Socialist Worker

Wide support

Issue No. 1737

High profile figures like playwright Harold Pinter are backing the Socialist Alliance. He says, 'There has to be positive and practical resistance to 'big business' government, and the Socialist Alliance has to be it. This country is doomed if we can't organise and support an energetic and determined alternative force, for which social justice is an aspiration which will not be surrendered.' Film director Ken Loach is also offering his support.

'Labour is now proud to be the party of big business. Thank goodness there is now an alternative in the general election-the Socialist Alliance,' he says. 'The Socialist Alliance is doing what the Labour Party was formed to do-understand and represent the interests of ordinary people.' Comedians Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, Rob Newman and Mark Steel are also backing the Socialist Alliance.

And actor Ricky Tomlinson, who plays Jim Royle in the hit TV show The Royle Family, says, 'New Labour is old Conservatism. I am supporting the Socialist Alliance.'

Award-winning journalists John Pilger and Paul Foot are calling for people to get actively involved to build support for socialist candidates wherever they can.

Ken Coates, a former Labour MEP in North Derbyshire who was expelled by the party for keeping to his principles, has given an enthusiastic endorsement to the Socialist Alliance. He says, 'I represented the Labour Party for a very long time, and I can tell you there is an enormous amount of disquiet about the way the government is ignoring the needs and wishes of the people who have always supported Labour.'

Mark Thomas, investigative journalist, says, 'The Socialist Alliance can be proud of the fact that it has got people to unite who haven't traditionally worked together. It has done this by emphasising what we have in common, the principles of an equal distribution of wealth, and of a society that will no longer be run by the rich for the rich but by the majority in the interests of the majority.'

Scots backing

Socialist member of the Scottish Parliament Tommy Sheridan welcomed the launch of the Socialist Alliance by saying, 'Just like the citizens of Scotland, the citizens of England and Wales now have an alternative. 'I urge people where they can to support the socialist candidate and not one of the free market Tories.'

Reasons to vote socialist

Take back rail

Privatised train company Go-Ahead is making booming profits and stuffing money into shareholders' pockets despite admitting that 'our passengers have had to endure unbearable overcrowding and delay'. The firm owns Thames Trains (involved in the 1999 Southall rail disaster), London's Thameslink services, and will take over the south London network from Connex.

Go-Ahead saw profits jump over 11 percent to £24.8 million and increased payments to shareholders by 13 percent. The Socialist Alliance backs the renationalisation of the rail network to ensure safety comes before profits.

Tax the rich

Top bankers are raking in the money. Henry Paulson, chief executive of the Goldman Sachs investment bankers' group, pocketed £15.5 million in salary and bonuses last year. David Komanskay, head of competitor bank Merrill Lynch, grabbed some £22.4 million.

Britain's biggest banking group, HSBC, has given chairman Sir John Bond a whopping 113 percent pay rise to £1.6 million. New Labour loves up to fat cats. Gavyn Davies, one of Goldman Sachs's top bankers, is mates with chancellor Gordon Brown. The Socialist Alliance says tax the rich to fund public services.

Stop arms trade

Universities have been exposed as major investors in the arms trade. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade last year exposed 49 leading educational establishments which hold over 50 million shares in companies involved in arms manufacture, principally BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and GKN. Bristol University's pension fund holds more than a quarter of a million shares in the three arms merchants.

Campaigners in groups like Globalise Resistance are demanding colleges stop these deadly investments. The Socialist Alliance fully supports all these campaigns.

Details on »

Equal pay

Help the poor

Private firm Capita is making millions from the misery of housing benefits claimants. Capita has taken over a range of former public services including some local councils' housing benefits departments. It saw profits jump 28 percent to a record £51.2 million last year. Capita runs housing benefits in Lambeth, south London.

Local Socialist Alliance candidate for Vauxhall, Theresa Bennett, says, 'Some of the poorest residents in Lambeth are threatened with eviction because of non-payment of housing benefits by Capita. The New Labour council should take the service back under public control.'

Women are still paid far less than men 25 years after the Equal Pay Act. Women workers are paid an average 20 percent less than men, according to the Equal Pay Taskforce's survey published this week. For part time workers the gap is even bigger, at 45 percent. 'The situation in Britain is by far the worst in Europe,' says survey author Dr Damien Grimshaw. It exposes New Labour's supposed commitment to women. The Socialist Alliance is fighting for full equality for women workers-on pay and much more.

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Article information

Sat 3 Mar 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1737
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