Socialist Worker

New Labour is going to the dogs

Issue No. 1917

RESPECT IS standing in a council by-election on the Isle of Dogs, east London, next week, and also in the forthcoming parliamentary election in Hartlepool.

Narzanin Massoumi reports from the Millwall by-election on the Isle of Dogs:

“We had about 360 pledges from people committing themselves to voting for Respect, which is very good.

“We canvassed last weekend and found people are beginning to talk about Respect independently of what we are doing.

“You get a lot of disillusioned voters who say they don’t want to vote, that politicians are all bastards.

“But when you explain how Respect is different they get really keen.

“We are talking to a lot of white working class voters who feel angry and betrayed.

“Ten years ago the Nazi British National Party (BNP) got Derek Beackon elected in this constituency. This time the BNP are not even standing and we are winning support although the Tories are expected to win.

“We need Respect supporters to come and help out. In the last week before Oliur Rahman got elected in the Stepney council ward we created a real buzz in the area.

“It will be a great achievement if we can create that on the Isle of Dogs. We need Respect supporters to come and get stuck in in the last week.

“Respect supporters are meeting up every weekday evening at 6pm at Crossharbour DLR station, and at 2pm Saturday and 12pm Sunday for leafleting and canvassing.

“Call 020 7170 4030 if you need to know more.”

Jill Russell explains how the campaign in Hartlepool is off to a flying start:

“We had a brilliant stall in the town centre on Saturday.

“The aunt of Rose Gentle, whose son was killed in Iraq, lives in Darlington and came over to help us.

“We had our candidate, John Bloom, on the megaphone, and we gave out around 500 balloons and took over the whole pedestrian area.

“The Labour Party didn’t show their faces, while the Liberal Democrats checked us out but didn’t hang around because we outnumbered them.

“We had so many people coming up and agreeing with us, especially over the war.

“I talked to a mother whose son was serving in Iraq. She really supported us.

“Every day we get people phoning up to join us.

“We are holding a public meeting with Rose Gentle in a few weeks focused on opposing the occupation of Iraq. I think it could be massive.

“There is imagination and energy in the campaign, which can only increase when the date of the election has actually been set. Come and help—phone 020 7170 4030.”

Nearly 30 people came to a film showing of John Pilger’s War on Terror in just one area of Leeds last week and set up a local steering committee to build Respect.

It was a lovely mix of old, young, black, white, women and men—a real reflection of the anti-war movement and more.


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Article information

Sat 4 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1917
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