Labour should take tips from Syriza’s Greek political victory, urges Oldham MP

Labour should pay attention to the ‘momentous victory’ of the Greek anti-austerity party Syriza if they don’t want to continue ‘haemorrhaging votes’, according to an Oldham MP.

In a blog for the leftist website Left Futures, Michael Meacher drew parallels between attitudes to austerity in Britain and in Greece, where the radical-left political party Syriza stormed into power this week with 36% vote share.

He slams Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘Osbornomics’ recovery plan as a ‘back to the 1930s project’, arguing that the public will look to the Greek reaction at austerity when casting their votes in May.

Mr Meacher wrote: “If Osborne got his way with the £25billion further cuts, including £12billion in social benefits, which he has promised for the next Parliament, the one certainty is that the deficit problem won’t remotely be solved, but the anger will finally blow the roof off the whole of Osborne’s ‘back to the 1930s’ project.

“The dam burst with the momentous victory of Syriza, the ripples of which will play out across the whole of the EU, including the UK, over the next few years.”

Greek voters handed power to the leftist party on Sunday in a move which marked a fierce rebellion against the harsh economic sanctions imposed on them by their European neighbours.

Syriza promised the Greek people they will ditch austerity and renegotiate the country’s €240bn (£180bn) bailout with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The party’s victory is reflective of the revolution taking place across Europe which is creating an incredibly diverse political landscape; from France’s right-wing National Front to Spain’s newly-formed left wing Podemos party.

Mr Meacher believes the anger of Syriza’s supporters and the rebellion of the Greek people against austerity cuts imposed against them will filter down to British attitudes towards politics.

The former Minister of State for Environment claims there are two reasons for the lack of public backlash to Mr Osborne’s package of austerity cuts; firstly, the power of the Thatcherite ideology, and secondly, the lack of challenge presented by Labour. 

Describing Labour as ‘the one single force in the country which can stop the Tory marauding in its tracks’, Mr Meacher hailed Ed Miliband for ‘bravely championing the fight against predatory capitalism’ and Ed Balls for his exclusion of capital expenditure from Labour’s spending cuts.

“But sadly, so far at least, this has been for the cognoscenti who read the small print, it’s not the message that’s getting across on the streets of Britain,” he wrote.

“That’s why Labour is now at risk of haemorrhaging votes to the leftish-seeming SNP in Scotland, to the Greens increasingly voicing the Left’s message, to Lib Dem deserters from the coalition who may now be drifting further leftwards to the Greens, and even (impossible as it may sound), to UKIP for whom a sense of insecurity and abandonment is a major driving force.

“There has never been a time when a radical Left message from Labour was more needed.”

Image courtesy of Going Underground, via Youtube, with thanks.

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