David Cameron, UKs conservative prime minister, won this election convincingly.
The UK's conservative prime minister, David Cameron, who is on the far right, won this election convincingly. 1000 Words/Shutterstock

Late last week, the conservatives in the UK (the Tories) found themselves dazzled by the sun of a brilliant election victory.

By claiming, so far, an estimated 331 seats (a gain of 24 from the 2010 election) in the House of Commons, the Conservative Party, led by prime minister David Cameron, crushed Labor (a party roughly equivalent to our Dems), which ended up with 232 seats (down 26 from 2010), and also crushed the Liberal Democrats, which lost almost all of the 57 seats it claimed in 2010. London, it is true, remained loyal to Labor. Nevertheless, this is a disaster for the left, and it was caused, as you may have guessed, by the left.

The person to read on this election and its results is Richard Seymour, a Northern Irish writer, Marxist, and a blogger for Lenin's Tomb. What he points out is that there actually wasn't a surge in Tory popularity. The percentage of votes the party claimed in this election is not wildly inconsistent with those it has claimed since 1992 (between 30 to 35 percent—it won 36.9 percent of the vote). What simply happened this time around is that Labor's desperate attempt to win middle-class voters cost it the interest and support of the working classes.

Labor simply presented no substantive distinctions from its main opposition. It often tried to "out-Tory the Tories" on social policies, was all for an economy that's super-friendly to business, and took care not to offend the power of The City (UK's Wall Street). They were also as negative as the Tories toward Scotland's secession bid in the fall of 2014, and that, along with their weak stance on austerity policies, hit Labor hard in this election (the Scottish National Party gained 50 seats!).

Richard Seymour predicted these results exactly a year ago. And again, with stunning accuracy, last month in the London Review of Books. Seymour:

All of this is evidence of Labour’s clumsy move rightwards in the hope of expanding its base. What has happened instead is that chunks of that base have seceded to the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Greens or even Ukip.

We must pay attention to this defeat and its causes as we head into our election season.

The problem with Labor, which was the problem with Obama in his first term (and this cost the American left dearly), is they wanted to stand on the imaginary "common ground"—and such a position only means abandoning the values of your base.

There is no common ground. There is only the right, who defend the rich, and the rest of society. Bipartisanship is the dream of dreams. If you find yourself standing right next to the right on an issue, then you have certainly lost and they have certainly gained ground.

In my view, the left must always be where the right could never be: not aligned with the interests of the banks, opposed to cuts in social spending, and attacking laws and policies that worsen inequality. In short, to avoid what happened in the UK, we must be as direct and plainly spoken as Bernie Sanders on issues, and we must reject any candidate who promises to "reach across the aisle."

The right don't play that, and neither should we.

(By the way, Sanders's older brother, Larry Sanders, lost a "long-shot bid" for a seat in parliament.)