London Socialist Alliance Election Results For Greater London Assembly

“If you look at the statistics and ignore the emotion this was not such a bad result”
Louis Van Gaal commented after losing in the Champions League semi-final to Valencia on May 10. For the London Socialist Alliance who had contested the Greater London Assembly elections a week earlier, it is the exact opposite. In the LSA case: ‘if you ignore the emotion, and look at the statistics’, calling it ‘not such a good result’ is to be frank, putting a gloss on it.

However to listen to the SWP one would have imagined the Left had won by a landslide. In the real world, of the one in three who bothered to vote, 98% of them did not vote LSA. “Their one-point-something percentage hailed as an ‘extra ordinary’ breakthrough by SWP spin-doctors pretty much scotches the idea that the Left” in the opinion of Guardian pundit Charlotte Raven “will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the current disillusionment with Blair”. Evidently ‘emotional’, sports writer Mike Marquese testily insisted the LSA showing was “exceptional by any historic measure”. Exceptional certainly. Socialism cannot hardly have had a worse result this century. 150 years after the drawing up of the Communist Manifesto for unreconstructed socialists to regard 2.8% of their combined vote as a triumph, is tragic, bordering on the comic. But then for some time now looking only on the bright side can be habit forming.

When for instance the SLP attracted 70,000 votes nationally in the general election in l997, Arthur Scargill vaingloriously announced that the SLP were now the “fourth biggest party” in the country. And even when only two years later, the same SLP polled only 0.68% across Wales, though “exhausted and shell shocked” a full three months later, an activist felt justified “in gloating just a little that our efforts had been worthwhile”.

Thereafter “enquiries poured in” we were assured, leading to “new Constituency Parties being set up” and the SLP generally moving “forward steadily” and so on. Shortly prior to the GLA elections where the once ‘fourth biggest party’ received exactly half the LSA stipend on the Top Up List, the total membership in its London heartland was estimated at around - twenty - almost to a man incidentally hardline Uncle Joe devotees. For Scargill the general election of 1997, his first, proved to be the beginning of the end, rather than as he imagined, the end of the beginning.

There can be no doubt a similar fate awaits his triumphalist Trot counterparts, unless a serious reality check is enforced. And this time it will be no laughing matter. For if a united Left are not to prove the ‘ultimate beneficiaries of the disillusionment’ with New Labour is does not require a rocket scientist to figure out who will.

Reproduced from RA vol 4, Issue 7, June/July '00