tories.
Some of the authors are familiar figures on political Twitter, with Rachael Swindon contributing two chapters. We also have pieces by Wolfie, Rick Evans, Gayle Letherby, Elaine Dyson, and the Prole Star. I have been writing about politics and history for many years, with “Why NOT Trust the CONservatives?” being my most notable book in this field. In the course of compiling the book, I have been delighted to read a lot of great material from emerging left Tweeters, deservedly building a good audience. These include Mandy Clare, whose “Labour in Check-Mate – The Political Vagrancy of the Working Class” first appeared on Labour Heartlands, at the start of this year. Besides essays by twenty different authors, the book includes suggestions for further reading – dozens of Socialist and similar books, plus independent media websites and radical Blogs are listed
Hopefully increasing numbers of people will be enthused to read the book, and share our message.