RESPECT ACTIVISTS in Hartlepool have begun their campaign for the forthcoming by-election. The election was sparked by the appointment of Peter Mandelson as a European Commissioner.
Respect have selected local campaigner John Bloom as its candidate. Jill Russell, the Hartlepool Respect campaign manager, told Socialist Worker, “The campaign is going brilliantly.
“Around 30 of us had a walkabout in the town centre last Saturday and around 90 percent of people were positive, taking and reading the leaflets.
“Socialism seems to be the magic word round here—especially with the older generation.
“We had planned to leaflet three wards by this weekend and we’ve already done two and a half of them. We opened our office last week and it looks really amazing. It is on a main street, near the town centre.
“People have come from all over to campaign with us. Pensioners are coming to help out this week.
“A lot of people say they know John and are voting for him. Even some Labour supporters have said they’re voting Respect. We’re just waiting for the date of the by-election to be announced now.
“We desperately need donations to be able to compete with the major parties.
“We are now preparing for our launch rally next Wednesday 18 August at 7.30pm in the Grand Hotel, Swainson Street, Hartlepool, with George Galloway, Lindsey German and John Bloom.”
Send donations, with cheques payable to “Respect Hartlepool and Teesside Fund”, to Respect, 145 York Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HL. Phone Jill Russell on 07815 452756 to get involved.
TOWER HAMLETS Respect in east London is building on its recent victory in the St Dunstan’s and Stepney Green ward.
There have been two important meetings over the last week. The first was councillor Oliur Rahman’s first public meeting since his election as a Respect councillor. Oliur reported on his first few days as a councillor and sought residents’ views.
Key issues include facilities for local people and the closure of the local comunity centre.
At the beginning of September Respect faces another challenge in Tower Hamlets, with a by-election in the Millwall ward on the Isle of Dogs. Millwall ward is one of the most class polarised areas of east London.
Tower Hamlets Respect met on Monday to select a candidate.
Respect supporters were amazed to find a Labour Party activist handing out leaflets at the meeting urging Respect not to stand on the grounds that it would risk letting the Tories win!
As several people pointed out, the local Labour Party have only themselves to blame for their falling support, as their council has slavishly supported New Labour policies.
The meeting selected local socialist and activist Paul McGarr to contest the by-election.