Socialist election campaign round-up
We're hitting the streets
THE MAINSTREAM media are trying to ignore the socialist election challenge-even though they have been forced to cover St Helens (see opposite) and the Scottish Socialist Party campaign in Scotland. This week's election broadcasts should have helped ensure the socialist message reaches the maximum number of people. And across Britain socialists are out campaigning to make sure that message does get through in the run-up to 7 June.
In NOTTINGHAM Socialist Alliance supporters scored a hit with a Saturday city centre protest last week targeting poverty pay. "McWork for McPay McStinks" read the placards, which "along with the megaphone attracted a fair amount of attention", report local supporters. Liz Davies of the Socialist Alliance was one of the speakers at the 300-strong march in BURFORD last Saturday to commemorate the Levellers movement in the 17th century English Revolution (see page 10). A good number of Socialist Alliance supporters also joined the march.
In HACKNEY the local Socialist Alliance reports "a very, very good Saturday" after a six-hour open top bus tour, with the bus decked out in red flags, posters, and banners, and with local candidate Cecilia Prosper aboard. In WATFORD Socialist Alliance candidate Jon Berry joined postal workers on the picket line last week (see page 15), and the workers hung the Socialist Alliance banner on the sorting office gates during their strike. In nearby ST ALBANS Socialist Alliance supporters gave William Hague a "warm" reception when he arrived for a planned walkabout-forcing the Tories to scale down their plans to a closed meeting in the town hall.
In RICKMANSWORTH three Socialist Alliance candidates in South Hertfordshire led a protest against Bernard Manning, shouting, "Racism is no joke. Racism cost lives," which made the back page of the local paper. In NORTHAMPTON local Labour councillor Raoul Perry used the local launch of the Socialist Alliance manifesto last week to announce he was leaving Labour and joining the socialist campaign. "I have become increasingly disillusioned with the politics of New Labour and being associated with people like Tony Blair," said Raoul.
In east London Ford worker Berlyne Hamilton, Socialist Alliance candidate in DAGENHAM, and Kambiz Boomla, candidate in POPLAR & CANNING TOWN, led a protest outside Marks & Spencer in solidarity with the store's European workers facing the sack.
In BRADFORD Socialist Alliance candidate Ateeq Siddique has been winning extensive local media coverage, appearing on both Radio Leeds and the Pulse Asian radio station over the last week. In BLACKBURN a social with comedian Jeremy Hardy last week saw 110 people attend and a magnificent 900 was raised for candidate Jim Nichol's campaign (see centre pages).
In BRENT SOUTH Labour minister Paul Boateng got a shock when he turned up for a planned walkabout only to find over Socialist Alliance supporters already in place campaigning-and quickly retreated. In CARDIFF CENTRAL Welsh Socialist Alliance supporters joined a 100-strong protest over the treatment of asylum seekers last weekend, and candidate Julian Goss went "down a storm " at a student hustings, say local activists.
In BRISTOL SOUTH Socialist Alliance supporters dressed as fat cats and took to the streets with a theatrical protest to highlight the socialist message of "Tax the rich to fund public services". In GLOUCESTER Socialist Alliance supporters made the local media with a lively protest when Tony Blair visited at the weekend.
Over 100 people attended Socialist Alliance meeting last week in CHESTERFIELD addressed by Paul Foot, author of the socialist campaign pamphlet Why You Should Vote Socialist. In WAVENEY candidate Rupert Mallin had a busy week, speaking at an AEEU union meeting, a NATFHE union meeting and a pensioners hustings in Lowestoft.
In SCOTLAND the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) has been winning wider media coverage, but the grassroots campaigning is just as vital. Dozens of people joined in running a lively a stall in Glasgow on Saturday with Tommy Sheridan MSP doing a street hustings which "was brilliant", report local members, with some 35 people joining the SSP in a short period.
On the east coast Scottish Socialist Party supporters gave deputy prime minister John Prescott a lively and humorous reception when he visited a local postal sorting office in Edinburgh. Their slogan "Punch out privatisation" made the front page of the local Evening News paper.