THE SOCIALIST Alliance created a real buzz in Brent, west London, last weekend. Brian Butterworth is standing as the Socialist Alliance candidate for MP in the Brent East by-election, called for 18 September.
It is New Labour's first election test since the Iraq war and the Hutton inquiry.
Stalls were organised in busy shopping areas across the borough on Saturday, while around 80 supporters went out leafleting door to door on Sunday.
Socialist Alliance supporter Amy said that two people she bumped into while leafleting asked her for extra leaflets to hand out to friends.
Simon told Socialist Worker, 'The dominant view among the people I talked to was 'they have all betrayed us', 'we should kick them all out'. People feel you can't trust any politicians.'
Carol said, 'I talked to one guy who said 'I want to vote for someone, but no one is offering me anything'. He was trying to get a community sports project off the ground and faced obstacle after obstacle. 'When I told him what the Socialist Alliance stood for, about people before profit, it really clicked with him. He said he would vote for us.'
Yinka Adebayo joined the Socialist Alliance leafleting on Sunday. He told Socialist Worker, 'I thought I was getting too old for all this, but when Brian's leaflet came through my letterbox, I thought I had to get involved. 'I am fed up with New Labour. Every four years they come round expecting my vote because I live in a working class area. 'I don't like what's happened to the NHS. I have two artificial legs, and I had the problem of having to pay to get black limbs. 'Labour is now so like the Tories you can't tell them apart.'
Rob Hoveman, national secretary of the Alliance, said, 'The Liberal Democrats are fiercely contesting this seat and there is a crowded field with several independents standing. 'What makes us stand out is our candidate's consistent and principled opposition to the war and privatisation, and the number of activists on the ground campaigning for Brian. 'We have now leafleted the whole constituency with our first leaflet, and on Sunday we gave out 25,000 of our second leaflet. 'In the next few days we will be making every effort to get Brian's campaign into schools, colleges and workplaces across Brent. 'We haven't got the slick, well-resourced election machines that the mainstream parties have. The canvassing on Sunday will give us a chance to put our case to people face to face.'
CLIVE PROTHEROE, 27 years a firefighter and secretary of the South Wales Fire Brigade Union, is challenging New Labour in the Cardiff council by-election in Pentwyn ward.
Clive is standing for the Welsh Socialist Alliance on 11 September.
The campaign received a big boost when he was endorsed by John Marek, the independent socialist and deputy presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly.
The by-election is a dry run for next year's full council elections in a city where the Labour-controlled authority is deeply unpopular.
The Alliance's campaign has caught people's imagination.
One new supporter who contacted Clive had been a Labour Party member for 47 years until he resigned over the war on Iraq.
Clive told Socialist Worker, 'We had a stall in the main shopping area last weekend. Labour turned up too, but soon turned tail, leaving the stage to us. 'We are here to stay in Pentwyn.'
VOTERS IN Abbey Green ward in Stoke on Trent will go to the polls on Thursday 18 September.
Candidates in the by-election include John West standing for the Nazi British National Party.
Stoke on Trent already has one BNP councillor, Steve Batkin, elected in Longton North in the May elections.
Batkin said in a local newspaper in April that Jews made money out of the Holocaust, and questioned the number of people who died.
The North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism & Fascism (NorSCARF) is working with local community groups and trade unions to ensure that West is not elected.
THE BNP was also standing a candidate in two council by-elections on Thursday of this week in Grays Riverside ward in Thurrock, Essex and Walker ward in Newcastle.