In a significant new political development for the British left,  Left Unity, which brands itself as the new radical party  of the British left, has been launched in London.

Around 500 people attended the founding conference of Left Unity  in London and voted  for the formation of  a broad left party that would provide a realistic  political alternative to a Labour Party that has failed and betrayed the British working class.

The co-founders of Left Unity told the conference that a new political force was needed that would challenge the  “capitulation of social democracy to neoliberalism”.

Film maker Ken Loach, one of the co-founders of Left Unity, told the media that Britain needed a party that would  represent the values and interests of the Left.

Like New Zealand, Britain does not have  any significant  far  left parties - the kind of parties that can be found in European countries like Greece, France and Portugal. Left Unity aims to fill that gap.

Almost 10,000 people  signed up to the campaign to form Left Unity and it presently has 37 branches throughout the country.

The launch of the  party has  coincided with the release of the  2013 British Social Attitudes Survey  revealing that support for the government has plummeted, with around 75 percent saying they do not believe in the British political system anymore.

As Liam Mac Uaid of Socialist Resistance  has commented: 'Many people will vote Labour with no great enthusiasm and will want a party that articulates something better, different, radical and socialist. Now Left Unity is there for them.'

And Richard Seymour  of the  Lenin's 's Tomb blog  and a  leading member  of the International Socialist Network, assesses Left Unity this way :  'There appears to be no appetite for inscrutable dogma.  And it seems to be genuinely prepared for the long haul: the slow, patient work of building its presence in communities, trade unions and social movements.  That gives us a chance, to put it no more strongly than that. And I don’t like admitting this. But I’m cautiously optimistic.'

And the New Statesman has observed: 'The space is there to the left, the votes are there, and if Labour will not fill it, then Left Unity will. '

Unfortunately we are a long way from seeing such a bold and imaginative   political  development in New Zealand. We will go into 2014  with a tired and backward-looking conglomeration of Machiavellian  political forces attempting to convince a cynical and disillusioned working class that the market friendly politics of  David Cunliffe and the Labour Party  really are the solution.

We deserve better than that.


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