Socialist Worker

Respect’s campaign has a massive buzz

With a week to go to major elections on 3 May, left wing campaigners and candidates have been out in force across Britain to win the best possible vote

Issue No. 2048

Respect activists are stepping up the campaign around England and Wales in the run up to the 3 May local and Welsh Assembly elections.

Candidates are offering a left wing alternative to the mainstream parties in many areas.

Respect is standing four candidates in Luton.

Activist Mobeen Qureshi and lecturer Steve Coghlan are standing in Biscot ward. Tahir Raza, a driving instructor, and Lesley Smith, who sits on the parent council at a local school, are the candidates in Dallow ward.

Hafsha Ali is a council worker in the city and Respect member. Hafsha told Socialist Worker, “We had around 25 people out campaigning last weekend.

“There is a real buzz around the campaign – everyone has heard of Respect.

“A Liberal Democrat and Tory coalition run the council. Luton isn’t normally an area where the Lib Dems do well, but there was a feeling at the last election that they were against the war.

“Now people are angry with the way the council has acted.

“Cuts in funding of social care and services have been pushed through. The council has paid private consultants over £2 million to find ‘efficiency savings’.

Alternative

“It has cut services for people with disabilities and funding for youth services. These are essential services.

“While some in the council’s management have got pay rises of up to 25 percent, vacant posts are being left unfilled.

“Respect offers an alternative that puts the needs of the constituents first. We will be supporting the PCS civil service workers when they strike on 1 May.

“George Galloway MP is coming to Luton on 2 May. He will be visiting key areas and community members around the Biscot and Dallow wards before speaking at a rally.”

In Loughborough the campaign to get Wayne Muldoon re-elected as the Charnwood borough councillor for Lemyngton ward is building momentum.

Wayne says, “Labour’s support seems to be heavily in decline and our main challenge may be from the Lib Dems.

“With Charnwood council having been a Labour and Lib Dem coalition, both parties face criticism for the impact of creeping privatisation.

“One major issue is the changes to refuse collection. This resulted in bags of rubbish being left uncollected on the streets for nearly a week. Residents raised the matter with me, and I pressed the council for action.

“When the council failed to collect the bags of rubbish that had been left outside the local primary school, Respect supporters collected the bags and took them to the dump.

Outraged

“The council seemed more concerned about working out which resident it could fine than it was about the health risk of bags of rubbish sitting in the hot sun.”

Wayne’s election agent Mike Thompson adds, “Last weekend we distributed our second election leaflet to the whole ward. The reception has been brilliant.

“One firefighter has taken leaflets to give out at work. A student is planning to bring a group of friends along to our election meeting this Thursday.

“Almost every council tenant is outraged at the plans for the privatisation of council housing.

“People have been coming out of their houses to say how pleased they are to have something that they can vote for at last.”

For more on the campaign go to www.respectcoalition.org


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Tue 24 Apr 2007, 19:09 BST
Issue No. 2048
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