Don't underestimate our enemies

Submitted by martin on 26 May, 2010 - 4:58 Author: Colin Foster

A common story on the left now is that "the Tories didn't win the election".

Many people claim that the new coalition government is already shaky and could fall apart easily.

False reassurance, I think. The government can be made weak, and splits between the two coalition parties (or within the Tories or Lib Dems) can be forced, by determined working-class struggle.

But, without strong working-class resistance, this could be as strong a government as a straight Tory administration, or stronger.

We have to assume that the Tories and the Lib-Dems agreed a big cuts programme in their coalition talks. Nothing improbable about that: on economic and social issues the Lib-Dems are as right-wing as the Tories.

Announcing that programme will make the government unpopular. They already know that. The Tories and Lib Dems must hope that by the end of the government's five year term they will have "lived down" that unpopularity and gained new credence as people who know how to govern and take "tough" decisions. It is not impossible they can do that.

In the meantime, the Lib Dems can expect nothing good if they break the coalition over some secondary issue after being "bloodied" by joining in the most unpopular measures.

Both parties have ditched some policies to make the coalition agreement. But it is plausible that both Cameron and Clegg are more pleased than displeased at being able to use coalition constraints to drop policies imposed on them by their party ranks.

Of course the Tories and Lib Dems may miscalculate. For example, they may find that they want to push through big supplementary cuts in a year's time, and fall out over that.

But working-class strategy should rely on our own bullets, not on hopes that our enemies will shoot themselves in the feet.

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