‘The left can’t sit this out. We must stop austerity, purges and pandering to right’

After 14 years of austerity and privatisation, the Tories are out. We now have a Labour Government that has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape Britain’s economy in favour of the many, rather than the interests of an established few. 

We at Momentum welcome this, and in particular the progressive aspects of Labour’s policy programme; including proposals to end tax breaks for private schools, public ownership of rail, repealing anti-union laws and the commitment to automatic voter registration

We must reflect on dark side of campaign

Sadly, while celebrating the victory, the Party has a responsibility to reflect on the darker side of Labour’s campaign. The blocking of socialist Labour candidates, from Jeremy Corbyn to Faiza Shaheen to Lloyd Russell-Moyle, and the attempted blocking of Diane Abbott, which was ultimately reversed under pressure from the black campaigners and pluralist voices across the Party, were divisive and unpleasant. 

In Islington North, voters rejected these purges by re-electing Jeremy – Starmer must now do the right thing and restore his status as a Labour MP. What’s more, Keir Starmer’s shameful comments on Bangladeshi migrants and Labour’s apparent refusal to support a young black candidate standing against Nigel Farage suggested a leader willing to pander to the far right rather than stand up to it. 

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Continuing down this path in Downing Street will alienate traditional Labour voters and heighten tensions that already exist within the Party. Given Farage’s win in Clacton, handing the far-right a much larger influence in politics than ever before, the Labour Government must stand against racism both in the Party and wider society. 

The electoral costs of failing to adequately oppose the Israeli genocide against the people of Gaza and treating ethnic minority voters with contempt were also clearly demonstrated by the loss of formerly safe seats and near loss of others to independents. 

Any austerity would be catastrophic

Whilst out on the campaign trail, Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves failed to make substantive pledges on fiscal policy, leading commentators to highlight the risk of  ‘baked-in austerity’. Any continuation of austerity will have a catastrophic impact on society and should be stridently opposed by the labour movement. 

Beyond vague mutterings on reforms to capital gains and inheritance tax to raise revenue, the main ‘solution’ put forward to generate investment was to offer sweetheart deals to private finance. In plain terms, this would mean further exposing the public sector to financial greed to the detriment of the majority

Read more of our 2024 general election results coverage (article continues below):

Election night as it happened: Key results unpacked in historic landslide

Labour results tracker: Full list and map of Labour gains, holds, losses, new MPs

‘We did it’: Keir Starmer’s victory speech as Labour crosses key 326 seat line

‘A landslide masks discontent left, right and centre. Labour has its work cut out’

‘What should we look for in Keir Starmer’s cabinet?’

‘Keir Starmer is at the peak of his power. How should he make the most of it?’

There were also further revelations of corporate lobbyists writing policy for the Labour frontbench, posing major questions about conflicts of interest distorting the priorities of an incoming Labour Government. This is no way to achieve the ‘change’ promised by Labour. 

We must not make the mistakes of Macron

Hollow platitudes and failed policy proposals risk increased voter disengagement, creating the perfect conditions for an emboldened far-right to spread hate more widely across the country. 

This was something that was demonstrated across the English Channel, as Emmanuel Macron’s failed centrist project created space for the far-right to make inroads in the recent French legislative elections. We must not make the same mistakes. 

A genuine political alternative to 14 years of Tory misrule means rolling up our sleeves and building it within the Labour Party. A democratic, socialist Labour Party that remains the best hope of achieving transformative change. 

Read more on how the night unfolded:

Liz Truss loses South West Norfolk: Beaten by a lettuce, beaten by Labour

Scotland results: Labour makes big gains as SNP obliterated

Wales results: Labour bags 27 of 32 seats as Tories wiped off the map

Red Wall: Gains in Stoke, Grimsby, Redcar, Workington, Hartlepool, Barrow, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Bolsover

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Senior Tory loses seat as Labour mayor Dan Norris wins

Gaza: Jon Ashworth loses in Leicester as independents win Blackburn and Batley

Islington North: Jeremy Corbyn holds on in strong result over Labour

Nuneaton, Stevenage, Swindon, Worcester: Labour wins in key bellwether marginals

Some on the left may be despondent, but we should feel encouraged by the reelection of socialist Labour MPs such as Zarah Sultana, Apsana Begum, and Olivia Blake, as well as the election of some great socialist MPs such as Lorraine Beavers and Stephen Witherden. These candidates wouldn’t have been elected without activists pounding the pavements the last few weeks talking to voters on doorsteps. 

Momentum will campaign for free school meals, council homes and ending two-child cap

In the coming months, Momentum will continue to support and nurture activists to put themselves forward as councillors and enact change in their local areas, as well as support socialist candidates in internal elections. 

Under a Labour government, Momentum will continue to campaign for the policies the country so desperately needs, including universal free school meals, a mass council-house building programme, and an end to the heinous two child benefit cap. 

Our job is to raise the expectations of the labour movement, making it clear that party members and supporters expect a Labour Government to seriously address the ills afflicting society, such as privatisation, austerity, and entrenched inequality. 

We will also oppose any anti-democratic proposals put forward at Party Conference, such as the perverse idea to restrict leadership elections during Labour governments, whilst making the case for real Labour values. 

The Left can’t do this by sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that socialists in the Party get organised to defend and build the Left. So join Momentum – we have a world to win, and there is lots of work to be done. 

Kate Dove and Sasha das Gupta are Co-Chairs for Momentum. 

Read more of our 2024 general election coverage:

Meet NHS doctor Zubir Ahmed, fighting one of Scotland’s tightest marginals

Brighton Pavilion: As Starmer visits, can Labour win the Greens’ one seat?

Labour wants a new generation of new towns. Can it win in Milton Keynes?

Meet Gordon McKee, the 29-year-old son of a welder vying for Glasgow South

Revealed: The battlegrounds attracting most activists as 17,000 sign up


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