150,000 votes from a standing start and with almost no coverage. Better than the well-funded Libertas and the much-hyped Jury Team in every region. Double the national vote of either. Better than the SLP in several regions. Within a thousand votes of the Scottish Socialist Party. Who knows what could have been achieved with a better name and a more sensible ordering of candidates? Lessons well learned, one trusts.
Oh, and without a media blackout, of course. After these results, there is no obvious reason to treat the “Big” Three as anything remotely special. The highest scorer among them managed only twenty-eight per cent of thirty-five per cent. What entitles them to preferential media access? What entitles them to lavish State funding?
As the new movement emerges, some people will have to choose, as some people had to choose in the early days of Labour, at least up to the disaffiliation of the ILP. In the long run, or even the short run, you won’t be able to retain membership of the Communist Party of Britain, or the Socialist Party (i.e., Militant), or the Alliance for Green Socialism, or, in that case, the Liberal Party.
But whether any of those would in any case continue to exist as the new movement emerged is altogether another question. The CPB is not the treasonable CPGB of Peter Mandelson and John Reid (with certainly Charles Clarke and probably also Jack Straw well within its orbit), and its participation in No2EU more than suggests that it is not even what itself it once was. Militant were never proper Trots like Alistair Darling, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers and Geoff Gallop (Tony Blair’s mentor at Oxford), but instead award-winning backbench MPs and the builders of council houses.
The Alliance for Green Socialism cannot be that Green if it has linked up with the trade union champions of coal not dole and of nuclear power. And the Liberal Party has undoubtedly come round, once and for all, to the fact that only the State can safeguard the universal liberty, property and security that themselves constrain the State as surely as they constrain commercial interests.
Bob Crow needs to face the fact that people in London who would otherwise vote for the movement will not vote for him. Tommy Sheridan probably needs to face that fact in Scotland. Imagine if lists had been headed by the Visteon convenors and by Peter Shore’s old agent as they were by leaders of the Lindsey oil refinery workers, and if these had all appeared together on television or in newspapers. That sort of thing needs to happen in future.
And it will.