Socialist Worker

Live debate in Thirsk

by Joe Hartney
Issue No. 1872

SOME 100 people attended a Peace Forum in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, to commemorate the life of the left-wing Labour MP Joan Maynard, who was a resident of the town.

A packed town hall heard speeches from peace campaigner Helen Johns, Bruce Kent of CND, and Labour MPs Helen Jackson and Alan Simpson.

All stressed opposition to the war and occupation and called for socialist opposition to New Labour.

With many Labour Party members attending, the debate led to a discussion about whether socialists should remain in the Labour Party and fight to change it or whether a left alternative can be built.

Alan Simpson received enthusiastic applause when he attacked Blair, but a much more muted response when he stated that he didn't think it was right to call for Blair to go.

Some angry exchanges followed Helen Jackson's incredible statement that 'the Labour Party is the only peace party'.

The whole hall rallied to Alan Simpson's call to get down to London to demonstrate against Bush's visit on 19 November.

If a meeting of this size is possible in a small town like Thirsk, then similar meetings could be organised everywhere to make sure that Bush is 'un-welcomed' by hundreds of thousands.

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Article information

Sat 11 Oct 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1872
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