50 Years Ago: The Use of the Vote
The power you have
I n the weeks of electoral excitement before polling day you will have been made to appreciate, at least a little, that you are, for
the moment, important people. Between elections you look up to politicians and big business men as important, but during elections
it is they who go to endless trouble to influence you and win your support for them and their policies. It is you who can make or mar
the career of a politician and you who can place power in the hands of a government which during its term of office can. by taxation and
tariff policies or by subsidies, raise some industries to prosperity and bring others to their ruin. It is you who give power to governments
in whose hands rest decisions about peace and war.
Power for no use
Since the Socialist Party of Great Britain was formed there have been fourteen general elections in this country: this is the fi fteenth.
Fifteen times the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties have appealed to you to help them with your votes. Fourteen times you, the workers,
have used your votes against your own interests.
Although the parties we have mentioned use different names for their programmes and promises of legislation, there is very little
of importance dividing them. They are all concerned with trying to administer British capitalism as well as may be in a troubled
world of rival capitalist groups. In any big emergency like the crisis of 1931 or in war they come together and form coalition governments
Whichever of them, you, the workers, vote for in an election, it is a defeat for you. a betrayal of your own interests.
(from Editorial, Socialist Standard, October 1959)