The race is on
OVER 100 people attended the launch meeting of the Socialist Alliance in Hampstead & Highgate, north London, on Monday of this week. "There has not been a meeting like this in the constituency for over 15 years," said a long standing Labour Party member. The lively meeting is just one example of how the socialist campaign is growing.
Nottingham: Those awful grins on Tony and Cherie were a little more forced than usual in Nottingham on Saturday. They were gritting their teeth, trying to ignore up to 50 members of the Socialist Alliance and local people screaming, "Tory Blair, shame on you! Shame on you for turning blue!"
Sympathetic Labour Party members tipped us off at 10am that Tony Blair would be in the neighbouring marginal at 1pm. We improvised placards and got everyone we could there. When the Blairs' coach arrived the noise was deafening. Suits muttered into mobile phones. We got onto the regional TV news and Sky. We also got mentioned in the Sunday papers. The largest number of people yet turned out for constituency leafleting the next day.
- John Shemeld
Tottenham: On the day Tony Blair visited the queen and announced the general election a 70-strong neighbourhood "Election Question Time" was held in Chestnuts Community Centre in Tottenham. All the candidates were invited. But only the Tory, the Green and Weyman Bennett of the Socialist Alliance turned up. Debate focused on solutions to the transport crisis in London. Weyman's call to renationalise the railways and buses, and to support tube workers in their fight against privatisation won overwhelming support. There was disgust that Labour MP David Lammy failed to turn up.
- Simon Hester
Chesterfield: Residents of the north Derbyshire villages of Duckmanton and Poolsbrook have won their campaign to stop animal carcasses being dumped in the Erin landfill site. A successful picket of the site was backed up by a large and angry public meeting called by the Socialist Alliance, and a mass petition of the villages. Mike Greenhalf, who is standing for the Socialist Alliance for the Staveley council seat, said, "This is an excellent example of how direct action can work." Meanwhile over 80 people crammed into the launch meeting of the Socialist Alliance campaign in Chesterfield last week.
Plymouth Devonport: The Socialist Alliance was out in the streets last Saturday dressed in white protective suits to highlight the danger of nuclear waste from military submarines in the town's docks. Telford: The Socialist Alliance continued its campaign to raise the minimum wage by collecting hundreds of signatures on its petition on Saturday. Two days earlier candidate Mike Jeffries attended his first hustings at a residents meeting. The following day the secretary of the residents association, a Labour parish councillor, commented, "Your candidate was the only one who made any sense."
Bradford South: Socialist Alliance candidate Ateeq Siddique was on a well listened to local Asian radio station in an hour-long discussion last week in a debate on the local council's plans to privatise its education services. Coventry: "We're in the middle of getting out over 80,000 leaflets in the two constituencies in the city where myself and Rob Windsor are standing," explains Dave Nellist, who is also national chair of the Socialist Alliance. "A key issue here has been a long-running campaign we have been involved in against council plans to shut primary schools."
Huddersfield: The Socialist Alliance campaign was boosted last week by a 40-strong local meeting at which one of the speakers was Joe Whiteside, a key local tenants activist and a Labour Party member for 25 years. Joe said that although it had been "a very hard decision" after his years in Labour, he was now coming over to back the Socialist Alliance campaign. Barnsley Central: Socialist Alliance members were campaigning last Saturday against Barnsley College's plan to get rid of over 100 part time agency staff.
Middlesbrough: A leading local Labour Party member has thrown his weight behind the Socialist Alliance. Trevor Ward used to be the secretary of the Teesside Campaign Labour Group but "is now backing the Socialist Alliance", says the town's socialist candidate Geoff Kerr-Morgan.
Salford: Supporters of the Socialist Alliance hit Langworthy last weekend, the area of Salford featured on Newsnight recently. Campaign organiser Mary Black says, "Lots of people were saying they were so fed up with Labour they weren't going to vote. But after talking to them some were saying, 'We might have someone to vote for now'."
Holborn & St Pancras: A local GMB trade union branch has donated �100 to back Socialist Alliance candidate Candy Udwin.
Poplar & Canning Town: The Socialist Alliance made an impact with a stall, banners and thousands of leaflets at the Bangladeshi new year festival in east London's Brick Lane on Sunday.
Blackburn: Around 50 people attended a Socialist Alliance meeting last week. Portsmouth: A benefit gig with a samba band drew 250 people last week and raised �200. Bristol South: Street theatre hit the streets of Bristol last weekend as Socialist Alliance candidate Brian Drummond debated with three pantomime- style millionaire fat cats. A cavalcade through the city followed.
Torfaen: Welsh Socialist Alliance supporters were out on the streets of Pontypool last Saturday campaigning against school closures.
North Kensington & Regent's Park: Some 50 people attended a Socialist Alliance public meeting on race and politics last week, addressed by candidate China Mi�ville, Mike Marqusee, author of a book on Muhammad Ali, and lawyer Kevin Cobham. Hertfordshire: The Socialist Alliance organised a picket of 30 people of a performance by Bernard Manning, the has-been racist comedian, in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on Friday night last week.