Gordon Brown took Labour’s campaign to the streets of south London on Sunday – but prominent local Labour supporters refused to be seen with him.
Brown walked about East Street market in Southwark, along with Harriet Harman, meeting and greeting potential voters.
Raff Norat runs a corner shop in Southwark. He appears on Labour’s election leaflet to give his support local council candidates.
Labour asked him to join the walkabout in East Street. Party members came to his shop twice on the morning, to try and convince him to come out. He refused.
“My son was two years old when we marched against the war in 2003,” Raff told Socialist Worker. “Over a million of us marched – but they laughed us off.
“I don’t want the Tory Party in power. But I don’t want Labour to act like the Tories either.
“They asked me to come out to make them look good. I’m a lifelong Labour supporter. But the people who are running Labour now have hijacked the party.
“They took us into illegal wars and killed millions of people. Why did they have to get into bed with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld? Labour is meant to be a socialist party. Why did they do that?”
Desperate Labour members dropped bags of leaflets at Raff’s shop. In a sign of their panic over the election, they even asked him to put them in his newspapers.
Conveniently, the picture of Raff in his shop on Labour’s leaflet cuts out the myriad of newspaper clippings that adorn the walls around his till – that condemn Brown and Tony Blair for the war.
Labour’s attitude is incredibly patronising. It dismissed Raff’s opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expected him to put it to one side to try and grab a few more votes in the election.
“They want to use me because they know I’m a chatterbox,” said Raff. “They know I talk to lots of people.
“But the people running Labour have forgotten its roots. This election is their comeuppance.”