Socialist Worker

'I'm leaving Labour after 26 years'

Issue No. 1738

Socialist Worker spoke to some of the people on last Saturday's demonstration against privatisation in Birmingham about why they're supporting the Socialist Alliance. STEVE GODWARD is the divisional secretary of the West Midlands Fire Brigades Union:

'I have just resigned my membership of the Labour Party to join the Socialist Alliance. I'll be campaigning for Caroline Johnson in Birmingham Perry Barr. Labour no longer supports our class. What finally did it for me was when I was standing in the supermarket one day and had to watch a group of refugees using vouchers to buy their groceries. That really stuck in my craw-that my party was doing this to people.

It's also the closure of Aldridge and Bloxwich fire stations, which will put our communities at risk, that has made me do it. I joined the Labour Party four years ago to help them get elected, and now I feel guilty and want to help make a change. The Socialist Alliance is a completely new thing, without all the old problems of the past. That's why I support it.'

JOHN CUNNINGHAM is the regional organiser for building union UCATT for the West Midlands: 'I've just left the Labour Party after 26 years of membership, and holding many different positions at district and constituency levels. My disillusionment with New Labour has been brought to a head by the privatisation frenzy in Birmingham. They're representing the powerful and wealthy rather than their natural base and public service users. There needs to be a socialist alternative for people at the ballot box, and a unified socialist movement. That's why I'm supporting the socialist candidate in my area.'

PATRICIA ROBBINS is a Dudley striker: 'New Labour have gone against everything they're supposed to stand for. They don't represent working class people any more. That's why everybody's supporting Angela Thompson, one of the strikers and the Socialist Alliance candidate for Dudley south. She can speak for the strikers and ordinary people.'

FRED WATSON is a worker at the elderly people's residential homes in Birmingham threatened with privatisation: 'I'm going to vote for the Socialist Alliance because Labour have gone against what people want and what they voted for.'

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