Press release - UKIP victory in Clacton by-election

10th October 2014

Press release: issued by the Socialist Workers Party, 3am Friday 10 October

Ukip has grabbed victory in the Clacton by-election and nearly taken Heywood & Middleton as well. There could not be a starker example of the state of British politics—or a more urgent wake-up call for the left and trade unions.

The grinding assault on living standards and the immense gulf between the traditional parties and voters has created the conditions for new forces to emerge. In Scotland during the referendum campaign the space was filled by an exciting and vibrant social movement that stressed social change and improvements in people's lives.

In England the major parties' demonisaton of immigrants and the utter failure of Labour to offer a fighting alternative to the Tories has enabled Ukip to pose as an opponent of the Westminster elite and the friend of the working class.

Both claims are lies. Ukip serves the rich and powerful in society by offering tax cuts for the wealthy, further attacks on public services, and privatisation. By whipping up racism it divides the working class and offers false culprits for the problems in society—deflecting attention from the bankers and bosses who caused the economic crisis.

We will work with others in Stand Up to Ukip to combat Ukip's racist lies and toxic policies. But we also need an alternative to Labour that offers hope to those who are suffering from the government's attacks and who see nothing from Ed Miliband that will seriously change things for the better.

Charlie Kimber, the national secretary of the SWP said, "We must confront Ukip's racism, not follow it. The main parties have created the conditions for Ukip to prosper. If they now go further down the road of attacking immigrants then Ukip will grow again. And the left outside the Labour Party has to get its act together. It is too fragmented, too divided and not as strong as it should be. We need to work towards greater unity in time for the general election and the council elections in 2015.

"We need more action from the trade unions to defend jobs, improve pay and reverse the decline in living standards. We should all join the NHS workers' picket lines on Monday, the FE lecturers on Tuesday and the civil service workers on Wednesday next week. We should join the marches on 18 October called by the TUC and the STUC. But they but must be followed by sustained strikes to unite workers in a battle to improve their lives, give hope and push back the racists."

For more and interviews phone 020 7819 1170 or email charlie@swp.org.uk