The Socialist Alliance's campaign is taking off across England in the run-up to the local elections in seven weeks on 2 May. The alliance is hoping to stand over 100 candidates in London and over 300 across England. The mood for a socialist alternative to New Labour was seen in Scotland last week. The Scottish Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance's sister organisation, won 16 percent in a local by-election.
Sam Gribben, the Scottish Socialist Party candidate, beat the Liberal Democrat and Tory candidates handsomely and ran the Scottish National Party candidate close as he came third in Hamilton Whitehill. Many Socialist Alliances have already selected candidates, while others are still selecting theirs.
Activists are now getting leaflets out in areas where candidates are standing. In Bristol the alliance has delivered 5,000 pre-election bulletins to houses. 'People went out and did street theatre to raise the profile of the alliance last week,' says Pete from Bristol. 'They dressed up as a fat cat, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher. They all had signs saying how well they'd done from privatisation, and they performed opposite busy bus stops. It went down a storm with people.'
In Haringey in north London 12 election candidates were selected, including three ex Labour Party members. Alliance members are distributing 30,000 leaflets over the next week. Pendle Socialist Alliance members have been out petitioning against Lancashire County Council's plans to close old people's homes.
In Wales, where there are no elections, the Welsh Socialist Alliance (WSA) is fighting to put people before profit. WSA members in Skewen and Neath are fighting plans to build a second waste recovery plant in the area.
A public meeting organised by the WSA is being held at the Caewathen Community Centre in Skewen on Wednesday 20 March at 7pm to discuss how the planning application can be opposed.